Fashion

You deserve a watch as handsome as this

An all-black watch exudes a different kind of fashion statement.
IMAGE Hublot
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Let's make time invisible. Okay, we’re paraphrasing a bit, but 10 years ago, when watches only came in the cold tone of silver (steel, white gold, or platinum—you couldn’t tell the difference) or the glint of gold, that was the crazy idea running inside the heads of the innovators at Hublot: disrupt the market by creating an all-over black watch. Lore has it that the traditionalists at the Swiss watchmaker grumbled at the thought of a timepiece that will not readily offer the time (you have to catch the light to see its hands), leading Hublot to create only 250 pieces of the Big Bang All Black. But when it debuted at Baselworld in 2006, the dark novelty attracted over 3,000 orders.

Its unprecedented success led to a change in attitude about black watches. Consider how all other watchmakers now produce their own. But no other company, points out Loic Biver, general manager of Hublot in Greater China, “…[goes] as far as we do: which is totally black. They make black watches that are still readable. We don’t care.”

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A watch that was engineered to be different, even if it will be not easy to read, made the All Black appealing to men (it did not hurt that it was damn beautiful, too). “It changed the mentality of people who were not conscious about watches. All of a sudden they realized, ‘Watches are more than just tools to tell time,’” he says. Much like a perfectly tailored suit, it can announce to the world who you are, in this case, a stylish man who is serious about watches and has a desire to be one-of-a-kind.


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Big Bang Unico All Black Sapphire

The sapphire is the draw. The see-through stone is notoriously diff icult to process (only a diamond can cut it), but Hublot figured out how to manipulate the material to create the first all-black sapphire watch. The automatic watch runs on Hublot’s Unico movement, which is another feat: “It’s like an upside-down movement,” describes Biver. Know how you always see the movement at the back of a watch? Hublot rearranged everything in order to bring that beautiful machinery to the fore.


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Big Bang All Black Meca-10

“The Meca is amazing in terms of movement. If you are a collector, then you go for this, because a self-winding watch with a 10-day power reserve does not exist elsewhere,” he says. Also, it is nostalgic as it is based on the Meccano, a more sophisticated Lego-like toy that kids play with in Europe. Whereas standard movements are built on a disc, the Meca is made with three bridges that look like the childhood toy. 


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Big Bang All Black 2006

The watch that started it all. “It’s impossible to acquire the original,” says Biver, who has never heard of anyone selling his All Black. A man who has this will most likely pass it on to his son. (Just get the new ones.)

And let’s face it: A man who plunks down a couple of million for a ticker is not buying one to track time. Something bigger is involved. “I’m buying a watch because it brings me emotion,” says Biver.

Ten years after the first Big Bang All Black was introduced, Hublot creates two iterations that celebrate the same qualities of individuality and darkness. They may even make you weep.

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Clifford Olanday
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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