The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White looks at first glance very similar to something produced by Richard Mille, with the skeletonized dial and tonneau-shaped case. This really is a chronograph watch, although such isn’t immediately apparent due to the discreet black pushers and also a great deal of detail on the dial that initially can distract the eye from the chronograph’s registers. Featured at 3 o’clock is your 30-minute counter, followed with a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, also operating minutes at 9 o’clock, which can be signed with Hush’s name. An exposed date ring runs the periphery of the dial, framed with a perforated white edge at 4:30. The fundamental second hand features a Hublot-logo counterweight and black-plated tip with a slender strip of white luminescent material, which also features on the chronograph enroll hands and hour markers.The instance of the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang West Coast Ceramic Black and White is made of micro-blasted black ceramic, which should offer the watch with good scratch resistance. Maintaining the monochromatic theme is a contrasting white porcelain bezel, affixed to the situation using six titanium screws using a polished black PVD coating. The case measures 42mm in diameter and is 14.10mm thick, and though Hublot haven’t specified the situation length, I anticipate this watch will wear quite big. The case can also be water-resistant to 10 ATM (roughly 100m) which combined with the tough ceramic should make this a capable sports opinion. Notice, however, that although ceramic is extremely hard, it is also brittle, and it can be a concern for a watch which stands 14.10mm tall and can thus be more prone to knocking against things.
Consensus amongst many industry insiders at Baselworld 2017 was that the stable of watch and jewellery names owned by LVMH – Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith – are doing well relative to their peers. That appears to have been borne out by the luxury group’s first quarter results for 2017, with Bulgari and TAG Heuer singled out for “market share gains”.
Quarterly revenue at the luxury powerhouse that owns Louis Vuitton (its Parisian art museum designed by Frank Gehry is pictured above) rose 13% at constant exchange rates, while its watch and jewellery division saw an 11% rise in sales. In more ordinary times that might seem a meagre figure, but times are tough for the luxury watch business.
In comparison, LVMH rival Richemont’s most recent quarter (until December 2016) was less impressive, perhaps explaining the management overhaul earlier this year. The Swiss group that owns watchmakers like IWC and Panerai saw group sales rise only 6%, helped by its jewellery business, with the watchmaking division seeing a dip of 2%.
That being said, the sales growth at LVMH comes off from a low base. Last year the group recorded revenue growth of just 6%, with the figure for the watch and jewellery division being 5%. It prudently notes in the announcement: “The trend currently observed cannot reasonably be extrapolated for the full year.”