Fifteen years since its launch in 2005, Hublot is now presenting the first Big Bang model with an integrated metal bracelet, the first chain ring fused to the case. Named Big Bang Integral, the new model is available in titanium, king gold (a special alliance of 18-carat gold and 5% platinum to intensify the colour) or an all-black ceramic version (limited to 500 pieces). The polished and satin finish of the bracelet and the bevelled and chamfered links create the same depth and contrast effect between the case and the lugs.
The production of the integrated replica Hublot bracelet required a redesign of the case. Thus, although the dial and bezel are identical to the existing Big Bang 42 mm model – the only difference being indicated by the replacement of the Arabic numerals by indexes – the keys revert to the shape of the original 2005 model. The new models are made entirely of one of the materials – titanium, gold or ceramic – the only exceptions being the black composite resin lugs on the bezel and the rubber-coated crown.
They are powered by the HUB1280 movement, an automatic chronograph movement with a guide wheel and flyback function that beats at 4 Hz (28,800 vph) and has a three-day power reserve. The prices of the Hublot Big Bang Integral are: titanium €20,700 / US$ 20,900 (ref. 451.NX.1170.NX), gold (ref. 451.OX.1180.OX), euro black ceramic €22,700 or US$ 23,100 (ref. 451. CX.1140.CX).
This was probably the new release I was most looking forward to getting intimate with, and while it didn’t disappoint, it really didn’t enthrall me and totally convinced me to buy it like I was hoping. . It didn’t help that the salesman misheard me and pulled out the bracelet version, rather than the rubber strap model I was hoping to try. But once he pulled it out of the closet, I figured I’d better go have replica TAG Heuer it, because I’m going to be trying a lot of pieces here today, and I didn’t want to rub him the wrong way to begin with, and they had to sanitize them before putting them back on!
Oddly enough, when I put it on my wrist, my first reaction to the watch was that it looked “small”, which is odd, since it’s only 43mm, which is actually the same size as the Aquaracer I’m wearing. I can only assume that this is a phantom, caused by the bright yellow chapter ring against the carbon fibre effect dial, which from some angles appears slightly thicker than it actually is, as it is reflected in the polished recesses that surround it. You might be surprised to learn that the watch has a ceramic bezel (definitely a step in the right direction), which means you don’t have to worry about those pesky scratches. On the other hand, it does add to the cost of ownership. This one is currently priced at £1,650 on TAG Heuer’s website, which is £200 more than the new Formula 1 Red Bull Special Edition. On the plus side, when this ends up on a Watchfinder that will become pre-owned in a few years time, at least it won’t scratch the bezel…! The textured carbon fibre dial (unlike the “carbon fibre” dial, the important difference being that it’s not made of carbon fibre, but simply looks like a lattice weave pattern of layered carbon) looks great, and the whole watch is striking and colourful, rather than “in your face”, as it should be on a TAG Heuer Formula 1.
For those who have no interest in the Ayrton Senna (and apparently some), it could be the Formula 1 ‘Senna’ as it has a similar halo with a bright yellow chapter ring and a carbon fibre dial that screams ‘racing’. Come to think of it, I don’t think there has ever been a ‘Senna’ watch with a carbon dial, at least not under the TAG Heuer banner (believe it or not, the name ‘Senna’ was licensed for a while), except! (other than TAG Heuer, and then back to the brand Ayrton actually wore in 2015), but of course I could be wrong – please let me know in the comments! Frankly, I believe the CAZ101AC will be my next watch, but it doesn’t trigger the “forget it” feeling in my wallet. I don’t think it’s because I also tried the bracelet version, although the pathetic clasp (yes, again) didn’t help. They upgraded the bezel to ceramic, but left the delicate look of a penny clip, but conveys zero sense of luxury, and like TAG Heuer’s insistence on using a plastic movement holder, it’s unnecessarily own goal that could easily shoot TAG nasty online.