Regrettably, I haven’t spent enough time with Hublot’s SAXEM and regular old sapphire cased watches to feel out much a difference in weight, finishing, or feel (though I welcome the opportunity, if anyone at Hublot is reading), so I can’t really comment on any tangible benefits of SAXEM over any other variety of synthetic glass. But as an aesthetic object, this thing is wonderful. The color will deservedly get most most of the attention, but the case itself is incredibly cool, constructed from multiple pieces of SAXEM and held together by screws, it looks and feels like a deconstructed version of a Hublot, and despite the large size, it wears quite easily thanks in large part to one of the supple rubber straps you’re likely to experience. Ultimately, it’s a perfect example of what Hublot is doing really well right now, which is leaning into their reputation for extravagant flash while executing on a very high level.
Speaking of extravagance, I have to mention a watch that legitimately took me completely by surprise. The Serpenti Tubogas Infinity by Bulgari represents the first time the brand has adorned the long, coiled Serpenti bracelet with diamonds, which run from the watch case (shaped like the head of a snake) through the bracelet in a wave-like pattern. While Bulgari gets frequent mention in enthusiast circles for their Octo Finissimo line, the Serpenti might be an even better representation of the brand for its expression of classical high jewelry making. The Serpenti has been around in one form or another since 1948, and when it comes to watches that are specifically and unapologetically marketed toward women, there are few that are more iconic.
In photos, it’s easy to appreciate the Serpenti Tubogas for its beauty and originality, but handling it drives home both the craftsmanship and sheer ingenuity of the watch. Each bracelet is constructed of gold bands wrapped around a central steel coil such that the interior “spring” remains invisible even when the watch is uncoiled to fit over the wearer’s arm. There’s a tactile pleasure in unwinding the spring and letting it snap back into coiled form that is completely unlike anything else you’re likely to experience in a watch made for men, and the diamond setting in the bracelet itself is very impressive.