Beneath its elaborate and mechanical facade, the latest Big Bang Unico GMT by Hublot is actually a rather straightforward piece of equipment. Back in 2011, the first Unico GMT watch — the King Power iteration — saw four spinning conical discs on its dial in place of the usual GMT hand, making it an avant-garde and unique timepiece, but not one made for convenience. After all, having to decipher spinning discs just to tell the time, isn’t exactly on the top of our list of things to do after a 14-hour flight.
Which is why the 2017 version is a welcome breath of fresh air, because this new watch tells the two time zones legibly, sans the horological bells and whistles we’ve now come to expect from the Swiss watch manufacturer.
Within the watch lies the caliber HUB1251, which comes equipped with a fully integrated dual time zone complication, and powers the watch at 4Hz with a generous 72-hour power reserve. Its main hands indicate the local time, while arrow-tipped hands tell the home time. At the centre of the dial is a day and night disc that works in tandem with the home time.
Because each time zone is indicated in a 12-hour format instead of the traditional 24-hour one, the day/night indicator is essential for telling whether it’s, well, day or night back home.
To help make the second time zone complication as user-friendly as possible, two pushers at the side of the 45mm case — standard size for Big Bangs — allow for the adjustments of local time forward or backward in one-hour increments.
There isn’t a date indicator on this timepiece, which is just as well, considering that would be yet another adjustment users have to make, and would go against Hublot’s vision of making this a foolproof GMT watch.
While this isn’t your typical Big Bang watch, Hublot’s incorporation of some key features, such as the hands and hour indicators, retain the overall look and feel of the company’s most favoured timepiece. The titanium version’s price tag tips just over S$20,000, while the carbon fibre version will set you back at about S$32,600.