Last year, as part of its novelties for 2022, Hublot unveiled the Hublot Square Bang collection, which takes the core aesthetic of its flagship Big Bang series and transforms it into a model with a square-shaped case. Although the original Big Bang watch offers a round profile, Hublot has also produced both tonneau and square versions as part of its “Shaped” collection, and while some people view these non-round Big Bang models as Hublot’s efforts to emulate the aesthetics of other well-known manufacturers, the various “Shaped” models also serve as real-world examples of how Hublot’s distinct design DNA is not tethered to any one specific case profile. Now, just one year after the launch of the inaugural Square Bang models, Hublot is expanding the collection as part of its new releases for Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, and the Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire brings a full transparent sapphire case to this novel side of the brand’s Shaped series.
While the use of a clear sapphire case is easily the most noteworthy feature of the new Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire (ref. 821.JX.0120.RT), the actual case itself will be fairly familiar to those who have previous experience with the brand’s square-shaped Big Bang watches. That said, based on the specifications in the press release, the new sapphire edition is actually slightly smaller than previous models in titanium or gold, and the case of the Square Bang Unico Sapphire measures 41mm in diameter by 12 mm-thick. While the case components themselves are made from transparent sapphire, they are held together with titanium screws, and just as you would expect from a watch with a full sapphire case, the bezel and the caseback are both fitted with sapphire crystals that have anti-reflective treatment. Water resistance for the new Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire comes in at 50 meters, and just like the other Square Bang models, the new Sapphire edition features the brand’s One-Click strap changing system that connects to a transparent textured rubber strap fitted with a titanium deployant buckle.
Just like the standard Big Bang range, all of the Hublot Square Bang models feature skeletonized/transparent dials to showcase their movements, and the new Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire is fitted with a clear sapphire dial that perfectly compliments its case. A pair of registers sit on either side of the display, with one dedicated to the running seconds, while the other functions as a minute totalizer for the chronograph. Meanwhile, a minute track with large applied baton markers is positioned along the periphery of the dial, and the hands and markers are both finished with luminous material to aid with low-light legibility. Due to the clear sapphire dial, the vast majority of the movement is visible through the face of the watch, and although you can see almost the entire calendar disc, the current value for the date is displayed through a small aperture at the 3 o’clock location. Additionally, the hands for the new Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire follow the exact same style that can be found on other Big Bang watches, with wide partially-skeletonized batons and a centrally-mounted chronograph seconds hand that features a prominent Hublot logo as its counterweight.
Powering the new Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire is the same Cal. HUB1280 Unico 2 automatic chronograph movement that can be found inside the various other Square Bang models. The Unico 2 is the second version of the brand’s in-house chronograph caliber that was specifically designed for use inside smaller watches, and it offers a thinner design compared to its original Unico chronograph predecessor. The Hublot HUB1280 Unico 2 is one of the brand’s manufacture calibers that is entirely produced in-house, and it runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz), while offering users a power reserve of approximately 72 hours. Consisting of 354 individual components, the 43-jewel HUB1280 Unico 2 is also a flyback chronograph movement, and it operates using a column wheel, which can be observed through the dial side of the watch, right above the 6 o’clock location.
Generally speaking, sapphire cases are accompanied by significant price premiums compared to otherwise identical watches with cases crafted from traditional alloys or even precious metals. With an official retail price of $95,000 USD, the Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire is hardly the most expensive full-sapphire model in the brand’s current lineup; however, it’s also important to note that the Square Bang Unico Sapphire is still one of the most expensive Square Bang watches currently available, with the only reference priced above it being the Square Bang Unico Jewelry model that is crafted from 18k King Gold and paved with diamonds. Although the new Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire represents a significant departure from the original Big Bang series, both in terms of its case shape and materials, it still checks all of the hallmark boxes for the Big Bang collection, and it is instantly recognizable as being one of Hublot’s designs. For more information on the Hublot Square Bang Unico Sapphire, please visit the brand’s website.