Hublot Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto: meet the dark lord of provocative statement pieces
Has anyone heard of a little thing called Covid-19? While the majority of us may have, Hublot definitely doesn’t seem to. First, they provide exclusive limousine services for their clients in China when everything else is closed. Now, braving the pandemic storm, they are launching next month in Tokyo the brand’s new flagship Boutique on Chuo-dori Street in Ginza. To celebrate its opening, the brand in its characteristic style is introducing a limited edition watch, the new Hublot Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto.
When I look at this new release, David Bowie’s lyrics Bang Bang I got mine; Bang Bang reach for the sky come to mind. Allow me to explain why.
Subtlety is not a word I would associate with Hublot.
They may be the masters of creativity and technical wizardry, but when it comes to their timepieces, they create full-on statement pieces. That’s their USP, and frankly one of the reasons I personally admire what the brand is doing.
So when they release an all-out black piece that’s got no colour, that’s just the definition of understated luxury and stealth, it’s hard to believe it’s a Hublot. I know it’s not the first time though that they have released a blacked-out watch. They first introduced an ‘All Black collection’ back in 2006 with the theme of ‘Invisible visibility’.
But what sets this release apart is the execution of the watch and colour integration. The case surfaces are overtly facetted and beveled, and given the Big Bang design architecture, they create a myriad of surfaces and textures on the modular case. With so many angles and small surfaces of the case, the crown guard and the pushers, each proving their own shade of black as light caresses them, the resulting watch is overwhelmingly black, almost to the point of insanity.
Despite this look, leave it to the brand that’s always reaching for the sky to create a timepiece that may be subtle but damn, still manages to have a hell of a presence. If I could afford it, I probably would be signing (Hublot Big) Bang I got mine.
Meet the new Hublot Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto.
A Japanese fashion designer based in Tokyo and Paris, Yohji Yamamoto is considered to be an avant-garde master tailor featuring Japanese design aesthetics in his creations and creating designs that have come to be described as ‘the Shock of Black’.
Since Hublot is all about innovation and the ‘Art of Fusion’, it comes to us as no surprise that they would pioneer a watch product based on Yohji Yamamoto’s polarising design aesthetics.
“This watch can easily display the time zones of the two cities where I’m based, Tokyo and Paris. Moreover, the hours are invisible. As a person who isn’t always forthcoming, I find that highly amusing. I’m pleased to have taken part in the creation of this model to celebrate the opening of Hublot Boutique in Ginza, a unique, famous and iconic neighbourhood of Japan.”Yohji Yamamoto
For the lovers of all black stealth look, this new collaboration of Hublot with the master of antithesis and creator of new fashion codes should be a piece of welcome news.
The Dark Lord
Guided by its philosophy to “Be First, Different and Unique”, Hublot is always at the helm of innovation.
Limited to a run of 50 only, Hublot has ensured that the watch is definitely all black: micro-blasted black ceramic case; black hands; black dial; black rubber strap; and smoked sapphire crystal.
“We are honoured to celebrate the opening of our new flagship Boutique in Tokyo with fashion designer super star Yohji Yamamoto. This All Black limited edition we created together expresses a simple beauty through the fusion of Yohji Yamamoto’s black design signature and the complicated GMT manufacture movement.”Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot
There is something sinisterly inviting about the use of black. At once mysterious and sensual, it’s a unique harmony of hidden desires meeting championing thoughts. In the new Big Bang GMT All Black, Hublot manages to imbibe these very essences of the colour and presents a timepiece that’s a provocative statement piece.
The Specifications of reference 471.CI.1114.RX.YOY20
The heart used — Calibre HUB1251 — is a UNICO Manufacture self-winding GMT movement that comprises of 328 components, 41 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and offers an impressive 72-hour power reserve.
The HUB1251 movement is equipped with a patented proprietary module which enables the second time zone to be updated instantly by a push-button, allowing the local time to be read easily via the conventional main hand of the watch. The time at home is indicated using a second arrow-shaped hour hand, which integrates a day/night indicator and is set using the crown.
It is cased inside a 45mm diameter and 15.85mm thick micro-blasted and polished black ceramic case that offers a good 100m (10 ATM). The watch also features a micro-blasted and polished black ceramic bezel with the iconic 6 H-shaped screws and a micro-blasted ceramic display caseback that features the ‘SPECIAL EDITION XX/50’ engraving.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
Even though the watch is all black, Hublot has done an exceptional job of providing contrast to the various elements of the watch. It is the tone-on-tone monochromatic black that lends that extra flair to the watch.
From afar, the watch is black. A dark hole if you may. But as you get closer, you realise it’s not jet-black like H. Moser & Cie’s new Vantablack®. Rather, it’s almost like a combination of subtle grades of black, that may be the same shade but due to different textures, lend an artistic touch and depth to the watch.
On closer inspection, the layers being to peel and you can admire the beauty. The satin and polished ceramic case is punctuated by the contrasts provided by the surface and textural interplay.
The watch face shows the traditional functions of central hours, minutes and seconds, and a second-time zone GMT hand. This dark and intriguing open-worked black sapphire dial provides different levels in its architecture. Mounted on the dial base are the hour markers and the central plate depicting the ‘day’ and ‘night’ for GMT. Underneath these markers and the GMT plate you can see the glimpses of the gears and the 328 movement components. Both of these being raised on the dial compared to rest of the exposed movement provide for a nice 3D effect.
Like the recently released Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix® complete calendar and self-winding watches, the dial shows hour markers as alternating between Arabic numerals and baton-style appliqués. These hour markers are in the form of satin-finished black PVD plated appliques with black luminescence. Being applied, raised and angled — with a black gradient colour scheme (due to black luminous material) within each marker — they provide the much needed visual relief and interplay.
Further elements adding to this interplay are the central plate depicting the ‘day’ and ‘night’ for GMT that is in two shades of black to depict the contrast. Then the peripheral minute track is sloped and with the play of light appears darker than the rest of the dial. Additionally, true to Hublot’s All Black concept, tone on tone, the signature of Yohji Yamamoto can be seen at 6’o clock that matches the branding at 12’o clock but they both contrast with the rest of the dial.
Moving beyond the dial, the case too is embedded with surface interplays: the bezel is shiny and polished, clearly demarcated against the integrated lugs that wrap themselves around the wrist as they exit the flank of the watch. In the three-part case the middle sandwich ‘ears’ inner case is grained and the angled slopes of the two pushers at 2 and 4’o clock again contrast well against the circular bezel.
Finally, the black rubber strap with black plated titanium deployant buckle clasp in true Hublot style features raised grooves in the middle providing for yet another surface play. In another true Hublot style, the straps feature the quick release mechanism that would help someone wanting to bring in colour to this watch by easily swapping out the strap.
Even though it’s got a busy dial and legibility is not really the centre-point of the design here, surprisingly, the new Hublot Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto is a daily wearable watch. Of course this is relative given the large dimensions of 45mm x 15.85mm but with integrated lugs, ergonomics rules this release and while the watch may be large, it wears smaller.
These are clearly not meant to be worn with a suit and tie given they won’t fit under the cuff, but given these are statement pieces, they would find the right home with collectors and devoted fans easily.
Coming in at roughly 40,000 AUD, anyone looking to own a piece of black beauty with Yohji Yamamoto and Hublot signatures has come to the right place.
It’s like we said at the beginning, with this new limited edition collector timepiece, I can almost hear anyone buying this singing, Bang Bang I got mine; Bang Bang reach for the sky…
For more information on this and other Hublot watches, head to the Hublot website here.