April 30, 2017
We’ve seen some tremendous materials innovation from Hublot in recent years (Magic Gold, colored ceramic, etc.), and they show no signs of stopping this year with pushing the limits of engineering and chemistry. Following its full sapphire case Big Bang of 2016, Hublot rolled out two new colored sapphire watches in Baselworld last week.
While colored synthetic sapphires have been in existence since 1902 (invented by the French chemist Auguste Victor Louis Verneuil), melting sapphire is a complex and unpredictable process. Because its crystallization process is unstable, it is difficult to obtain similarly colored sapphires, even if they are produced simultaneously. Furthermore, bubbles and cracks can appear in the material, making the end result unsuitable for producing something as exacting as a watch case. But the main challenge is in the size.
As we understand it, no colored sapphires exceeding a certain size have been produced. However, Hublot has now gone beyond this threshold with the development of a sophisticated and costly process that enables the successful production of a large, transparent sapphire of perfectly uniform color. Melting iron (Fe) with aluminum oxide, Hublot achieves the result of a colored sapphire that retains all the original properties of the sapphire material which is ultra-scratch resistant, transparent and among the hardest in existence AND the first blue sapphire in the history of watchmaking.