There is something invisible about sponsor branding at a sporting event, despite its ubiquity. It rings the field of play, it's on sleeves, bats, rackets, hats; it's flashed at you from every possible LCD screen to the point where you become completely unaware of it. Ads, what ads? Brands, what brands?
As you may know, if you are a fan of the Big Bang, the Big Bang is all about the case. The complicated structure, incorporating classical and modern techniques and materials embodies 'the art of fusion' - a philosophy at the centre of the brand's identity. As a matter of fact, the unusual oval case shape looks like a replica watch from a completely distinct company. In 2005 the combination of steel, ceramic and rubber was novel, however in the subsequent decade the rest of the industry has caught up with Hublot's trend-setting ways. Still, the 44mm case holds up well, and is a pleasure to wear.
Hublot, this inimitably brash watch brand that singlehandedly put sex, testosterone and power back on the agenda when they launched the Hublot Big Bang in 2005. Fusion is about more than just eccentric material hybrids as the Big Bang demonstrates a stylistic fusion too; the traditional tropes of luxury sports watch design are partnered with a far more industrial aesthetic - heavy knurling on the bezel edge and exposed screws (the proprietary H-shaped bit is a nice touch) actually works. The sub seconds dial takes another chunk out the main dial, and the day and month windows add a few more holes. It's a complicated looking, aesthetically busy watch, and that's before we even get to the complication. It might sound like something cribbed from a press release however to appreciate the Big Bang you really do need to understand the importance played by the concept of fusion in their design process.
The watch dial
The usage of alternative materials continues on the dial with woven carbon fiber offering a texture that contrasts well with the mirror-like finish of the ceramic bezel. Cheerfully, in terms of all their fusion, Replica Hublot haven't confused the truth that the prime intention of a replica Hublot watch is to tell the time, its readability. The dial is extremely legible - with broad luminova-filled hands, big rhodium-plated indices and unobtrusive printed sub dials. This is a new type of calendar complication that sits in between an annual calendar, which displays the day, date and month and merely needs to be adjusted at the end of February, and a perpetual calendar which is smart enough to take oddball February and leap years into account. Like the rest of the watch, the Big Bang's dial is all about the materials and finishes, however function doesn't get lost in the form.
The Replica Hublot Big Bang would have been powered by a modified Valjoux 7750, when it was first released. These days it's blasting the Calibre 4100, which is a high-end ETA 2894-2 base with a chronograph module on top. This movement is a demonstrated performer, and there's no real issue with brands using outside movements. And let me labor this point, for a simple however thoughtful cause. The majority of Swiss brands use ETA movements or related in their wider range, even the big players like Patek Philippe, and it's nothing to get snobby about.
On the wrist
As for me, the Hublot Big Bang was quite FUN to wear. Loud, proud and making perfect sense as a match made in power and in the fact that both the sport and the watchmaker combine force with finesse. What this watch exemplifies is all the appeal of a vintage piece with none of the hassle of owning a 50 year old watch. That's not to say that true vintage doesn't have its own distinct charms and advantages -however if you're really into vintage for the aesthetic, contemporary reissues like this and the Tudor Black Bay range are very tempting alternatives.