Hublot celebrates its ongoing partnership with the FIFA World Cup this year with the unveiling of the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Marking the brand’s first foray into the world of smart watches, Hublot puts all the action of soccer’s biggest tournament right on your wrist.
The Big Bang’s architecture provides a sturdy structure to house the digital intelligence powering the new wristwatch, and its modular design plays right into the theme – as well as the stage – for its debut. As the name suggests, the smart watch has been designed firstly with the FIFA World Cup referees in mind, but it doesn’t stop there. The Big Bang Referee has been designed to take Hublot well and truly into the smart watch arena.
Hublot was the first luxury watch manufacturer to embrace the world of soccer, sponsoring the Swiss national team in 2006 and then going on to keep time for the UEFA Euro, Champions League, Europa League, FIFA Confederations Cups, World Cup South Africa, and World Cup Brazil. Now, again in 2018, Hublot carries the responsibility of “FIFA Official Timekeeper” and “FIFA Official Watch”, for the World Cup that kicked off in Russia on the 14th of June.
Hublot’s involvement in soccer was the brainchild of CEO (and Big Bang creator) Jean-Claude Biver, who saw an opportunity to “go where the potential customers are”. The brand known for ‘fusion’ timepieces has a growing community of fans all over the world and so the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia makes its debut not as just another smart watch but as the first connected football watch.
The premise to develop a smart watch actually came from Hublot’s association with soccer – FIFA requested a wristwatch capable of connecting referees (directly) to goal-line technology – an electronic video assistance system which follows the path of the ball and determines for certain whether it crosses a goal-line entirely or not. The wristwatches will also assist referees to manage play periods, changes and extra time (testing was carried out discreetly during last year’s Confederations Cup and FIFA Club World Cup).
At Baselworld, the Big Bang Referees went into countdown mode to the kick-off of the World Cup – where they will provide a unique experience on the wrist by communicating on-the-pitch action in real time. But that’s just the beginning for the new connected Hublot. Post-tournament, the Big Bang Referee will continue to benefit from the Android living ecosystem – meaning thousands of downloadable applications are available in addition to its competition functions. The wristwatch is compatible with all phones using Android 4.4 and above or iOS 9 and above.
Having borne the first Hublot manufacture movement, the Big Bang was the logical choice to launch Hublot into the digital world. In terms of the outer case and switchable straps (which will interchange with the standard Big Bang Unico), much of the iconic DNA is preserved all be it in a larger wristwatch – the case, cut from polished and satin-finished titanium, measures 49mm. The bezel (also titanium) is held in place with the six signature H-shaped screws, and the crown of course sits within a Kevlar insert.
However, the 35.4mm porthole is occupied by a 400 x 400 pixels/ 287ppi AMOLED touchscreen, supported by a group of sensors – accelerometer, gyroscope, tilt detector, microphone, vibration, haptic motor, and GPS. The ‘movement’ powered by INTEL® employs Wear OS by Google technology developed by LVMH (Hublot’s parent company). The battery will give you around a day’s worth of power, with charging a simple process of placing the wristwatch on a contact charger (for approximately two hours). Water resistance is to 5 ATM (5 bar/ 50m/ 165ft). If that all sounds impressive – wait for the icing on the cake.
The Big Bang Referee has been designed to be much more than a smart referee’s aid – it’s meant to enhance your whole match experience. A specially developed app is loaded with all 32 competing teams – you can select any you’re interested in following. It will alert you to matches 15 minutes before kick-off, player changes, yellow and red cards, and goals – vibrating and displaying GOAL instantly every time one is scored. During matches, the dial shows statistics including score, names of goal-scorers, player substitutions, number of cards, and match time.
The analogue mode dial bears a great likeness to the automatic Big Bangs but for the FIFA World Cup you can choose from the series of “fan” dials in the colours of each participating nation. Two straps will be provided with the wristwatch – a black lined natural rubber strap and a sponge cuff strap (referee-style) sporting the 2018 FIFA World Cup emblem. Additional straps in national colours with flags will also be available – easy to change over with Hublot’s “One Click” strap system. In short – everything has been thought of to make the perfect fan’s kit.
The debut of Hublot’s Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is very much intertwined with the international football tournament it will officially keep time for, and Hublot has been quite creative in making the most of the opportunity – the whole concept is a novel way to showcase the connected watch’s full potential.
After the World Cup, Hublot is planning to release a new selection of dials for the wristwatch and continue going forward with smart watches. But only 2018 pieces will be sold to the public of the initial edition – so if you can get your hands on one you’ll be owning not just a piece of football memorabilia but of watchmaking history. The Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia will be priced at $6,700. Be quick though, as global allocations are limited – contact us at Watches of Switzerland for more information regarding possibilities for purchase.