As far back as 10 years ago, way before the present-day ignition of ceramic, PVD and DLC watches in the market, Hublot took a quantum leap and created the first completely black watch. This was the genius of Jean-Claude Biver who, inspired by Carlo Cerlatti a jeweler from Monaco, toyed with the possibility of a timepiece that would essentially make time disappear. With an all-black ceramic case as its foundation and then going beyond in making everything else black from the dial to the hands and markers, the aesthetic result was a watch that was altogether unsettling and dazzling. Its sharp material clarity demonstrated the philosophy of ‘visible invisibility’ and that black, in fact, wasn’t all that black at all.
Understandably, the radical idea to kill the essence of watch-wearing raised many uncertainties internally within Hublot. The story goes that the watchmaker who assembled the first prototype of the Big Bang All-Black had even apologized to Biver when he presented him the piece as though he had made a mistake. And to his critics, Biver had this to say, “No one will pay €10,000 for a watch just to read the time. We use our cellphones for that. Fortunately, a luxury watch offers me very different qualities. The watch I wear lets me demonstrate whether my personality tends towards elegance, sports or originality. That’s much more important. The watch communicates my personality.”
No doubt, the success of the Hublot Big Bang All-Black was due to the epiphany of its context. The watch entered the market in a time when the left field of watchmaking was underserved. At the same time, black cases were achieved by simply black-coating stainless steel but Biver instead, opted for ceramic which is virtually wear-resistant and moreover, black — through and through. Since then, Hublot has released swaggering reference after swaggering reference of all-black timepieces. Without further ado, here are our top five picks from the iconic line.