The 2009 Hublot Aero Bang Drive ACF (ref. CI.1170.GR.ACF09) was created in partnership with the well-known l’Automobile Club de France, which is claimed to be the oldest automobile club in the whole world. While not offering anything new in terms of design, the Drive ACF is nicely balanced when it comes to colors and textures. Also, for a skeletonized timepiece that it is, the gadget is quite readable if you don’t take into account the dark blue “A” letter that was printed on the front sapphire crystal right above the small seconds sub-dial.
Well, as I have already hinted, this is not exactly a completely new product, since the original Aero Bang model that this device is based on was officially presented last year and even enjoyed pretty rave reviews from a great number of people that like this kind of design.
Even I liked the collection a lot, although I must admit that now I am a kind of cooling off to this design language: there is just too much Bang in this Aero. Also, it is kind of repetitive that gets somewhat tiring as time passes. You see, the young Swiss brand is caught in the same “signature design” trap as Panerai.
The good thing about it is that their watches are easily recognizable and you always experience that “aha!” moment coming to a downtown jewelry store. The bad thing is that you rarely experience the same sort of exaltation that you get when your favorite car manufacturer’s dealership (be it Mercedes-Benz, or Porsche, or Bentley, or even Rolls-Royce) and see a recently presented model, which is not only new, but is, in fact, different from the previous generation!
Available in a modest (by Hublot’s standards, of course) 44.5 mm case made of micro-blasted black ceramic and resin, the Aero Bang Drive ACF features the three ACF colors: blue, gray, and red. The dark blue-colored luminescent substance covers all its hour markers, as well as parts of the open-worked hour and minute hands and even the small pointers on all three chronograph totalizers.
Even the sapphire crystal is marked with ACF’s logo, which is placed right above the small seconds sub-dial slightly detracting from the overall legibility.
This limited edition features an unusual layout with its winding crown and chronograph push-pieces located at the left side (the original model has the elements located on the usual place at the right side of the case.) Not sure about normal people, but the design would be great for natural-born lefties and those who are used to wear a timepiece on their right hands.
Like, for example, Mr. Putin is especially fond of expensive Swiss-made timekeepers even though he can’t officially afford most of them.
The chronograph is powered by the same Caliber HUB4200 in-house movement that comes inside all Aero Bang models. The heavily skeletonized caliber has a power reserve of a pretty average 42 hours and consists of 252 parts and 27 jewels.
The whole series is limited to a mere 250 pieces.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Hublot Aero Bang Drive ACF (ref. CI.1170.GR.ACF09) specification
Price range: $20,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber HUB4200, 27 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Movement finish: Tungsten carbide oscillating weight with black PVD treated dimpled surface
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Microblasted black ceramic
Size: 44.50 mm
Case height: 13.00 mm
Dial: Black, skeletonized
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black Alligator-resin leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated