Even after such a strong year for Hublot, and after getting up close and personal with the Black Magic version here, the new high quality fake Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 Titanium still intrigues me with its intricately woven industrial micro-architecture. Even as the Big Bang series is getting close to becoming an industry standard for large, open-worked luxury sports watches, there is always something new to discover, and for me the tonneau-shape is king.
A case for the renaissance of titanium?
With the arcing tidal movements of fashion, titanium seems to be enjoying a new rise in popularity, even in slim, polished dress watches. But the strong Hublot language of wrist-worn engines still feels like the material’s true sweet spot. The lightness is still every bit as surprising as the ceramic-cased Black Magic version of the Spirit of BB, but even more so with the heavy industrial tool sensation I get from the texture of metal. As soon as I try it on with the soft-striated rubber strap, the sensation is surprising: the combination of lightness and an air of indestructibility is tangible.
I’m not pretending it is a slim watch, but that’s exactly why we love these big machines from Hublot. There’s no need to think of synonyms for creamy lume or fauxtina, as this effete language belongs to a world that looks into the past. The skeleton dial fake Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 feels like the future has arrived. If I take it off again I am once again struck by the absence of weight in the sandwich construction employed by Hublot, and the fact that even with this tough exterior, the small details are as exquisite as on a 38mm dress watch.
While fairly flat, the slight inclination of the lug-less end of the case, integrating the rubber strap, is enough to alter the ergonomics to sheer comfort, and the details are fascinating. There is a sharp and exact bevel running the length of the case top, underlining the angular yet soft shape. The short end of the case has a raised, satin-brushed top echoed in the centre section of the rubber strap, creating an interesting play of shapes and creating interest through the use of the typical Hublot-exposed H-screws. What strikes you is the clever, time-consuming use of intricate polished bevelling on all outer edges of the titanium case sections, slimming the large case body, creating layered interest, brilliant shape-plays, and those small twinkles of reflection whenever the light hits a corner.
The openworked dial
No matter how you perceive it, once you gaze through the curved rectangular sapphire, you’re done for. The Meca-10 calibre has until now been manifested in the well-known round Big Bang cases, while this reworked in-house HUB1223 calibre is a first within a Spirit of Big Bang case and is rather spectacular. This is the third reference — the other two being hewn from King Gold, seen in our video here and black ceramic in the Spirit of Big Bang Black Magic. The only trace of a dial is the sloping black inner bezel, against the rounded rectangular rehaut.
The hour and minute track is eminently readable thanks to the sharp, chunky titanium lume-filled indices, aggressively jutting out of the rehaut. Time is read at a glance with the large sword-shaped open-worked hands — that is, if you manage to tear your gaze away from the architectural darkness of the HUB1223 machine-like calibre visible within. The running seconds can be seen in the seemingly floating register at 9, by small black dots on a chapter ring and a lumed pointer. Both hand set and indices are generously applied with Super-LumiNova; the legibility is great at night, an ironically easier task than becoming lost in the workings of the open-worked calibre while missing your appointment.
The Meca-10 movement was designed as a round calibre, with two barrels creating the impossibly vast power reserve of 10 days. This is clearly visible through one of my favourite parts in the open dial, the large black disc-shaped indicator at 9 with its pops of red. The intricate parts are set within a combination of straight and curved bridges, quite possibly designed by an F1 chassis engineer. There’s a large horizontal steel rack and pinion, on a black track across the movement just below 12, connected to the barrels – and an opening at 3 o’clock indicating the power reserve, turning red when needing a recharge. All finishing of the intricate movement puzzle is top-tier horology, and divinely engaging, whether it be the pirouette of a balance wheel or watching the rack and pinion move when winding the large crown.
Hublot’s Art of Fusion is here a vision of an engineered mechanical micro-universe. Even with today’s minimalist focus on screens, speech control and touch panels, the Swiss made copy Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 Titanium still manages to look futuristic, and with its own strong language. In a more rustic suit the constituent parts of this titanium time-telling machine could be perceived as a clean-cut version of Steam Punk. I’m coining a new term – Meca-Punk.