Against the Flow

The new Big Bang MP-11 demon­strates Hublot’s ded­i­ca­tion to in­no­va­tion and pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing, says Ni­co­lette Wong

Singapore Tatler - - STYLE -

Swiss watch­maker hublot has never been shy about its thirst for bold­ness and in­no­va­tion in the mak­ing of its prod­ucts. The brand has con­tin­u­ally cre­ated time­pieces that break new ground in the horo­log­i­cal world—its suc­cess with the Big Bang Ref­eree 2018 FIFA World Cup Rus­sia smart­watch, for in­stance, is a great ex­em­plar of its ap­petite for nov­elty. Guided by its Art of Fu­sion phi­los­o­phy, Hublot has also proven it­self to be par­tic­u­larly in­no­va­tive in the con­struc­tion of both move­ments and ma­te­ri­als—just think of the 50-day power re­serve of the MP-05 La­fer­rari, or the ex­cep­tional hard­ness of its pro­pri­etary King Gold al­loy. The Big Bang MP-11 3D Car­bon, un­veiled at Basel­world last year, is no ex­cep­tion to this rule. At its most ba­sic level, the Big Bang MP-11 is an ul­tra­light time­piece with a case crafted from three-di­men­sional wo­ven car­bon fi­bres, and houses a com­plex move­ment of­fer­ing a whop­ping two weeks of power re­serve. But in truth, nei­ther of th­ese in­no­va­tions is ba­sic. The HUB9011 man­ual-wind­ing man­u­fac­ture move­ment has seven series-cou­pled bar­rels that store the me­chan­i­cal en­ergy needed to power the Big Bang MP-11 3D Car­bon for the en­tirety of the 14 days. Th­ese bar­rels are vis­i­ble on the dial side, lined up hor­i­zon­tally across the bot­tom half of the watch face. The power re­serve in­di­ca­tor at 8 o’clock re­minds one of the num­ber of days re­main­ing be­fore hav­ing to wind the watch again, which can be done via the fluted crown or with an elec­tric Torx sty­lus, in­spired by the world of mo­tor sport. The HUB9011 is an in­di­rect de­scen­dant of the cal­i­bre HUB9005 housed in the MP-05 La­fer­rari, which has 11 bar­rels and a much larger 50-day power re­serve. How­ever, the two move­ments are struc­tured dif­fer­ently, with the ar­chi­tec­ture of the MP-05 cal­i­bre be­ing com­pletely re­designed to fit into the case of the Big Bang. For in­stance, the bar­rels on the HUB9011 move­ment are hor­i­zon­tal in­stead of ver­ti­cal as in the HUB9005, and are con­nected to a ver­ti­cal gear train that drives the time dis­play. That is why it must em­ploy a rarely-used 90-de­gree he­li­cal worm gear to con­vey the en­ergy to the said gear train. In ad­di­tion, the bal­ance has been moved to the dial side of the move­ment for vis­ual sym­me­try.

CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH

The HUB9011 move­ment is housed within a unique Big Bang case con­structed from car­bon fi­bre. While the use of car­bon fi­bre in watch­mak­ing is noth­ing new, the par­tic­u­lar type used in the Big Bang MP-11 3D Car­bon is. Most com­monly, car­bon fi­bres are first wo­ven two-di­men­sion­ally into flat strips of “fab­ric”, be­fore be­ing stacked into a mould and bound to­gether in a poly­meri­sa­tion oven.

The cases will then be cut from this stack of ma­te­rial. The weav­ing of the car­bon fi­bres is what gives th­ese cases the char­ac­ter­is­tic square-checked pat­tern. In the case of the Big Bang MP-11 3D Car­bon, the car­bon fi­bres are wo­ven three-di­men­sion­ally be­fore be­ing com­pos­ited into a poly­mer ma­trix, which ex­plains its name. This method not only gives the 3D car­bon case a unique pat­tern, but makes it ex­cep­tion­ally tough—so sturdy that the ma­te­rial can ac­tu­ally be em­ployed for mil­i­tary use. This is the first time that this par­tic­u­lar car­bon-fi­bre vari­ant has made its de­but in the watch­mak­ing world. And as you can imag­ine, the tough­ness of this car­bon fi­bre makes it ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to ma­chine, which lends fur­ther cre­dence to Hublot’s abil­ity to work with dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als. Thanks to Hublot’s ma­te­rial in­no­va­tions, the Big Bang MP-11 3D Car­bon weighs only 90g, move­ment and rub­ber strap in­cluded. Should you pre­fer a greater heft to your watches, how­ever, the watch is also avail­able in trans­par­ent sap­phire crys­tal. Hublot has been con­struct­ing watches from sap­phire crys­tal for a while now, and its prow­ess with the ma­te­rial is well-es­tab­lished. Be­cause of its ex­cep­tional hard­ness and scratch re­sis­tance, sap­phire crys­tal is also chal­leng­ing to ma­chine, par­tic­u­larly when the case has three-di­men­sional con­tours as in the case of the Big Bang MP-11. The sap­phire crys­tal is also shaped such that it cre­ates a mag­ni­fy­ing loupe ef­fect over the power re­serve in­di­ca­tor. The Big Bang MP-11 is an ex­cel­lent demon­stra­tion of Hublot’s com­mit­ment to in­no­va­tion—not just in us­ing en­tirely new tech­niques and ma­te­ri­als, but also build­ing on the knowl­edge it has from pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions of watches. Whether you pre­fer the dark­ness or light, you can be as­sured that you will be wear­ing a piece of pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing.

PASS­ING THE TORCH The cal­i­bre HUB9011 in the Big Bang MP-11 is a de­scen­dant of the HUB9005 found in the MP-05 La­fer­rari Aperta (pic­tured)

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