"Oh, hello carbon fiber. Yeah, I haven't seen you in a while. I know you used to hang out here a lot, but over the last few years ceramic has been stealing a lot of the attention. We didn't always get along when you were popular, but you did have your moments." This carbon fiber-based Hublot watch almost feels like a blast from the rather recent past. With an almost all-carbon fiber case and bezel, there is a reason this watch is named the Hublot UNICO All Carbon.
Carbon fiber was really starting to get overdone a few years ago when it started showing up all over the place. The worst was the legions of cheap watches with fake carbon fiber dials - yuck! The watch industry really put carbon fiber on the backburner as a material lately. Like I said, materials such as ceramic and titanium started to get so much more popular, and were so versatile, that carbon fiber just didn't get as much attention from designers.
Then all of a sudden I see this UNICO All Carbon watch from Hublot and suddenly remember why carbon fiber was interesting in the first place. I also probably like it so much because there is no carbon fiber in the dial. Just lots of Hublot style skeletonization with a view to the movement. The name UNICO is part of the watch and placed on the movement. UNICO is a title given to some of Hublot's in-house made movements. Based on a modified ETA Valjoux 7750 architecture, the UNICO is a totally in-house manufactured automatic chronograph movement. One of the improvements over the 7750 architecture in this caliber HUB1240 movement is the use of a column wheel in the chronograph. You can see the column-wheel right in the dial near 6 o'clock. The chronograph also has a flyback feature.
I don't know what the status is right now, but early UNICO movements I saw even used carbon fiber plates. I don't think that is the case with this model though. While the dial of the watch is skeletonized, it is not done in a way that you can't read the watch. Hublot was especially careful with this model to promote legibility as well as visual interest. On the rear of the watch you can see the movement through the sapphire crystal caseback window.
To create the look of the dial, Hublot used a tinted sapphire crystal for much of the dial. On it are applied ruthenium-coated hour markers with bright white lume and matching hands. The chronograph here has only one subdial and measures 60 minutes. The movement also has the time and date of course. Over the dial is another sapphire crystal that is AR coated.
For the UNICO All Carbon, Hublot uses a King Power chronograph case. The 48mm wide case is actually carbon fiber, as is the bezel. There are PVD black titanium screws used for the case and bezel. A ring of rubber lines the side of the bezel. The black carbon fiber case looks cool, and the visual texture of carbon fiber is really at its best here with the high-quality material. The case is very light and strong despite the size.
Matched to the case is the typical cool looking rubber strap you see on many King Power Hublot watches. The overall look and feel on this UNICO All Carbon is impressive. Hublot mixed a focus on the material with an in-house made movement for a truly unique timepiece. The UNICO All Carbon (ref. 701.QX.0140.RX) isn't a limited edition model, but will probably be produced in limited quantities for a couple of years.