Hublot Just Released the First Accessible Sapphire-Encased Mechanical Watch

  • Photography by Lisa Charles Watson, styling by Charles W. Bumgardner
    The Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire Photography by Lisa Charles Watson, styling by Charles W. Bumgardner

The Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire (hublot.com) is not the first high-end mechanical watch to be encased in transparent, scratch-resistant sapphire, but at a price of $57,900 (other sapphire designs cost as much as seven figures) and with a sizable production run of 500 pieces, it is the first accessible model. “I thought about creating a sapphire watch for more than 20 years, but it was always too expensive,” says Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot. “We now have the power to invest heavily in a project, so we decided to industrialize sapphire.”

To that end, Hublot recently acquired the equipment for machining and polishing the tough but brittle material—a process eased by the new model’s sandwich construction. Complex structures inside the case, such as the hands and dial, are cast from transparent resin. According to Guadalupe, this limits the amount of sapphire machining and polishing required for each case, which accounts for most of the cost savings.

Other brands make sapphire watches on almost an individual basis, an approach Hublot itself took when creating the $575,000 MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire watch it unveiled earlier this year. However, the company still managed to price that watch—despite its dramatic case curves—well below its sapphire competitors, and this, Guadalupe says, is just the beginning. “There are a lot of possibilities for creativity for future watches in sapphire.” 

From Around the Web...
The watch industry’s top brands come out swinging with a slew of groundbreaking new releases for...
The titan of modern watchmaking helped restore German watchmaking to the fore…
A civilian-issue Breguet and a no-date Rolex Submariner are just the tip of the SoHo shop’s iceberg…
The leaders in high-end watchmaking gather in Geneva to show off their latest and greatest…
Fellows watch department is one of the top five auction houses to purchase or sell a fine watch...
Photography by Jeff Harris
The old and overlooked moon-phase complication is on the rise both technically and cosmetically…
In watches and pens, artisans are reviving the engraving-and-enamel technique Fabergé made famous…
Though much slimmer than prior editions, Bovet’s OttantaSei timepiece brims with technical details…
TAG Heuer’s most popular collection gets a striking new variant with a black ceramic case and...
Known for self-reliance, the German brand has created a movement that incorporates Swiss technology…