Hublot’s Partners in Time

Hublot reveals its latest limited editions co-created with Takashi Murakami and Samuel Ross.

There is little doubt that Hublot remains one of the watch industry’s most dynamic brands. Able to sire scintillating discussions and deep debate with the mere mention of its name, the Swiss brand enjoys its position as a tireless disruptor of opinions and perception. In many ways, it is the perfect case study of exactly what a watch brand could and perhaps should be.

When it was founded in 1980 by the since-departed Carlo Crocco, it turned the very definition of luxury on its head. By fusing traditional materials with rubber — back then a revolutionary material — it challenged a market that was even more conservative than it is today, to reexamine itself and to move with the times.

As one of the leading brands of the modern era, Hublot has never ceased to innovate. It saw the value in repositioning the concept thereof, placing experimentation and boundary- breaking design at the forefront of its efforts.

Unlike many other haute horlogerie houses that existed before the quartz crisis of the 1970s, Hublot was never hamstrung by a history that has held back plenty of its peers. Its classics were born in an epoch of change and came to represent that period of novelty like few others could match.

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross

Since its barnstorming emergence, Hublot has continued to stay at least one step (and often several strides) ahead of the pack by relentlessly exploring technical, visual, and material possibilities. While no single watch can fully encapsulate the scope of Hublot’s manufacturing capabilities, the 50-piece limited edition MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire comes very close, showcasing the brand’s unrivaled mastery of sapphire as a case material, the mechanical wizardry of a centrally located tourbillon, and the stunning aesthetic’s for which Murakami — by now a seasoned Hublot collaborator — is known.

A flower among the thorns

The flower motif has been featured on Murakami-designed Hublot watches before, but here the twelve-petaled bloom encircles a skeletonized tourbillon whose position in the middle of the watch requires the hands, which seem to float around the constantly rotating cage, to be mounted on a proprietary cannon pinion and hour wheel construction that will surely delight fans of high-end watchmaking.

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire

This technical feat allows for Murakami’s vision to play out unobstructed. The fact this watch remains legible while accounting for the sapphire flower, a partially exposed movement, and a skeletonized central tourbillon while coming in at just 42mm in diameter is remarkable. Perhaps more impressive still is the power reserve. Standing at 150 hours — almost an entire week — the twin barrels of this manual caliber can be wound using a USB-chargeable stylus that plugs securely into the 3 o’clock crown and takes care of the heavy lifting. However, the purists need not worry. For those who enjoy the physical interaction of winding a watch, the crown can still be used traditionally, but this thoughtful inclusion, marrying an electronic accessory with a mechanical timepiece is, at the very least, an interesting talking point.

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire

Around the periphery of the central dial, twelve luminous hour markers, coated with Super-LumiNova sit. The hour and minute hands are black-plated to increase the contrast against the gray of the in-house movement and also filled with white Super-LumiNova for excellent legibility, day and night.

While the 30 meters of water resistance guaranteed by this avant-garde construction is expected, the watch’s surprisingly wearable thickness of 13.4 mm is not. The fact this watch is manual rather than automatic clearly helps keep it slim but considering the level of technology nestled in such a stylistically ambitious housing, the resulting proportions border on the unbelievable.

It is, as is often the case with Hublot’s more ability- stretching pieces, a testament to what can be done when the will is there. When one takes a step back from Hublot’s output over the last 43 years and looks at this piece in isolation, it is easy to see why the brand has an almost matchless record of ruffling feathers around the industry.

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire

While we’ve come to expect such aspirant achievements from the brand to the point at which we may have become unintentionally desensitized to their individual majesty, it is impossible to escape the truth: Hublot continues to throw down the gauntlet to all those in its price segment (and very often above it also).

Superficially, Hublot watches will not be to everyone’s taste, but appealing to a mass market was never the goal. Looking at horology with fresh eyes was. Taking time-honored concepts and reimagining them from the ground up has propelled the brand’s unique character to legendary status.

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire

All too often, the brand’s detractors attempt to dismiss its creations as overbuilt attention-grabbers without daring to dig a little deeper, because, by now, they know what they will find waiting for them. With just a little peek beneath the hood, the reality is apparent to anyone who understands the inner workings of a watch: Hublot is far more than a flashy brand for the mega-stars of the modern day; it is a leader in every sense, and the MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire is yet another undeniable statement to that end.

Tech Specs

Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire
Reference: 915.JX.4802.RT
Movement: HUB9015 manual-winding tourbillon FUNCTIONS Hours, minutes, and central skeletonized tourbillon
Case: 42 mm × 13.4 mm, sapphire crystal, water resistant to 30 meters
Dial: Sapphire flower motif surrounding a partially visible skeletonized movement and a centrally mounted skeletonized tourbillon
Strap: Transparent decorated rubber with a sapphire and titanium deployant buckle
Price: USD
Availability: Available from November 10th, limited to 50 pieces worldwide

A play on shapes

This is the second collaboration between Hublot and artist and designer Dr. Samuel Ross, building on their first outing released in 2020. Ross, known for taking inspiration from the natural world, has ported the hexagon, so common in nature, to a wrist-worn sculpture that celebrates the fusion of the industrial and organic.

