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Hublot continues its experimentation with SAXEM, a material used in satellites and lasers, with the release of the new Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem.

It seems that every day watch manufacturers are coming up with a new material with which to craft their timepieces. Hublot, always one to innovate on the innovated, first used SAXEM in its 2019 Big Bang MP-11 and now turns to the advanced material to create its newest eye-catching model.

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But what is SAXEM? The acronym stands for “Sapphire Aluminium oXide and rare Earth Mineral”. Effectively, it’s an alloy of aluminium oxide, the basic component of sapphire, with rare earth elements like thulium and holmium as well as chromium thrown in for good measure. The resulting material, which is used in satellites and some lasers, is ultra-resistant and endowed with a brilliance that is greater than that of sapphire. The absence of tension within the material also ensures greater stability. 

Reproducing a translucent case in a bright, fluorescent shade of neon yellow may seem like a simple idea. But, in fact, it has been incredibly complex to achieve. The yellow is a powerful, bright neon colour which almost seems to glow from the inside, like a fluorescent material. To meet this highly technical challenge, Hublot had to search for a solution in space technology, where it discovered SAXEM, which was originally developed for use in satellite technology.  

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In addition to capturing that remarkable hue, the watchmaker also had to meet the strict requirements of the nyon manufacture for its sapphire watches: complete transparency and incredible resistance. After three years of research and development, the challenge was met and overcome with the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon SAXEM. 

Hublot continues its experimentation with SAXEM, a material used in satellites and lasers, with the release of the new Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem.

The fully polished neon yellow SAXEM offers a bold contrast with the bezel’s six H-shaped screws and with the crown, all in polished and micro-blasted titanium. Within beats the HUB6035 self-winding Manufacture calibre. In choosing this movement, Hublot has chosen the most difficult technical route, self-winding using a micro-rotor, the only way to avoid concealing the back of the movement as a conventional rotor would have done. On top of that, the Manufacture has chosen to skeletonise the entire calibre. Entirely visible and fully laid bare, even the movement’s bridges are made from sapphire so that only the beating heart and soul of the watch remain.

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This heart is the tourbillon, which appears to be suspended in mid-air. This architecture serves to free the piece from any visual clutter. Positioned at 6 o’clock, it offers the technical and hypnotic spectacle of a high-precision Haute Horlogerie piece, designed as a 21st-century interpretation: modern, disruptive, dazzling. 

Finally, to make it suitable for daily use, the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon SAXEM offers a guaranteed 72-hour power reserve – making the piece, limited to 50 pieces, perfectly weekend-proof. 

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About Author

Nick Walton is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist and Group Managing Editor for Artemis Communications, producers of Alpha Men Asia, Ultimate Encounters, The Art of Business Travel, IKHLAS, Heavens Voyage, and many other titles.

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