In the first of a two-part series about the novelties presented at LVMH Watch Week 2023, we explore some of the highlights presented by Hublot and TAG Heuer – innovations that demonstrate the world of watches is not standing still.
Among the novelties presented by Hublot are three very special timepieces that prove why the Swiss watchmaker is always ahead of its game: a transparent, fluorescent-coloured case, a new edition of an all-time classic, and watch helping to protect rhinoceros.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sorai
Since 2019, Hublot has been supporting Save Our Rhinos Africa India (SORAI), an organisation founded by Hublot ambassador and former international cricket star Kevin Pietersen. His work helps keep rhinos threatened with extinction safe from poachers. As with the two previous limited editions, part of the proceeds from the sale of the 100 Big Bang Unico SORAI (pictured above) will be donated to the organisation. The colours chosen for the third limited edition are those of sunset, recalling the heightened danger faced by rhinos as night falls. Here, the sun is a symbol of hope, of a new dawn.
“If purchasing a watch can buy time, then it is a small gesture with huge implications. Saving the rhino is an urgent matter for both the planet and future generations,” says CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. “When Kevin Pietersen launched SORAI in 2018, we felt it was entirely natural to join forces with him in his race against time to beat the poachers. We have used our limited editions to help him gain access to more state-of-the-art technologies on the ground, put together more surveillance teams, as well as rescue injured or orphaned rhinos, with the single shared aim of shielding this endangered species.”
One of the ‘Big Five’ and the second largest mammal after the elephant, the rhino has seen its numbers drop by 90 percent over the last 10 years. On average, three wild rhinos are killed every day, leaving fewer than 30,000 rhinos currently alive across the world. And while trade in rhino horn has been banned internationally since 1977 by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), poachers continue to hunt and kill rhinos for their horns, whose price is worth more per kilo than gold.
Since 2018, SORAI has supported projects to protect endangered animals, identify new technologies to combat poaching (thermal cameras, GPS tracking of animals) and raise awareness of the need to protect these endangered species. In line with its motto, “Be The Change”, SORAI is pushing change and working to prevent poaching and hunting. There are many ways to combat poaching (raising public awareness, education, law enforcement, transmitters for tracking animals, increasing ranger numbers and creating sanctuaries for injured or orphaned animals). However, prevention and active rangers on the ground remain the most effective tools.
Proceeds from the sale of the Big Bang Unico SORAI will go directly to projects supported by SORAI to equip helicopters with cameras, raise awareness in schools about the consequences of poaching and to provide backup to rangers on the ground. These strategies are implemented where the need is biggest and most pressing: South Africa. South Africa is home to more than 80 percent of the world’s total population of rhinos, with the majority of poaching taking place in Kruger National Park, as it has the largest population of wild white rhinos left on earth.
Sculpted from polished and microblasted rhino-grey ceramic specially developed for this limited edition, the Big Bang Unico SORAI features an open- worked dial featuring the glowing colours of sunset when the sky catches fire. It is at nightfall that poachers swing into action, cloaked in darkness and more difficult to track. The colours of daybreak – yellow, orange, purple and pink – represent the hope brought by dawn, of a new day and a chance at change. Inside the 44mm diameter case of the Big Bang Unico SORAI beats the Unico self-winding manufacture movement with a 72-hour power reserve. Thanks to the patented One Click interchangeable strap system, the Big Bang Unico SORAI can be worn with a grey fabric and Velcro version or a black, purple and orange camouflage design reflecting the hues of sunset and sunrise.
Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem
During a visit to Bangkok at the end of last year, Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe’s raised the curtain exclusively to Prestige about the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon SAXEM, saying that the company will be releasing a fluorescent- coloured case for the first time. Last year saw Hublot introducing red and yellow, and the brand is also renowned for its crystal sapphire innovations and an exciting colour palette, with purple and orange being the latest (at the time). “Our global marketing strategy is focused on a philosophy to always be the first, to be unique, and different,” Ricardo said. And that, the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon SAXEM certainly is.
Hublot invested almost three years of research and development into making the 44mm case of this watch shine in a transparent, fluorescent yellow. The intense hue of the SAXEM material visibly contrasts with the six H-shaped screws of the bezel and crown, all of which use polished titanium. SAXEM, a material often used in satellites and some lasers, allowed the manufacture to obtain the watch’s unprecedented translucent colour – a first for Hublot and for watchmaking.
Reproducing a translucent case in a bright, fluorescent shade of neon yellow may seem like a simple idea. But, in fact, it was incredibly complex to achieve. The yellow is a powerful, bright neon colour which almost seems to glow from the inside, like a fluorescent material – an intense shade of acid yellow, citrus-like in its quality.
In terms of movement, the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon SAXEM is powered by the HUB6035 self-winding manufacture calibre. Hublot has chosen the most difficult technical route, self-winding using a micro-rotor – the only way to avoid concealing the back of the movement as a conventional rotor would have done. On top of that, the manufacture has chosen to skeletonise the entire calibre. This is a stratospheric feat of watchmaking which pushes open worked materials to the limits of their functional resistance, almost nothing remains that would conceal the calibre. Entirely visible and fully laid bare, even its bridges are made from sapphire so that only the beating heart and soul of the watch remain.
