Hublot Big Bang
10 Years Along, Is The Big Bang Now A Collector's Watch?
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Criteria #3: Scarcity
This collector’s criteria applies in nearly any category of things, and is so universal because it’s so human: The fewer there are of something, the more we want one. The classic example in the watch world is the “Rolex Paul Newman Daytona”: all that separates the Paul Newman Daytona from a dull, everyday Daytona is the detailing on the dial (you can read a full explanation over at Hodinkee), yet this distinction is enough to send watch nerds into a frenzy every time one goes to auction. When one went on the block in Geneva in the fall of 2013, it ended up selling for more than $1 million USD.
This is not the kind of scarcity that Hublot trades in. The current Big Bang collection includes more than 100 different models, and it's not an unusually large one for the company. Furthermore, within their archive of collections, there seems to be an unlimited number of limited editions. Hublot has produced limited editions to commemorate relationships with brands like Ferrari and Johnnie Walker, events like the soccer World Cup and the Cricket World Cup, organizations like Manchester United and the Dallas Cowboys, and individuals like Jay Z and Kobe Bryant. When I met Usain Bolt at a Hublot event and asked him what his favorite Big Bang model was, he looked at me quizzically as he showed me what was on his wrist: the Hublot King Power Usain Bolt edition. “It even has my silhouette on the back.” Of course.
Why does Hublot go to such effort and expense to produce so many limited editions? While the cynics say that they are attempting to manufacture scarcity, vintage watch dealer and AskMen contributor James Lamdin told me that it’s actually volume that they company has in mind; they are going after the obsessive, the "Hublotistas," who want to own every model the company produces. "There’s no doubt that there are Hublot enthusiasts. And there’s no doubt that there are Hublot enthusiasts who collect multiple models, just as there are people who collect 14 different versions of the Royal Oak Offshore." Think Pogs for grown men who are flush with cash.
So Hublot is not likely to produce the next generation’s Newman Daytona. Scarcity is one collector’s criteria that the Big Bang does not fulfill.
Criteria #4: A Watch Of Its Time
The most interesting thing about the Paul Newman Daytona is just how tenuous the connection between the man and the watch is. He never had a formal relationship with Rolex, and although he was an established Daytona owner, there’s very little documentation of him wearing one with that special detailing. There doesn’t really need to be. What’s so compelling about the Newman Daytona has little to do with him actually wearing one. It’s more the image of the Paul Newman persona, itself a mix of the man himself and the roles he played, wearing a masculine timepiece while engaged in masculine activities, that lends it its power and value. The Paul Newman Daytona is a snapshot of an era as we like to imagine it, replete with freedom, adventure, and a manly man doing manly things. It’s a watch of its time.
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