For a brand known for over-the-top designs and bold colours, Hublot’s MP-09 collection still manages to stand out among its brightly-hued siblings. Part of this is its sheer size: a hair under 50mm across the case, and wearing every bit as large thanks to the protruding tourbillon module at six o’clock. In addition to its beefy dimensions, the MP-09 has also shown itself to be a playground for Hublot’s designers to experiment with new materials and colours.
While the brand’s gem-set Big Bang models give the Hublot treatment to the rainbow trend (to the tune of almost 1,000 gemstones in the case of the Big Bang Integrated King Gold Rainbow,) the Hublot MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis Rainbow 3D Carbon unveiled in December takes a different approach altogether. By using carbon and composites instead of gemstones, the watch offers an alternative that’s no less luxurious than its bejewelled counterpart. Now, with new limited editions available in white, orange, and violet 3D carbon, fans of the MP-09 can have one in their choice of three new solid colours as well.
Like the recent Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon SAXEM — which has a case made from transparent sapphire crystal the colour of a tennis ball — the MP-09 Tourbillon is the product of extensive research and development at Hublot’s Swiss manufacture. The process of building the MP-09’s case, made of braided-together strips of carbon, is simple in theory but requires extremely precise execution. After these wafer-thin carbon bars are laid flat a few millimetres apart, bars of coloured composite are placed vertically into the gaps so that they protrude slightly. This height difference is then filled with a third carbon mesh that raises all components to the same level. Finally, each insert is polished and adjusted to the nearest micron, ensuring that the surface of the watch remains completely smooth when the process is complete.
It may not get quite the same billing as the watch’s remarkable exterior, but the MP-09’s HUB9009.H1.RA.B movement is no less impressive. Manual-wound with a 5-day power reserve, it features a bi-axial tourbillon making one complete rotation per minute on the first axis, and a second rotation every 30 seconds on the second axis. The tourbillon’s hypnotic double rotation – which, like the carbon’s rainbow gradient – needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated, is accentuated by the case design’s aforementioned protrusion at six o’clock. Additionally, the movement also features a unique retrograde date display across a pair of arcs located just south of the offset dial.
Like previous editions in green, yellow, black, blue, and rainbow iterations, the latest additions to the MP-09 family in white, orange and purple, are limited to 8 timepieces per colour and retail for $250,000. While most watches in the six-figure range traditionally rely on precious metals, diamonds, or highly complicated movements (if not all three) Hublot has flipped the script in typical fashion. Carbon, it turns out, can be just as precious as gold and gemstones.