Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf Watch
There are few modern, successful brands that are as polarizing and incite as much discussion among watch enthusiasts as Hublot. While their designs might not be for everyone, it’s hard to argue that their prolific use of innovative materials and techniques – not to mention marketing and collaborations – outpaces their peers by a large margin. With the launch of the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf, the brand now introduces a new “complication” to the horological world – a “golf counter,” if you will.
The Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf is being launched in cooperation with champion golfer Dustin Johnson and was developed as a way for golfers to keep track of their score while on the course. This is made possible through development of a new module by Hublot that sits on top of its UNICO movement. Dubbed the caliber MHUB1580, it is an automatic movement with 72 hours of power reserve and is equipped with three pushers – at 2:00, 4:00, and 8:00. The pushers flanking the crown might be reminiscent of chronograph watches, but these are more or less simple tally counters. Much like the recent Richard Mille RM 70-01 “cycling watch” – though actually more involved in terms of the tally counters as it uses and totalizes multiple displays – it is probably possible for the counters to be largely independent of the base movement and its power source.
The pusher at 2:00 activates the stroke counter, seen at 3:00 on the dial, and keeps track of the number of shots per hole. When a player advances to the next hole, they note it using the pusher at 4:00 which resets the shot counter to 0, but advances the hole counter at 8:00 by 1. There is a counter at the bottom of the dial that tallies up the total number of strokes for the game. At the end of the game, all you have to do is activate the pusher at 8:00 which resets everything to 0. Hublot has also incorporated a locking mechanism on the 8:00 pusher to avoid accidentally resetting the score to 0 – all you have to do is rotate the pusher by 45 degrees. A small feature, but one that I suspect will prove very useful.
The case and bezel for the watch are machined from Texalium, one of Hublot’s many proprietary materials – in this case, a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber. Despite its large proportions of 45mm wide by 18.1mm thick, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf weighs in at a very light 98g thanks to the light Texalium (probably important for swinging a golf club). The pushers are titanium and the case is completed with AR-coated sapphire on both the front and back. The screws on the bezel are titanium – using aluminum would risk the screws fusing into the bezel over time. The watch is rated to 100m of water-resistance, which is par for the course for a sport watch.
The dial for the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf is a matte black ring with a central bridge and a secondary bridge to hold the 6:00 clock indicator in place. The rest is left open to give the wearer a view of the wheels for the shot and hole counters and parts of the gear train. The applied hour markers and hands are rhodium plated and filled with lume for low-light legibility. Generally, I fall into the camp that believes legibility of a watch is important and should never be compromised for the sake of design, and I think this watch seems plenty legible.
Admittedly, this is a very esoteric complication but that’s what makes it potentially appealing. Mechanical watches in this day and age are not entirely about being practical – there has to be some degree of fun, intrigue, or mechanical complexity to it. And, I think the Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf ticks those boxes while being potentially useful, especially if you play a lot of golf. As with most Hublot watches, the bold design and large sizes may turn away some, but will be all the more popular with others. The Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf ships with two straps – a mix of black rubber with white calf skin, as well as a black velcro strap, and each has a titanium/carbon fiber deployant. It is available from retailers and authorized distributors for $31,500. hublot.com
Ball’s Temperature Measurement technology (TMT) refers to a proprietary module included to, we think, the ETA 2892 automatic movement for this watch, now called the BALL RR1601-C. Ball Watch Engineer Master Ii explains that its system which uses a “spiral bimetallic thermometer” is much more precise than thermometers on strings which came before it, also claims to have the ability to measure the environment’s temperature from –31°F to 113°F (–35°C to 45°C), with a precision of 97 percent, or a “precision range of inside +10°F.” Ball notes the engineering challenge of maintaining the motion 5.1mm thick with the accession of the module’s temperature-measuring coil. Unfortunately, it does not look like this component of the movement is viewable through the screen caseback, even though it is reasonable that you would want it closer to the dial up and away in the wrist.We have seen this technology (and layout, including the date window at 1 o’clock), for example, from the Ball Trainmaster Kelvin watch (reviewed here by Patrick Kansa). Temperature always seemed like a cool thing to have the ability to reference from one’s wrist to me personally, but I have wondered how this might be impacted by body heat. It should at least be enjoyable to see the hand movement as you go inside or outside, as well as to point to your wrist as you whine about the weather.aBlogtoWatch has been enthused about the Ball for BMW line from early on, and it’s nice to find a well-executed design continuity develop across the range. I consider it to be capable of evoking a slick, modern automotive vibe. There have been a chronograph, a power reserve, a GMT, and two or three basic three-hand-plus-date watches, all limited editions and all COSC chronometer-certified, just like this one.