This week is getting greener by the second… Following on from the Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date limited edition and the Seiko Presage SPB111J1 Green Enamel Dial limited edition, the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM watch takes things to another level of green, with a novel case built to house the impressive HUB9011 movement. An in-house skeletonized caliber, the HUB9011 is packing a remarkable seven barrels mounted in series, generating an impressive 14-day power reserve, which is displayed by a white-on-black roller. This unusual movement architecture massively transforms the case’s profile and, while this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this “hummock” effect, it has perhaps never been more striking than it is here in bright green SAXEM, a material never before used in watchmaking.
SAXEM is a loose acronym of “Sapphire Aluminium oXide Earth Mineral.” Its green color comes from mixing aluminum oxide (the base component of sapphire) with elements like thulium, holmium, and chromium. The result is both aesthetically and technically stunning, being harder than emerald and even more brilliant than sapphire. It has an incredibly consistent cubic crystalline structure, which means that the color of the case looks the same from all angles.
The Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM watch (reference 911.JG.0129.RX) will be limited to just 20 pieces. The brand’s decision to create such a small run is probably motivated by several factors: First, it is incredibly difficult to machine a material of this nature with this level of accuracy. Secondly, the watch has a six-figure price tag, which is obviously inaccessible for most people (and probably a large portion of Hublot clients). And lastly, because it is, as any non-metal watch tends to be, something of a divisive design.
Despite the bonkers case, the internal workings are all business. The enormous power reserve is a big selling point, and the novel way it is achieved and presented (unabashedly dominating the dial) is rather impressive. Although the entire lower half of the display is taken up by the barrels, legibility is surprisingly good. A matte black skeleton dial occupies to the top half of the dial, with just hour and minute hands to indicate the time. The green lume applied to these hands and the hour markers has a ghoulish hue that sits very comfortably alongside the green of the case (and is brought out even more by the housing’s unusual coloration). The time dial is intersected on either side by a helical gear at “10 o’clock” (this is the gear that transfers the power from the vertically stacked barrels to the otherwise horizontally arranged movement), and the balance wheel on the other side at “2 o’clock.”
There are few cases on the market that have such an undeniable character. Love it or hate it, this big green machine is not likely to be missed. At 45mm-wide and 14.4mm-thick, the bulky Big Bang case is not for the faint-hearted. Disappointingly, however, for such a large watch, the water resistance is a shallow 30 meters.
It has been 14 years since the Big Bang first debuted in 2005. The model has always been the standard-bearer for the brand — a perfect playground for experimentation with new materials, and a ready-made excuse to go a little wild. The Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM watch does just that, continuing a long tradition that has seen models such as Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II Chronograph 2019 watch, Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire watch, and Hublot Big Bang UNICO Red Magic Ceramic watch, generate passionate discussion among the watch-watching public. This model, resplendent in its startling shade of green, is available for $127,000.