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Hublot is certainly no stranger when it comes to bold use of color—just look at, well, any number of the brand’s Big Bang collections (particularly Big Bang Pop Art) to see its adventurous, saturated aesthetic approach. The Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire lifts the approach out of the purely visual realm and pairs it with scientific savvy and willingness to experiment, resulting in a material like no other: blue sapphire used, not as an extraneous decoration on the case or dial, but as the very material of the case itself.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire Hublot Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire Photo: Modern Luxury

The story began (for the wider world, at least) in 2016, when Hublot unveiled its Big Bang Unico Sapphire. The entire case had been cut from a piece of sapphire, combining ultra-resistance and complete transparency. For the first time, the entirety of the movement could be seen from any angle. With 500 models in that first limited edition, Hublot could see the path forward—was, in fact, paving the path forward—to creating such radical pieces in a more significant way than a one-off here and there.

The next step, of course, was playing with color, tweaking the utter transparency just enough to tint the entire timepiece. Though synthetic colored sapphires are nothing new, the unpredictable process of creating them led to small stones, riddled with flaws and uneven in intensity of color. Hublot’ s team of engineers and chemists rolled up their sleeves and got to work, developing a groundbreaking new process that melts pure iron into aluminum oxide, the raw material for sapphire. This creates a large blue sapphire with perfectly even color and absolute transparency. As a sapphire, of course, it is incredibly scratch-resistant and among the hardest materials on Earth. True to its tagline of “ The Art of Fusion,” Hublot has wedded, not only iron and aluminum oxide, but chemistry, engineering and horology for a stunning accomplishment.

Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire Tangled up in blue? Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire Photo: Modern Luxury

Available in a limited edition of 250 pieces, the Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire boasts a bezel, case middle and caseback cut from Hublot-created blue sapphire. This exceptional case is 45mm in diameter and 15.70mm in thickness. Proprietary Hublot movement UNICO HUB1242 beats inside at 28,800 vph, revealed through the caseback… and the dial… and the case middle.  The self-winding column-wheel flyback chronograph movement also powers a date display at 3. Six H-shaped titanium screws form the visual spine of the case, joining the satin-finished titanium crown and pushers as its few opaque elements. Even the strap, structured and lined, is transparent, with the exception of its titanium deployant buckle clasp.

Hublot pushed against the same boundaries to create a red version of the Big Bang Unico Sapphire, by combining aluminum oxide with chromium at a temperature of over 2000º C. Also in a limited edition of 250 pieces, the red sapphire version uses black-plated titanium screws, crown and pushers.

Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire Blue, blue, my world is ... a Big Bang Unico Blue Sapphire Photo: Modern Luxury