For 2023, Swiss Hublot will release a new limited-edition version of the 44mm-wide Big Bang UNICO x SORAI, the third piece in an ongoing collaboration between Hublot and the company of one of its brand ambassadors, former cricket player Kevin Pietersen. Hublot is a brand that heavily relies on strong relationships with brand ambassadors. This isn’t the first time Hublot has produced watches intended to support the projects and passions of its inner circle of loyal brand friends. It helps that a lot of the watches are nice looking, including this reference 421.FX.8099.NR.SOA23, which has a gray ceramic case, a dial with colors inspired by South African sunsets, and a hip-looking orange and purple camouflage-style strap.
SORAI stands for “Save our Rhinos Africa India,” and, as the name implies, the goal of the organization is to support efforts to protect rhinoceroses, a heavily endangered species. Interestingly, SORAI is not a charity but rather more like a fundraising organization. For example, SORAI seems to be designed to create objects like this limited-edition Hublot watch and other items to collect money for the “save the rhinos” cause. Right now, according to the SORAI website, much of the money seems to go to CARE FOR WILD, a large animal sanctuary dedicated to housing rhinoceros animals. SORAI, as a brand, has a nice polish to it, along with a handsome geometric rhino logo that is placed on the watch dial in the subsidiary seconds dial located at 9 o’clock.
The 44mm wide Big Bang UNICO case is done in matte-gray ceramic, no doubt inspired by the skin tone of rhinos (though in an animal-safe way, of course). The case is 14.5mm-thick and water resistant to 100 meters with a sapphire crystal over the dial. The semi-skeletonized dial opts to use the sunset color gradient for the hour markers only, which is a subtle yet playful way of incorporating the attractive color palette.
Inside the Big Bang UNICO is Hublot’s in-house made automatic caliber MHUB12800 UNICO 2 movement. This appears to be an upgrade from a previous generation UNICO automatic chronograph, but I will have to investigate for more details later. The 12-hour column-wheel control now has a flyback function that I don’t seem to recall as always being part of the original UNICO package. The movement includes a 30-minute chronograph, the time, and a date complication. It operates at 4Hz with 72 hours of power reserve and is made up of an impressive 354 parts.
Hublot includes two straps with the 2023 Hublot Big Bang UNICO SORAI — a fabric gray strap and the rubber strap with the orange and purple camouflage decoration. The straps are easily removed with Hublot’s effective “One-Click” removal system and the straps with fold-over deployant clasp made of black ceramic and titanium. The 2023 Hublot Big Bang UNICO SORAI is a limited edition of 100 pieces .