Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Nyon, Vaud, Switzerland, Hublot is a luxury watch designing and manufacturing company that has gained the reputation of creating some of the most beautiful, functional, and expensive Swiss wristwatches in the world. The name ‘Hublot’ (most commonly pronounced ‘ǖ-blō’, with both syllables accented) is said to mean ‘porthole’, or ‘small, round window’. Obviously, this is a very appropriate name for the watch company.
Known for making many famous watches which sell at astronomical prices, Hublot first gained fame through the creation of their very first watch, which was introduced to the public at the Basel Watch Fair in 1980. The watch, which was simply called the ‘Hublot’, was very unique, featuring the first natural rubber wrist strap. But unfortunately, this feature wasn’t enough initially to draw even one interested buyer. Designer Carlo Crocco pressed on, however, and the Hublot ended up earning him $2 million during its first year. It took a total of three years of research to complete it, and some very creative marketing to sell, but once it started to move, it began the ascent to fame.
In 2003, Crocco found himself overwhelmingly busy with both his business and the ‘Hand in Hand’ charity for children. Needing someone to oversee Hublot for him, he teamed up with Swatch Group president Jean-Claude Biver, who took over as CEO of the company the following year. He dove head-first into the work, and in 2005 introduced the ‘Big Bang’ watch line to the world at Basel. The line was immensely popular almost immediately, with order numbers tripling that first year. The Big Bang won the ‘Watch of the Year’ award in 2005, the ‘2005 Design Prize’ at the Geneva Watch Making Grand Prix, and the ‘Sports Watch Prize’ at the Watch of the Year event in Japan. The Big Bang was also awarded the Editor’s Choice ‘Watch of the Year’, given in Bahrain, and the ‘Best Oversized Watch’ award in the Middle East. Obviously, taking Biver into Hublot as CEO was a wise decision; by the time 2006 wrapped up the company’s sales had reached nearly 100 million Swiss francs, or $100,605,000 in US currency.
The Hublot Tourbillon Solo Bang
In 2005 Biver released one of his most successful ideas yet: The Big Bang line. Watches in this line featured the oversized ‘Big Bang’ case blended with a variety of features and various mediums, which lived up to Biver’s ‘fusion’ creational successes of the past. Well, this line outdid most all of them, as it was the winner of the awards listed above. The Tourbillon Solo Bang is directly descended from the original, and is one of the most admired of them all for many reasons.
The watch has many unique features that contribute to its ability to stand out from the rest in the line. It features a dial with not one, but two levels. On the lower level is a flying tourbillon. The tourbillon is a watch feature created by Abraham-Louis Breguet as a means of improving the watch’s accuracy, and it was patented in 1801; the ‘flying’ tourbillon was created by Alfred Helwig in 1920. It was referred to as ‘flying’ because the tourbillon itself is only supported on a single side…in other words, the tourbillon was only attached to the watch at its bottom. Today, tourbillons are mostly used as something of a novelty mechanism feature, and they are typically only found in watches that are more expensive. So, let’s take a closer look at what makes this $106,000 beauty ‘tick’.
Features of the Hublot Tourbillon Solo Bang
The Tourbillon Solo Bang was a limited edition watch created by Hublot. It came in a variety of metals mixed with rubber, stainless steel, and sometimes other mediums.
- Stainless steel clasp on natural black rubber bracelet; Hublot logo on bracelet is coated with PVD
- Hublot 1000 SB, 21,600 A/h 13 ¼ lignes movement; movement is manually wound
- 120 hour power reserve
- Ball-bearing-free cage encapsulating flying tourbillon; tourbillon sits 2.80 mm above the watch’s mainplate
- 148 components
- Masselotte regulation weight with Gyromax balance
- 24 jewels
- Rhodinated plate
- Diamond polished and faceted hands, which feature luminous white coating
- Bi-level dial features upper structure of black carbon with satin-finished indexes and numbers; round Cótes de Genève decorative plate on lower section of the dial
- Tourbillon and cage are visible at the six o’clock mark
- 44.5 mm polished platinum case with satin-finished extensions
- Effectively waterproofed up to 100m depths
- Satin-finished black ceramic bezel
- Titanium screws secure the case
- Inner sapphire crystal is anti-reflective
- Black natural rubber insert on white-gold crown
- Black composite resin ear inserts
- Circular satin-finished titanium bottom
- Black composite resin lateral inserts
This piece is loaded with features that are not only beneficial to its accuracy, but also prove to be expensive status symbols as well. As we stated, the MSRP of the Big Bang Tourbillon Solo Bang ranges between $100k and $106k, according to Hublot. However, if you have been yearning for one of these limited-edition babies, you can easily find one used online. Our research shows you will likely pay between just under $65k to upwards of $100k anyway. So, the bottom line is, you can get one hell of a watch, but it’s going to cost you one hot price, new or used.
Winding It Up…
CEO Jean-Claude Biver of Hublot managed to take a fairly successful watch company and send it straight into outer space by making high-quality timepieces that other companies simply cannot compete with. The level of workmanship the beauty of their mixed medium ‘fusion’ designs have set them apart from all others, and this was really no small feat. Currently, Hublot is considered one of, if not THE, best watchmaker on the planet. Celebrities, including Jay-Z, his wife Beyonce, Kylie Jenner, Kobe Bryant, and many, many more. With their oversized dials and massive face décor, any Big Bang Hublot seems to go well with the ‘in-your-face’ lifestyles these people live.
While we will likely never be able to afford one of our own, it is certainly fun to gaze upon the many styles Hublot offers (I love the one Kylie Jenner owns, and daydream in futility about owning one ourselves. But since that day will probably never come, we can revel in the fact that there are people out there who can actually drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on one or more high-end watches as they check the time on their cell phones all day long.
Oh, it’s a rough, rough life…
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn