With this new Hublot Big Bang Bullet Bang limited edition watch, the relatively young Swiss watchmaking brand keeps experimenting with materials that, while not particularly unfamiliar to those designing jet engines, electronic components and Formula One cars, are extremely rarely employed by the local watch builders: the industry is traditionally quite conservative when it comes to materials. This new member of the highly popular Big Bang family uses a highly scratch-resistant (and also quite dressy if you use it to make an expensive watch) Cermet ceramic material.
Let me start with a total disclosure here: I am a big fan of Hublot’s Big Bang series. Although having certain problems with legibility (especially, their ‘All Black’ models), there is something about the Big Bang, that makes some people fall in love with the watch in a moment they see it. So, you must understand I am a little, to say the least, biased here. Okay, here we go with the Hublot Big Bang Bullet Bang limited edition watch.
Considered one of the most interesting watches exhibited at the recent Baselworld 2008 show, the Hublot Big Bang Bullet Bang totally deserves ‘The Best of Basel World 2008 watch collection’ title. This device, which is limited to only 500 individually numbered pieces, sports its oversized case and the signature bezel that is attached to body with the usual six H-shaped screws is crafted from unique alloy made of ceramic and tungsten and a trifle of bronze that gives the final material its familiar look.
The material is not brand new: Cermet is widely used in the manufacture of resistors, capacitors, and other electronic components which may experience high temperatures. They use Cermets even in saws and other brazed tools due to their superior wear and corrosion properties.
Being almost absolutely scratch-resistant, this alloy has a definite advantage over the DLC coating: you can make it just about any metal color you like, not only that Emo-style matte black. This particular watch looks like it’s crafted of gold.
Just like any other Big Bang watch, the Bullet Bang features a 44mm case with titanium H-shaped screws and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.
Although the officially specified diameter of the body doesn’t sound especially intimidating, I must warn you that the integrated lugs are rather long: the watch is a bit more than 50 millimeters long and will basically cover all width of your wrist. At 14 millimeters from top to bottom, the timepiece is also quite thick, so make sure that your shirt’s cuffs are wide enough not to make wearing this beauty a pain.
The setting crown is made of black PVD steel with a black rubber insert that seems to match in color and texture the usual rubber strap. The strap looks extremely cool here, but the voice of wisdom whispers that during especially hot days, your sweaty wrist will not feel especially comfortable, however getting a replacement strap made from more, um, breathable material may be a problem because of the way the strap is secured to the case.
Also, I don’t really understand why they opted for such a material except for pure esthetics: rated for water resistance of up to 100 meters, the gadget is suitable for taking a shower or some minor swimming, but that’s clearly not a diving watch.
Being a traditional automatic column-wheel chronograph, the Bullet Bang is powered by the HUB44 RAC movement, which is based on the well-known ETA Valjoux 7750 column-wheel chronograph caliber.
Perhaps, one of the most popular ebauche among watchmakers all over the world (at least, among those who cannot afford developing and making their own calibers,) the ETA Valjoux 7750 was slightly modified by Hublot’s partner La Joux-Perret: the movement’s rotor was skeletonized and equipped with the signature tungsten carbide oscillating weight.
It is, however, the same bullet-proof mechanism that has a reputation of a movement that is both highly reliable, easy to service and relatively accurate.
The dial is another winning point of this timepiece.
While many 7750-based chronographs look like identical twins, this one actually looks very original thanks to their signature stylized Arabic numerals and massive applied hour markers. Although I would prefer the slots in the elements to be filled with some Superluminova (however thin thouse patches would be), I must say that nighttime legibility is still more than adequate: the black lume glows quite brightly in darkness and you can easily read time even without a pilot marking at 12 (still, it would be a good idea to place one there for reference).
WWR preliminary verdict
Review Score: 4/5
Build quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Hublot Big Bang Bullet Bang Cermet watch specification
Price range: $25,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic column-wheel chronograph, Caliber HUB44 RAC, base ETA Valjoux 7750, Swiss Made
Case material: Microblasted Cermet ceramic, scratch-resistant
Complications: Chronograph, Date
Dial: Matt black with satin-finish figures and applique index markers, in Cermet color
Strap: Adjustable smooth black rubber
Water resistance: 100 meters
Case diameter: 44.00 mm
Case height: 14.00 mm
Limited edition of 500 pieces