This heart, of course, is the tourbillon, which appears to be suspended in mid-air. This architecture serves to free the piece from any visual clutter. Positioned at 6 o’clock, it offers the technical and hypnotic spectacle of a high-precision haute horlogerie piece, designed as a 21st-century interpretation: modern, disruptive, dazzling.
Finally, to make it suitable for daily use, the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon SAXEM offers a guaranteed 72-hour power reserve – making the piece perfectly weekend-proof.
It is available as a limited edition of 50 pieces, comes with a neon yellow textured rubber strap, tailor-made for this watch, complete with a titanium deployant buckle and equipped with the One Click system so that it can be changed immediately with no need for tools.
Hublot Classic Fusion
Hublot is bringing back a watch that shook up conventions in 1980. Both refined and sporty, this precious gold-case strapped on a simple rubber strap, unthinkable at the time, sent huge shock waves through the world of fine watchmaking. By winning over an audience of connoisseurs who were searching for different watch products, the brand began a tireless visionary momentum, impelled by audacity. It’s a vision that inspires the maison in everything it does, including new product development, designs and partnerships. The Classic Fusion Original celebrates this youthful maturity with timeless simplicity.
Echoes of Carlo Crocco’s original design are recognisable in the rubber strap; the purity of the polished black lacquered dial that is only distracted by time, embodied by the facetted hands, the yellow gold, and the maison’s hallmark signature. At first sight, seemingly similar to the original, the logo has become more modern and contemporary.
The new Classic Fusion Original is available in yellow gold, titanium and ceramic, with cases that come in 42, 38 and 33mm variations. Like the seals, the six famous screws place their hallmark on the bezels – their sapphire case-backs revealing the mechanical parts. Hublot’s iconic details bring the original watch up to date, to undoubtedly make it a new timeless, classic.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph Titanium
TAG Heuer announced the arrival of the new TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph, powered yet again by a solar movement. The timepiece joins the curated TAG Heuer Aquaracer collection, known for its exceptional quality, resistance and performance. The new model’s strengths lie in its lightness and durability, making it the ultimate companion for the outdoors.
The All-Black Titanium TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4
TAG Heuer is introducing the much-anticipated sized-down version of the black titanium TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4. With its urban, sporty, and elegant all-black aesthetic, the Connected Calibre E4 in matte black sandblasted DLC Grade 2 titanium has quickly become the most successful style of this collection, alongside the unmatched Golf Edition. Joining the core collection as of mid-February 2023, the new timepiece exudes modernity, high performance, and style. The matte Grade 2 titanium case offers wearers an ultra- lightweight and highly resistant choice for their daily connected companion.
TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 42 Mm Golf Edition
The 42mm version of the TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Golf Edition is the lightest ever made by the brand, and features new algorithms that will revolutionise the performance of golf enthusiasts of all levels. Rarely has a connected watch lived up to its name as much as Tag Heuer’s dedicated golf model, and with the new Full Shot Tracking functionality, the Connected Calibre E4 Golf Edition will once again take the game to a new level.
TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer
One of the most significant timepieces in more than 160 years of history for the Swiss luxury watchmaker, the Monza returns in a contemporary tribute to the indelible link between the company and competition motorsport. A modern reinterpretation of a timeless classic, the new Monza Flyback Chronometer is a special edition with a 42mm case, made of ultra-lightweight and resistant carbon.
TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Sport Edition 45mm
In 2015, TAG Heuer revolutionised high-end watchmaking by launching its first Connected watch. In recent years, the Swiss watchmaker has established itself as a key player in the luxury connected watch segment, expanding its range and becoming a reference, particularly in the golf community. With the Connected Calibre E4 Sport Edition 45mm, TAG Heuer is expanding its offer to all committed athletes.
Thanks to its new functions and redesigned strap, the Connected Calibre E4 Sport Edition 45mm can monitor any sporting activity with an even wider range of data. With the release of a software update planned for mid-February, TAG Heuer has taken the opportunity to launch a new “Trail & Hiking” application for runners and hikers who love the mountains and going higher and further than anyone else. This new Sport Edition is distinguished at first glance by a new strap that is more than just aesthetically pleasing. The use of rubber also enhances the wearer’s experience in action, while the bracelet features two colour patterns with a fine mesh, an innovation that allows the skin to breathe better.
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary Edition
The 600-piece edition of the Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary watch has a ‘panda’ dial and becomes the curtain-raiser to the 60th Anniversary of Jack Heuer’s timeless creation, the Carrera. Introduced in 1963, the Carrera has defined the wristwatch chronograph genre for six decades and is now recognised around the world for its classic, elegant profile, ultra-legible dial, and utterly dependable engineering. It has been worn by legends of motor sport and stars of the silver screen, from the likes of James Hunt in the 1960s, to Mick Jagger in the 1970s, and on to Ryan Gosling today.
Featured image credit: Hublot Big Bang Unico SORAI
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