Hublot has released a new Big Bang Unico that debuts a new watchmaking material in collaboration with Harrods of London. Hublot partnered with Harrods in 2010 to open a boutique in Harrods’ Fine Watch Room; this watch effectively celebrates 10 years of partnership between the two companies: one well over a hundred years old, and the other founded only in 1980.
This 45mm Unico has a sapphire crystal case, but uses something pretty different for the green bezel. Hublot uses what they call “SAXEM”, a combination of Sapphire, Aluminium oXide and rare Earth Minerals (which include thulium, holmium, and chromium). The resulting material is hard enough to be used as a bezel material and supposedly has a greater brilliance than that of standard sapphire. It might seem weird, but one of my favorite parts about this watch is the inner portion of the crown. I don’t know if they’ve engraved the metal and filled the central cavity with a different material or finished it so that it has an appearance somewhat similar to Audemars Piguet’s “frosted gold” look, but it looks pretty good against the green and clear parts of the rest of the watch.
Hublot decided to go with a camouflage-style dial for the face. I get what they were going for, but I feel they should have gone for a cleaner dial. It’s too splotchy and doesn’t seem to really fit a watch that would be done in partnership with a company like Harrods. The bezel is a pretty good implementation of what should hopefully be a richer material than standard sapphire, and will hopefully be used on other models going forward, but the dial takes away from what is otherwise pretty good about this watch. I do like that the green used for the dial is fairly matte, but either an all clear dial or all green dial would have looked substantially better.
The movement used here is Hublot’s in-house HUB1242. The movement beats at 4Hz and has a power reserve of 72 hours. The movement is visible through the sapphire case back, which also has the Harrods logo on the edge of the case back. This watch comes with a transparent rubber strap and a matching green camouflage strap, which both can be easily swapped out via Hublot’s quick-change strap system.
The watch is sold exclusively in Harrods’ Fine Watch Room at the Harrods Hublot boutique and each watch comes with a box specifically designed for this series. Harrods has previously offered a number of exclusive and limited edition watches, most notably the Tudor Black Bay “Harrods”. While the Tudor was much more conservative, this swings completely in the opposite direction.
The Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire Harrods Special Edition is limited to 15 total pieces and is priced at 59,000 GBP.