There is something about tonneau-shaped watch cases that I find instantly appealing. I can’t explain it, but the shape works well for me both on and off my wrist. Perhaps it is because this shape gives a watch the wrist presence of a larger timepiece without the discomfort that usually comes with a larger case size. In that light, I prefer the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 over its more famous round sibling.
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10: classic shape, modern appearance
Some people are surprised that a profound lover of dress watches such as myself is drawn to a contemporary casual brand like Hublot.
My affection is quite easily explained: when you take away the marketing glitter and glamour, most Hublot watches are well-designed, well-engineered, and well-made watches often pushing the envelope in one or more fields.
For the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10, Hublot took the classic tonneau shape and gave it a distinctly modern twist. It retains all the signature design elements of the Big Bang, yet at the same time the change in shape makes it a significantly different looking watch.
The Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 is by no means a small watch with a diameter of 45 mm and a height of 14.45 mm. Its size would be troubling to me if it were a round watch. But being a tonneau makes it all the more wearable.
Hublot didn’t merely use the Meca-10 Caliber HUB1201 from the round Big Bang case for this Spirit of Big Bang. That would have been a faux pas in my eyes that undermines the technical and aesthetic standards that Hublot has set for itself.Instead, Hublot’s engineers reworked the caliber, making it not only the same shape as the case, but also changing the power reserve indicator by integrating it in one display instead of the two of the Big Bang.
This explains much of the visual appeal of Caliber HUB1233, as it not only fills the case (as it should) but also has all of its components laid out out to perfection. The small seconds finds a place at the 9 o’clock position with the unique rack-and-pinion power reserve construction claiming the 12 to 3 o’clock position.
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10: ten is the magic number
Does a watch need such a complex way to show the power reserve? Of course not, but it is all part of the appeal and an original way to draw attention to the unusually long power reserve of ten days that this Hublot obtains from two spring barrels.
The manual-wind movement itself is skeletonized, its bridges drilled with holes. This provides an unusual depth perception amplified by the hour markers that float above it supported by a small frame around the movement.
This is what Hublot always does so exceptionally well: make sure that each and every detail interacts with the rest.
Hublot offers the new Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 in three different versions.
Of those three, my personal favorite is the one housed in a titanium case. The finish of this metal gives the watch a technical look, which suits it so well. At the same time the lack of weight makes the watch even more comfortable to wear.
In King Gold, Hublot’s proprietary red-gold alloy, the watch receives a more abundant and noticeable character. This is without a doubt favored by some of Hublot’s clients, who will most likely also appreciate the additional heft that the gold case provides.
The brand calls the third version Black Magic as its case is made from micro-blasted, satin-finished, polished ceramic. To me, this watch is a bit too far under the radar as the case blends in with the movement. Combined with the rubber strap, it is simply too much black for my taste.
Again, this version is so different from the other two that it will have its own share of fans. But to me the titanium version is the one that scores a solid ten.