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Hublot: It’s a Kind of Magic
Hublot: It’s a Kind of Magic
Words Thomas Billinghurst
April 4. 2018

Hublot’s Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold timepiece is special in more ways than one.

Words Thomas Billinghurst
April 4, 2018

It is the hardest 18-carat gold in the world, and the only type that is impervious to scratches. Aptly called Magic Gold, it delivers the magic by using a complex manufacturing process that fuses boron carbide and 24k gold. While standard 18k gold has a resistance of 400 Vickers and hardened steel 600 Vickers, Magic Gold reportedly approaches 1,000 Vickers — only diamond can scratch it, making the alloy ideal for watches that can be worn for any sport or adventure, without the wearer worrying about scuffs and dents. Moreover, it doesn’t oxidise and is lighter than standard gold.

Magic Gold was developed by Hublot and EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), and is produced exclusively at a high-tech foundry installed in the Hublot Manufacture in Nyon. The material made its debut in 2012’s Big Bang Ferrari. That watch, based on the iconic Big Bang design, came five months after the Swiss maison became the exclusive watchmaking partner of the Italian automobile manufacturer. Since then, the synergy has resulted in more than 10 watches, and is considered among the most successful partnerships between watchmakers and carmakers. 

Hublot: It’s a Kind of Magic

And now, seven years into the Hublot-Ferrari collaboration, we get the Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold, limited to 250 pieces. The watch was on display at SIHH 2018, and Hublot describes it as a new design of the Big Bang Unico “restyled as per Ferrari’s design language”. The watchmaker adds that Magic Gold is a fitting metaphor for the fusion of two brands that “never cease to push the boundaries of resistance, creativity and innovation, accumulating superlatives while maintaining their own identity”.

The Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold sports a tachymeter-style minute counter and a date aperture in gear selector mode, a prancing horse at 6 o’clock and a second counter at 9 o’clock that resembles an air extractor. The strap has black Alcantara sewn onto black rubber and is reminiscent of the red topstitching of the Ferrari upholstery. The 45mm case and bezel are, of course, made from Magic Gold. 

Hublot: It’s a Kind of Magic
Ref.: 402.MX.0138. WR — Edition, limited to 250 pieces / Diameter: 45mm / Case: 18k polished Magic Gold / Bezel: 18k polished Magic Gold with 6 H-shaped black-plated titanium screws / Water Resistance: 100m / Dial: Sapphire glass Movement: HUB1241 flyback

Hublot’s Unico movement, a self-winding flyback chronograph that beats at 4 Hz and delivers a power reserve of 72 hours, powers the watch. Hublot insists Unico is unique in the watchmaking industry, featuring two push buttons, date display, a dual clutch mechanism and a column wheel that can be seen from the dial side. 

The hour hand is driven directly by the barrel and mechanisms of the chronograph without a spring — increasing reliability and durability. Furthermore, the pallet fork and the escape wheel are made from silicon — making them lighter while also improving performance. 

Unico, which took four years to develop at Hublot’s own manufacture, is made from 330 individually hand-assembled components. The construction also allows for other modules and complications to be easily added.

Finally, if you’ve been wondering if an alloy of gold and boron is still worthy of being labelled “gold”, well, Hublot points out that Magic Gold is a noble material certified as 18k by the Central Office for Precious Metals Control. And it took almost three years of research and collaboration to create this “completely new type of gold”. Hublot has also patented the tech and has no immediate plans to license it out or to make Magic Gold cases for other brands. 

Thomas Billinghurst
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