Big Bang theory: Hublot’s most wearable (integrated) bracelet watch has arrived

What began as an audacious attempt to convince watch collectors that stainless steel is precious back in the 1970s, led by Audemars Piguet and quickly joined by many others, has become a full-blown trend of epic and undying proportions in the decades that followed.

But the funny thing about fads is their ability to usurp their original appeal.

These days, full-metal watches with integrated bracelets don’t need to be in steel to be sexy. They just need to balance sportiness with elegance, and reigning examples like Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas (to name but a few) have proven the guaranteed success of such a formula with options in precious metals and high-tech materials.

But now with so many similar options on the market, people are hungry for something a little different. And that brings us to the Big Bang Integral Time Only. It has all the fan-favourite features – exposed bezel screws, integrated bracelet with contrasting polished and satin-finished links – but also excites with an open-worked dial (rather than a patterned one), 40mm diameter (small for a Big Bang and a first for an Integral) and zero versions in steel; the collection is offered only in yellow gold, titanium and a 250-piece limited edition “All Black” ceramic.

The collection is available in three versions – in yellow gold, titanium and a 250-piece limited edition “All Black” ceramic. (Photo: Hublot)

The first Big Bang Integral was released just two years ago, and Hublot’s late entrance into the segment is understandable given the brand’s obsession with rubber straps. The collection comprised almost exclusively of skeletonised chronographs (with the exception of the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire) and came in a variety of materials, from King Gold to brightly hued ceramic. This makes the new Big Bang Integral Time Only the most stripped-down, and therefore most versatile, one of the lot.

Despite its name, the watch actually features a date window at 6 o’clock in addition to the hours, minutes and seconds, but the date ring adds some visual complexity in the absence of chronograph counters.

But most of what you’re looking at is the HUB1710 movement, based on the Zenith Elite 670 calibre and previously used in some versions of the Spirit of Big Bang, Big Bang One Click, and Big Bang Unico 45 models. The automatic 4Hz movement is also visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, complete with satin finishing and Cotes de Geneve. It has 50 hours of power reserve, and is water-resistant to 100m.

Even though Hublot is relatively new to making bracelets, it is no novice when it comes to fine details. Each link is individually polished, satin-finished, chamfered and bevelled, and sits comfortably on the wrist.

There are more than enough “sports-chic” tickers to go around, but Hublot is always happy to compete on its own terms, giving us daring twists in all the right places, and at just the right time.

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