Hublot pioneered the use of rubber straps in luxury timepieces when it launched its first collection in 1980, being the first to pair a luxury watch cased in gold with a commonplace material rubber for the strap. It seemed the perfect match to its founder who was an avid sailor and intended his watches to be useable around water. The idea took off in a big way, with the combination of precious metal with rubber becoming widely adopted by the rest of the luxury watch industry, and has indeed been the calling card of Hublot ever since, embodying a “fusion” of ostensibly contrary elements to drive innovation and create timepieces larger than the sum of the parts.
From its debut in 2005, Hublot’s Big Bang has ever been paired with a rubber strap, and it wasn’t until 2020 that the Big Bang Integral made its appearance with an integrated metal bracelet, a first for Hublot’s signature Big Bang collection. For 2022, the evolution continues with a time-only version, clocking yet another first for the Big Bang: a smaller case, in 40mm.
While a chronograph is hard to beat as an emblem for living fast, ditching the complication has made the Big Bang Integral Time Only altogether more focused and svelte. As opposed to the chronograph Integral which sports a 42mm case, the 40mm case size of the Integral Time Only is more accommodating and easier to wear. Losing the chronograph pushers has also given the watch a much cleaner profile, and at just 9.25mm thick, the Integral Time Only is perfectly proportioned for a slim, sleek silhouette.
That sleek appeal is not complete without its metal bracelet. The Big Bang case has been redesigned to flow naturally into the integrated bracelet, a three-link construction of chamfered, flat-sided pieces, individually finished in polish or satin. The aesthetic unity of case and bracelet is powerfully masculine, elegant and magnetic.
The eye is secondarily drawn to the dial – there doesn’t appear to be any because it’s a sapphire crystal on which to mount the hour markers, and the bridges of the self-winding MHUB 1710, in matte finish, are visible beneath. Admittedly, the dial view afforded by the chronograph version is busier and fancier, what with dial-side coupling of the gearworks and the column wheel in plain sight. In comparison, the MHUB 1710, based off a caliber from stablemate Zenith, is plainer. Yet in this, it relegates more focus to the watch as a whole, coherent and utterly charismatic on the wrist.
The Integral Time Only is available in three versions that cover a very broad range of wearer experience: a grey titanium model, one in yellow and an all-black version in ceramic case, all with matching materials for the bracelet. Yellow gold will offer a touch of heft; titanium is light and tough; black ceramic is even lighter and should stay pristine with nary a scratch. The black ceramic model is a limited edition of 250 pieces.
Movement: Self-winding MHUB 1710, 4Hz, 50 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Titanium, yellow gold or black ceramic, 40mm, 9.25mm thick, water resistant to 100 meters, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment front and back, sapphire crystal dial
Strap: Matching bracelet in titanium, yellow gold or black ceramic, with deployant clasp
More information: Hublot.com