When Hublot came out with its first all-black watch in 2006—bearing a black dial, black indexes, black case and black bezel—the brand not-so-subtly suggested that telling the time wasn’t the point.
“Everybody said, ‘Are you crazy? You don’t see the time,’” recalled Jean-Claude Biver, the former CEO of Hublot, regarded as one of the Swiss watch industry’s greatest marketers. “But you look at your phone to see the time, and you look at your watch like a piece of art.”
That comment applies two-fold to Hublot’s latest timepiece, the new Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II All Black, the result of an artistic collaboration with the Swiss tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Buchi and his creative agency, Sang Bleu.
Designed as a horological ode to blackout tattooing, the practice of inking solid black tattoos across large swaths of the body, the 45 mm watch, fashioned from black ceramic and black PVD-coated titanium, is superimposed with hexagons, diamonds and triangles. The watch’s polished and satin-finished surfaces have been carved, chiseled, angled and faceted, reflecting light that forms a play of polygons across the case.
The model’s HUB1240 Unico manufacture self-winding chronograph movement is visible under a skeletonized dial and through an open case back.
“When we created the first All Black watch in 2006 along with its concept of ‘invisible visibility,’ we dared to go beyond its primary function—timekeeping—to showcase it as a work of art which could uphold and affirm a state of mind,” Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe said in a statement. “In Maxime’s work, we find exactly the same approach of going beyond the primary meaning of things. The art of blackout tattooing is already a highly sophisticated form of the art reserved for a select few; it is the ultimate in tattooing and both this type of tattooing and the timepiece which it inspired go beyond their primary meaning or purpose.”
The piece, which comes on a black rubber strap, retails for $27,300.