In 2018, Hublot released its first smartwatch, the The Big Bang Referee 2018 World Cup Russia, which was produced specifically for the event and worn by the referees. It was a hit, but at 49mm with a depth of 13mm, it was BIG, which made it a turn-off for many buyers. (see what we did there?)
At 42mm, the Big Bang E has resolved the size issue, and delivered a feature packed Google Wear operating system with full access to Google Play, Pay, and Assist. Processing is taken care of by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 and the whole shebang is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. It has a battery cycle of 1 day and a charging time of 2 hours 30 minutes.
Build quality and aesthetics are no different to Hublot's mechanical offerings and at present the Big Bang E is offered in both titanium and black ceramic. The case uses the proprietary "sandwich" construction of the BB and is comprised of 42 components, 27 of which house the "K Module", the digital heart of the watch. Water resistance is 30m which is essentially "splash proof" so no swimming, showering or rinsing, although a quick wipe down with a warm damp cloth will be sufficient to keep it gleaming.
Strap changes are simple and use the "one click" system. You can switch straps in an instant by pressing the release button situated between the two bolt heads on either side of the case before sliding in a different coloured strap of your choosing. No tools or finger stabbing required. The range is extensive so coordinating isn't a problem.
As well as the technology, one of the joys of this watch lies in the volume of dials which will be available for download and use. Combined with a variety of straps, there will be no "boredom" as you can radically change the look of the Big Bang E by pairing dial displays and strap combinations to keep things fresh, something that is harder to achieve with mechanical timepieces unless you want to spend eye-watering sums to achieve variety.
The first run of the BB-E has been launched with 8 dials designed by artist Marc Ferro as part of the #HublotLovesArt movement. These dials are set to change every 3 hours over a 24 hour period with an 5 second animation displaying between changeovers. Naturally, you can stop the scroll and select one at will.
As Hublot enjoys a relationship with many street artists and designers, more dial designs will be added from different collaborators.
For those who prefer a more traditional appearance, that has also been very nicely covered with more "standard" variations such as GMT worldtime (pictured at top of article), perpetual calendar, and analog dials mirroring those of the automatic ranges.
Analog in green with strap to completely revamp the look of the watch.
The rear of the watch is standard smartwatch fare with a sensor built into the caseback for monitoring health and exercise levels should you wish to do so.
When I was asked to review the Big Bang E I admit to having screwed my face up slightly as I'm a hardcore mechanical watch fan who's never found the aesthetics of a smart watch even slightly appealing. That said, I freely admit that watch nerds can become very fixed in their views of what they find interesting / attractive and wearable. We have the ability to become entrenched in being pretty boring and claiming that this is because we like "classic" designs. This of course is fine, if we were all driving around in Ford Anglia's and Capri's while using rotary dial telephones. But we aren't. We have allowed our lives to evolve with technology but absolutely draw the line at permitting technology onto our wrists without complaint. I think we need to get over it because wearable tech isn't going away, and more to the point, it can make up part of a collection without forcing mechanical watches to never see the light of day again.
It's pretty fitting that out of the big brand watch world, Hublot has taken the step into smart watches. They have a reputation for being innovative with design and materials and because of their collaborations with street artists, designers and popular "youth culture" figures have access to talented up-and-coming artists and designers that they are willing to invest in. This has often led them to be viewed as the new brats on the block of the horological scene, but frankly, this is one of their strengths in an industry that could probably do with an intermittent wake-up call while it's busily crafting identikit designs (which I love, don't get me wrong) that can be handed down between the generations by chaps in cardigans to children in chinos.
The Big Bang E, I suspect, is going to be a roaring success for two reasons. It brings together horology with smart technology, something that up until recently has been mutually exclusive which will entice younger buyers to the Swiss market, and due to having the established design aesthetic of the Big Bang, may convince some of the mechanical fans to convert and hopefully put an end to the mechanical on one wrist and smart on the other habit, which has all the sartorial elegance of going to a restaurant in cut-off wellington boots.
To summarise, its a killer smart watch, and against all of my dumb judgements as a horology nut, I want one. I REALLY WANT ONE.
Hublot's promotional video below.
Specifications are as follows -
Model: Big Bang e
Reference Number: Titanium: 440.NX.1100.RX, Black Ceramic: 440.CI.1100.RX
Case Material: Titanium or Black Ceramic
Dial: Diameter: 30.80mm; resolution: 390x390 pixels (327 dpi); display technology: AMOLED
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Caliber: Model: Google Wear OS with Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor; version: quad-core up to 1.094 GHz, RAM: 1GB / 8GB Flash (ePoP); Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone; DC motor (vibration), LLOB (Low Latency off Body), ALS (Ambient Light Sensor), OTS (Optical Tracking Sensor) for rotating crown
Power Reserve: Battery type: Lithium-Ion induction charging; battery life: ~ 1 Day; capacity: 300 mAh; charging time: ~2.5 hours
Recommended Retail Price - £4,800 ceramic, £4,100 titanium
Availability - 15th June 2020, although currently available to Hublotista members from now.