Between all the sports stars and celebrities that are seen wearing Hublots, it’s sometimes possible to forget that Hublot is a serious haute horological manufacture. However, their newest timepiece is a reminder that they operate at the forefront of watchmaking as they present the world’s first full ceramic case minute repeater. The watch in question is the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater.
Minute repeaters are particularly difficult watches to make at the best of times. They require a mastery of not only the logical and mechanical art of watchmaking but also the mastery of sound – a minute repeater is first and foremost a chiming complication. In practical terms this means the shape and material of the watch’s case is even more important than usual as it serves to amplify and shape the sound.
Something the sonorous qualities of gold are particularly good at but that other metals like platinum are bad at. To make the case from a non-metallic material is almost inconceivable as ceramic is almost certain to dampen rather than enhance the sound.
And yet Hublot have achieved just that by adding the haute horological complication to the Big Bang Integral Ceramic range. The 43mm diameter case, bezel, bracelet and caseback are all produced from the high tech material. Additionally, this is the first Big Bang Integral Ceramic to feature a monochrome black colouration, although white is also available.
The reason this case works for a minute repeater is that Hublot have used cathedral gongs, which are gongs first developed by Patek Philippe that are twice the length of standard chiming gongs making for a fuller sound, hence the chime is less reliant on the acoustic qualities of the case. The open dial also helps in this endeavour.
The movement, which is the Hublot MHUB8001.H1.RH Calibre, is inspired by another famous tourbillon cathedral minute repeater that Hublot produced in 2014. That original was part of the Classic Fusion range and snagged an award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. While the MHUB8001.H1.RH bears the same complications, including the tourbillon which is another first for the Big Bang Integral, there are a few differences. Most notably the 80-hour power reserve is reduced from 120-hours, however 80-hours is still stellar for this level of horology.
If any watch is going to make you take another look at Hublot, this is the one. Their coolest modern collection with cutting edge, world first specs. Not that you’ll be able to get one considering Hublot prices and that only 16 are being produced, 12 black and 6 white. Plus, for some unfathomable reason they’re only available in Japan.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Cathedral Minute Repeater
- Reference: 458.CX.1170.CX.YOS (black ceramic case, black matte dial), 458.HX.1170.HX.YOS (white ceramic, grey matte dial)
- Case/dial: 43mm diameter x 14.15mm height, white or black satin-finished ceramic case, open dial with black or grey mate Rhodium plated satin appliques
- Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
- Movement: Hublot MHUB8001.H1.RH calibre, manual winding, tourbillon at 6 o’clock, 30 jewels, 319 parts
- Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
- Power reserve: 80h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, cathedral minute tourbillon repeater
- Strap: Satin-finished and polished black or white ceramic bracelet
- Price/availability: £244,000, black ceramic limited to 12 pieces, white ceramic limited to 6 pieces, ghis edition will be available in Japan only
More details at Hublot.