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A By Samuel Ross
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A By Samuel Ross

In the true spirit of the Big Bang collection, first unveiled in 2005 to widespread acclaim, the celebration of materials in this design is key. The extremely lightweight structure is both comfortable and visually appealing, with the hollowed- out case and flowing form of the deftly redesigned bezel that engages with the central lug where the button for the quick-release strap system can be found, creating something entirely new while remaining reassuringly familiar.

There is no dial in the traditional sense of the word, with the in-house micro-rotor driven automatic HUB6035 skeleton tourbillon displayed in all its glory. At 12 o’clock, an inverted micro-rotor, emblazoned with an arched Hublot wordmark adds real dynamism to the dial, while the rotating tourbillon cage perfectly balances this element with its presence at six o’clock.

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A By Samuel Ross
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A By Samuel Ross

Balance is the word. Six luminous dots, indicating the 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10 hour marks flank the display. They are large, legible, and perfectly integrated into the design. Orientating the watch in the dark is not hindered by the absence of markers at 12 or 6 thanks to the unmistakable symmetry of the design.

And there is balance not just in the physical arrangement of the dial furniture, but also in the priority given to each feature. That is to say, all components are presented equally. There is no single element that is more arresting than any other. Ross’s intention to present a vision realized in a multitude of grays has been achieved. The object in question appears both extremely industrial and yet somehow serenely organic. It has, as all well-designed objects have, a sense of eternity about it, as if it has always existed and, rather than having been designed, was grown from a seed.

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A By Samuel Ross
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A By Samuel Ross

If the goal when designing a watch is to create something that gives the impression of having simply come into being without the intervention of human minds or hands, this Hublot achieves it better than most. Despite its unquestioned complexity and the sheer number of separate, highly specific components manufactured to bring it to life, it comes across as a unified whole that couldn’t possibly have been conceived as something so prosaic as a product.

Tech Specs

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A By Samuel Ross
Reference: 428.NX.0101.RX.SRA23
Movement: HUB6035 Manufacture, self-winding micro-rotor, skeleton tourbillon
Functions: Hours, minutes, and central skeletonized tourbillon
Case: 44 mm × 13.75 mm, Titanium honeycomb matrix, water resistant to 30 meters
Dial: Sapphire crystal
Strap: Vivid Green smooth rubber, Infinity Black smooth rubber, and Full White smooth rubber (all included)
Price: USD 127,000
Availability: Available from October 20th, limited to 50 pieces worldwide

A fearlessly established concept

The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross, like its forerunner, shows a full-blooded commitment to the cause. It is, in many ways, the perfect modern iteration of the Big Bang concept. It still employs the notion of fusion, with the three available rubber straps (in black, white, and “bamboo-shoot green”) completely changing the character of the watch and likely designed for very different wearing environments (for example, the boardroom,the beach, and the birthday bash respectively). Furthermore, the strap pulls the honeycomb pattern from the watch head and wraps it around the wrist in a pleasingly unobtrusive fashion.

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross

It perpetuates the classic silhouette and yet plays with everything else. It is unmistakably a Big Bang but simultaneously entirely new. When we talk about creating visual interest in a watch design, we often discuss the importance of using shapes within shapes. Normally, this would apply to cases alone with iconic models such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as prime examples.ps more than we could hope to expect from a single watch.

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross

Here, the pairing of different shapes and form types is daring and wholly accomplished. Angular hexagonal perforations decorate the case. Circular hour markers interact with rounded hands and call back to the micro- rotor, tourbillon cage, and wheels on the dial. The bezel and case screws pull that form to the exterior where they integrate seamlessly with the sharp lines and watery curves of the shiny micro-blasted titanium housing.

In summary, the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross is everything we have come to expect from Hublot, and perhaps more than we could hope to expect from a single watch.

MORE STORIES ABOUT HUBLOT

Hublot Partners with Depeche Mode for the Spirit of Big Bang “Memento Mori”
Feb 20, 2024
Hublot’s MP-10 Tourbillon Unveils a Novel Winding System
Jan 29, 2024
Hublot’s New Big Bang Is a Miami Night Club On The Wrist
Dec 15, 2023
Hublot’s MP-15 Takashi Murakami is looking crystal clear
Nov 10, 2023
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A by Samuel Ross
Introducing the latest Hublot Samuel Ross Limited Edition
Oct 27, 2023

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