The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Purple Sapphire evokes memories of Goldeneye 64, staying up late on a school night and living without a care in the world.
I have to hand it to Hublot. We’re one day into Watches & Wonders 2022, and they’re already kicked things off with a bang. A Big Bang, to be exact.
Among the novelties debuted for the world’s horology set in Geneva this year, Hublot introduced the world to the Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Purple Sapphire. Encased within a world-first synthetic sapphire, the stunning translucent purple hue is unlike anything you expect to see in the world of fine watchmaking.
The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Purple Sapphire
“Continuity, perseverance. Innovation is not about launching isolated products, but rather being able to sustain a range over the long term with a consistent level of quality, while continuing to explore new frontiers,” says Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, emphasising the mindstate of innovation that drives the Swiss watchmaker.
Today-meets-tomorrow-meets-watchmaking-history in this piece, combining the innovative new material mix (aluminium oxyde and chrome) with a tourbillon complication that dates back centuries and has been an essential part of Hublot’s brand DNA for the last 15 years.
Serious watch collectors and Hub-heads will immediately recall last year’s spirited orange Big Bang, a juicy squeeze of citrus for the wrist, but for those of us who grew up in the ’90s, Hublot’s translucent purple hue evoked something else all together.
In 1998, the Game Boy was dominating the handheld gaming wars — Sega’s Game Gear was history, nothing on the Neo Geo was touching Pokémon — for Nintendo, this was a time to flex. And flex, they did. The Game Boy Color dropped in late October, bringing 16 vibrant colours to the handheld for the first time, and six to its outer shell: Berry, Grape, Kiwi, Dandelion, Teal and the most important of all: the gorgeous, translucent Atomic Purple, that immediately made all five other colourways completely irrelevant.
Nintendo’s other flagship product at the time, the N64, was dominating the console wars thanks to titles like GoldenEye 64, which played as big a role in making and breaking friendships during Friday night sleepovers as it did in revolutionising the gaming industry. A limited-edition N64 controller also got the translucent Atomic Purple treatment, and quickly became a reliable indicator of who was truly the Player One in their crew.
Seeing Hublot’s latest brought those memories rushing back immediately — memories of old friends, of cans of Surge and slices of stuffed-crust pizza, of WWF Attitude and Rogue Squadron and getting a last round of Blast Corps in as eye bleach from the terror of playing Doom 64 too long into the night.
While ’90s aesthetic and style have seen a resurgence in recent years, certain elements hit home harder than others. If Don Draper had it his way, he might tell you that this Purple Sapphire Tourbillon Automatic isn’t a watch at all — it’s a time machine, one that transports us a different era, a time when we’d stay up late catching Pokémon on school nights, while dodging turtle shells and golden guns on weekends. A time when we lived without a care in the world.
Time may be the ultimate luxury, but memory makes an awfully close second. Cheers to Hublot for giving us both.
For more information on the limited-edition Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Purple Sapphire, please visit Hublot.com or contact your local boutique.