While a pioneer in luxury-sports watches with its gold-meets-rubber models of the 1980s, Hublot is a relatively new arrival to the world of luxury-sports watches with an integrated bracelet – with its opening act being the flyback chronograph of 2020. Now a simple, fuss-free version joins the line up.
At LVMH Watch Week 2022 the brand has taken the covers off the Big Bang Integral Time Only, which has an integrated bracelet naturally, but also is the most compact men’s Big Bang to date at 40 mm wide. And in typical Hublot style, the new Time Only is available in a trio of materials, none of which is steel but instead titanium, ceramic, or yellow gold.
It’s great to see Hublot adapt its products to accommodate demand for small(er) watches, especially since the Big Bang has always been, well, big. The trimmer size of the Time Only brings it closer to the dimensions of the traditional luxury-sports watches, which are essentially elaborate bracelets that tell time.
Despite its uncharacteristically smaller proportions, the new Time Only is still very much a Hublot. It manages to capture the Hublot style in both design and materials, while avoiding some of the cliches of the integrated-sports watch category, namely a patterned dial or a case and bracelet in steel.
The most obvious difference between the Time Only and the typical integrated-bracelet sport watch is the dial. Doing away with the dial altogether and exposing the movement underneath leaves it looking more technical and contemporary. It is of course not a novel look, but still different enough with this category to be recognisable.
However, I find the dial of the Time Only looks somewhat naked in comparison beside the chronograph version, which has more going on in the front with the chronograph module on show.
While the MHUB1710 in the Time Only has its own appeal – it is a solid performer from Zenith – I imagine there are several alternatives that might look look, including a minimalist black dial without any markers like seen on the Classic Fusion 40th Anniversary, or an ultra-fancy, three-dimensional dial that Hublot does often.
Starting at US$17,900 in titanium and rising to US$49,400 in yellow, the Time Only isn’t easily affordable but its pricing is within the ballpark for a luxury-sports watch of its class.
But the most compelling version is the all ceramic that costs US$19,900 – this is the one to get of the trio. It is arguably good value in fact, because it is one of the few all-ceramic luxury-sports watches with a multi-faceted case and bracelet finish of alternating brushed and polished surfaces. And it is a limited edition of 250 pieces – the other versions are standard production – which gives it a little bit more appeal.
That said, there is a similarly-styled watch in simpler dress that has the same movement, but costs substantially less, the Zenith Defy Classic. However, Hublot wins in fit and finish, justifying the price to a degree.
Three hands and a date
While simple on its face, the Time Only thoughtful details that give it an elaborate feel. For example, the dial has depth, especially when viewed from an angle, with sloping chapter ring and substantial hour markers sitting high above the movement.
But the highlight is definitely the bracelet, which is similar to the one found on the Integral Chronograph that debuted just two years ago.
It consists of short, multifaceted links finished with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces that give the bracelet a striking, reflective look while also being comfortable.
And the clasp is smartly concealed, creating a seamless connection between the two halves of the bracelet, while integrating the Hublot emblem fairly subtly.
Inside the Time Only is the MHUB1710, which is based on the Zenith Elite 670. The base movement is more than two decades old, but a robust performer.
It runs at 28,800 beats per hour, or 4 Hz, and has a passable power reserve of 50 hours. Mechanically it is nearly identical to the Zenith iteration of the movement, save for the silicon escape wheel that’s found only in the latest Zenith models.
Key facts and price
Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only
Ref. 456.NX.0170.NX (Titanium)
Ref. 456.CX.0140.CX (Black ceramic)
Ref. 456.VX.0130.VX (Yellow gold)
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 9.25 mm
Material: Titanium, ceramic or, 18k yellow gold
Water resistance: 100 m
Functions: Hours, minutes, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap: Matching bracelet
Limited edition: Regular production except ceramic model limited to 250 pieces
Availability: From Hublot boutiques and retailers
Titanium – US$17,800
Ceramic – US$19,900
Yellow gold – US$49,400
For more, visit hublot.com.
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