During LVMH Watch Week in Dubai, Hublot launched the Big Bang Integral replica collection with an integrated bracelet and the third-generation Hublot Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II chronograph replica by tattoo artist Maxime Buchi. The overall design and functions of Sang Bleu II are the same as the two existing models, but the 2020 color scheme is matte blue, the same as the blue used by tattoo artists in their creations.
“It Tattoo Artist”
The Hublot Sang Bleu II limited edition chronograph replica brings together the world of haute horology and abstract art. It is the result of a relationship between Hublot and Maxime Plescia-Büchi, a self-described “tattooist” from Switzerland. His studio and creative agency, Sang Bleu, includes a magazine that explores fine art, fashion, sociology, kink culture, and tattoo culture. On top of that, the studio even dabbles in typeface. They’ve also worked on logos for fashion house Balenciaga and even the City of Stockholm, but perhaps a touchpoint familiar to American audiences is that Maxime Plescia-Büchi has tattooed Kanye West with the birthdays of his daughter and mother.
The Sang Bleu II
Following the highly successful (sold out) first edition of the Sang Bleu in 2016, Hublot came out with a souped-up second edition in 2019 with chronograph functionality and an even more complex 3D dial. Like the second-generation Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II replica models in the collection with black dials and black rubber straps, the imposing 45mm case of this new model bristles with edges and angles and the seemingly endless juxtaposition of geometric shapes.
Available in titanium and Hublot’s proprietary King Gold, the shape of some elements of the Hublot Big Bang replica case have succumbed to the geometric shapes Buchi uses in his tattoos (look at the one on his head and you’ll see what we mean). The bezel abandons its usual round shape for a hexagonal profile with the classic 6 H-shaped titanium screws. Even the central metal lip extending from the case to the rubber strap features an engraved triangle to perpetuate the dizzying array of shape upon geometric shape. The surfaces exalt the geometry with alternating polished and satin-brushed finishes. A black rubber-clad crown and the rectangular chronograph pushers complete the casing, which is water-resistant to 100m.
The Complex Dial
“Sang Bleu, meaning ‘blue blood’ in French, was really born from the idea of exposing this intersection of cultures in a way I thought made sense. Blue blood is symbolic of nobility, and the word play with blue ink and blood is almost accidental. The idea of referencing nobility was really a statement about contemporary culture. A culture where traditional values such as ‘high’ or ‘noble’ and then ‘sub’ or ‘vile’ or ‘popular’ don’t apply anymore. Young people have a transversal and holistic perception of culture.”
The only other watch that I’ve seen that compares in terms of dial color is the Sinn U1 B, and while the color is very similar, it’s perceived very differently on the wrist. With its angular case shape and geometrically adorned dial, it feels much more like a mystical talisman offering protection from evil spirits or a piece of technology from a civilization far into the future or past than a modern watch.
The skeletonised dial performs similar feats of 3D geometric acrobatics with countless layers that create an intense sensation of depth and complexity. Reading the time takes some practice and consulting elapsed times on the sub-counter is a serious challenge. This has obviously not been designed as a performance chronograph, although stopping and resetting the chronograph seconds hand offers some extra functionality.
A central seconds hand for the chronograph replica, extending across the entire diameter of the dial, indicates the seconds against the inclined matte blue seconds track. The hours are minutes are indicated by arrow-shaped hands placed on quadrilateral kite-shaped structures. There are two hexagonal rotating sub-dials tucked under the profusion of elements, the one at 3 o’clock for the elapsed minutes and the one on the left for the small seconds. There is also a date window, tucked in between 4 and 5 o’clock on the matte blue ring for the hours. As the central hour and minute hands rotate around the dial parts of the movement can be seen.
A sapphire caseback reveals the Hublot Manufacture Unico automatic flyback chronograph movement (HUB1240.MXM) with column wheel. Running at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour the power reserve is of 72 hours. The rotor is designed by Buchi.
The thematic matte blue extends to the rubber strap, which has a slender V-shape matching the triangle on the lugs, with a black rubber bezel and black-plated deployment clasp. Both versions of this very bold Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II replica are limited editions: 200 pieces in titanium and 100 pieces in gold. The titanium version will retail for 24,800 euros and the King Gold version for 46,600 euros.
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