Every so often, a watch comes along that stops you in your tracks and takes you completely by surprise. Whether it’s an unexpected complication, a watch you’ve hoped would be made for years and are shocked to finally see it in front of you, or an absolutely over the top novelty that reshapes how you think about an entire brand, we love being surprised. The truth is, so many watches, even watches we deeply admire, tread ground that’s familiar. So it makes sense that we’d want to celebrate the watches that upended our expectations and really started a conversation. Today, the Worn & Wound team selects the watches that surprised us the most in 2022.
The watch that surprised me most in 2022 comes to us courtesy of a brand that I’ve come to believe is too often maligned. The Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Purple Sapphire is precisely what it says on the tin: a big (a really big) watch made from synthetic purple sapphire with a tourbillon. Did I mention that it’s purple? And (kinda) made of glass?
Hublot has a bad rap among enthusiasts for, I guess, making overpriced, loud watches that are worn by people primarily outside the hobby. And some continue to criticize the brand for latching onto trends, and being a vehicle mostly for crass people to display that they have more wealth than taste. To those people, I say, respectfully: please put down your phone, and go outside and breathe fresh air. Every expensive watch is purchased by someone that you would no doubt say is tasteless and classless if you looked beyond the watch on their wrist, whether it’s a Rolex, a Richard Mille, or anything in between. Such are the dangers of making judgments of character based on watch buying habits. All that really matters is how you feel about the watch.
Of course, Hublot’s watches are not going to be to everyone’s aesthetic taste. They are, how can I put this – a little bombastic. If a discreet and subdued sports watch is the look you’re going for, Hublot is not going to be your brand. But for whatever reason, at this particular moment, I find myself drawn to exactly the opposite of that, and this ridiculous purple sapphire watch helped to unlock the idea that this kind of ostentatious, colorful watchmaking is one of the most exciting things happening in our hobby right now.