The curtain came down on the first LVMH Swiss Watch Manufactures Exhibition in Dubai this week, after three days of exciting new releases and show-stopping displays from some of the most luxury watch brands in the world. The inaugural watch fair was held at the luxurious Bulgari Hotel, providing the ultimate backdrop for the watch brands to showcase never-before-seen releases and limited editions to the world’s expectant press and retailers. Of course, we were also there getting up close to the latest launches in all their glory. In fact, you may have already spotted sneak peeks on our Watches of Switzerland Facebook and Instagram using the trending hashtag #LVMHWatchWeek and #WOSATLVMH. But if you missed anything, fear not, as here we’ve pulled together a more detailed guide to some of our favourite 2020 watches from Hublot and Zenith.
Making an entrance: Hublot Big Bang Integral
Hublot was straight off the starting blocks with the utilitarian Big Bang Integral, a new iteration of its signature model featuring an integrated bracelet for the first time in the collection’s 15-year history. The first link of the bracelet is actually fused to the case, which has been restyled so the bracelet can sit comfortably against the wearer’s skin. The case retains its iconic ‘sandwich’ construction but without the composite resin insert, while the entire watch is crafted from one material (aside from the black composite resin lugs on the bezel and the rubber overmoulding on the crown).
Bracelet aside, the Big Bang Integral echoes the Big Bang 42 in design, especially in its robust 42mm case size, its matte-black skeleton dial, and its satin-finished and polished bezel featuring the brand’s six distinctive H-shaped black-plated titanium screws. However, the original Big Bang model, launched to great acclaim in 2005, is reflected in the pushers — in fact, with their interplay of angles and chamfers and alternating polished and satin finishes, these pushers are the inspiration for the eye-catching look of the newly integrated bracelet.
The Big Bang Integral is powered by the second-generation Big Bang Unico proprietary manufacture chronograph movement, which packs a three-day power reserve. It comes in three different materials strongly associated with Hublot, including lightweight titanium (£17,300, ($20,900)) and hard-wearing, scratch-proof ‘all-black’ ceramic, which is limited to just 500 pieces (£17,000, $23,100)).
The watch will be available at Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths from May.
Shape-shifter: Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10
We were also hugely excited to see that Hublot has reworked its famous round Meca-10 calibre to fit the unusual ‘barrel’ design of its increasingly popular Spirit of Big Bang 45mm line. The result is a bold new timepiece called the Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10, available in three materials – titanium, black ceramic and the brand’s exclusive King Gold alloy.
Hublot is known for its pioneering ‘Art of Fusion’ concept (the merging of traditional and innovative materials), and puts great emphasis on engineering its manufacture movements to harmonise with the design of its cases — in fact, many of its mechanical movements are almost always visible through transparent dials. But the brand never settles for just making minor adjustments; rather, its watchmakers will painstakingly work to reconstruct a movement to fit the space available as harmoniously as possible.
The latest result of this is the new HUB1233 calibre, which retains the basic principles of the manual-winding skeleton Meca-10 factory movement, but differs in its tonneau shape and the display of its exceptional 10-day power reserve (stored in parallel twin barrels). At 12 o’clock, there are two racks sliding on a line between 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock with an innovative new rack and pinion, while the opening at 3 o’clock shows the number of days left on the power reserve. Hublot has also replaced the usual baseplate with bridges on either side of a ring, making for a highly original movement architecture that’s enhanced by alternating satin, polished and blackened finishes.
With the trademark six H-screws on the bezel, the striking Spirit of Big Bang Meca-10 has all the hallmarks of the Big Bang but in a barrel shape, and comes on a lined rubber strap for maximum comfort.
The grade 5 titanium version will be available at Watches of Switzerland (£19,100, ($23,100)) from June.
Ready for a spin: Zenith Defy 21 Land Rover Edition
Zenith has some remarkable new timepieces up its sleeve this year, including the Zenith Defy 21 Land Rover Edition. The latest product of Zenith’s partnership with famed British carmaker Land Rover, with whom the Swiss brand has been partnered since 2016, this cool new watch is designed to mark the much-anticipated release of the next-generation Land Rover Defender.
As its name suggests, this stealthy watch is a reinterpretation of the brand’s legendary Defy El Primero chronograph, which measures to 1/100th of a second. It’s cast in micro-blasted lightweight titanium, which absorbs light from all angles to enhance its faceted surfaces, and features a matching closed grey dial with popping orange accents (echoed on the crown) for instant legibility. This is also the first member of the Defy 21 family to feature a linear power reserve window, which sits just under the Zenith logo at 12 o’clock.
Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Chief Creative Officer, said: ‘For the next chapter in our partnership with Zenith we wanted a timepiece that captured the essence of the new Land Rover Defender: modern, durable and highly desirable. With subtle details that capture the character of the new Defender, this for me is the best timepiece we have created with Zenith’.
The Zenith Defy 21 Land Rover Edition is limited to 250 pieces worldwide and will be available at Watches of Switzerland from May (£11,400).
It’s electric: Zenith Defy 21 Carl Cox
There was also exciting news for music fans at Zenith, as it announced its newest Friend of the Brand: the world-famous British techno DJ and producer Carl Cox. Known for his innovative record label and legendary main-stage performances (he even has his own stage at the annual Burning Man event in Nevada), Cox embodies Zenith’s philosophy of following your passion.
The eponymous special edition watch, the Defy 21 Carl Cox, houses the brand’s futuristic 1/100th of a second chronograph and features a special carbon-fibre bezel and strap stitching that glow in the dark — perfect for those disco raves. Cox has also put his personal stamp on the model: the rotating disc at 9 o’clock is a running seconds indicator but has been designed to look like a vinyl record.
‘I am very lucky that I am able to share my love of music all over the world. All of us have the power within us to feel the beat and dance – my job is to bring that energy out and to unite everyone on the dancefloor. In a similar way, Zenith is about elevating the art of watchmaking and sharing its innovations with the world, so collaborating with them on a watch with a high-frequency beat felt very natural,’ he said.
The Zenith Defy 21 Carl Coxis limited to 200 pieces, and each box set comes with a pair of headphones. Look out for it at Watches of Switzerland this spring (£16,000).
Discover more luxury watch stories on Calibre Online here.
Keep your eyes peeled for more launches from the LVMH Watch Week.