Why it’s fine the Big Bang e is a cool Hublot watch, but not a great smartwatch

At $5,200, the Hublot Big Bang e Premier League is one of the world’s most expensive smartwatches, yet it has a lower technical specification than the $300 Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3. If that’s as far as you read, that’s fine, but if you’re intrigued as to why anyone would pay any attention to such a thing at all, I’ll explain. It’s about leaving the tech behind, and understanding that the Big Bang e is a true Hublot watch, and when looked at like that, actually rather reasonably priced. I know how this sounds, but stick with me.

The build and the materials

The Big Bang e’s case is made from titanium, the bezel and buckle from ceramic, and the screen is covered in sapphire crystal. The case uses Hublot’s preferred “sandwich” design, and it’s all held together with tiny screws. It’s a very long way from the plastic or stainless steel cases we’re used to seeing, and understanding why this matters is the beginning of understanding why someone may want one.

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On the side is a large crown with a rubber coating and tip, making it easy to twist and navigate Google’s Wear OS menus. The strap is made from rubber and fabric, and is secured using a Velcro fastening, looped through the ceramic buckle emblazoned with Hublot’s name. The strap has a quick-release mechanism, the same as it uses on other Big Bang watch models, so if the purple isn’t for you, it can be changed to a different version from Hublot.

Turn the smartwatch over and the titanium case back features the Premier League logo — this is a celebratory limited edition made to attract fans of the U.K.’s football Premier League — in the center and some engraved text around the edge. This is where you learn it’s just one of 200 smartwatches being made, making it an exceptionally limited run, at least in the world of technology. In the world of very high-end luxury Swiss watches, 200 can sometimes be considered quite sizable.

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Back around the front Hublot, has made excellent use of the ceramic bezel by placing the numbers on it, which hides any unpleasant black bezel on the 1.2-inch AMOLED screen, effectively making it look larger than it actually is. The whole face looks much more watch-like as a result. The 390 x 390 pixel resolution is beautifully sharp. The 42mm case is modestly sized, and although it has a complex shape, it doesn’t overpower your wrist.

Putting it on

The Hublot Big Bang e weights only 75 grams, half that of the connected MTG-B2000 G-Shock, and on my wrist, it’s just about the right size. The strap has rubber on the underneath, to make it less sweaty and uncomfortable, and fabric on the top. The purple represents the Premier League’s signature color. The micro-blasted black ceramic buckle feels very substantial, and I love the tiny Hublot screws securing it to the strap, but the Velcro closure is less successful.

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I don’t mind the use of Velcro, but the strap doesn’t provide a big enough range of size, and I couldn’t get it quite tight enough on my 6.5-inch wrist. Because I had it at its tightest, the end of the strap wasn’t secured on the Velcro and flapped around a little, and over time I’m concerned it would fray or bend, ruining the look on your wrist. However, the slightly loose fit, added to the low weight, helped it disappear on my wrist.

You can twist the crown to navigate through the Wear OS menus, and the motion is quite heavily dampened so it doesn’t happen by accident. The button is set into the crown rather than being part of it, so it’s quite small and needs a hefty push to activate.

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Run your fingers, and your eyes, over the Big Bang e and there’s lots to discover. The bezel has a chamfered edge, the titanium case is a wonderful mix of curves and straight lines, so it catches the light in different ways, and the flat sapphire crystal appears to be placed right up against the screen for a clean look tha, again, is more watch than smartwatch. It should go without saying considering the price and the company we’re talking about here, but everything about the Big Bang e says it has been built by people who understand what looks good on your wrist, and how luxury tech should feel.

Just forget the tech

No one is going to buy the Hublot Big Bang e for the technology. It doesn’t have a heart rate sensor, and it uses the old Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. The 1GB of RAM keeps Wear OS from feeling slow, and while the battery life can be stretched to two days if you turn it off overnight, the smartwatch does not have fast charging, and it takes more than two hours to get back to 100%. Without a heart rate sensor, the Big Bang e isn’t ideal for workout tracking, but the style and price of the smartwatch may put many off from wearing it during a sweaty gym session anyway.

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The Premier League partnership’s influence is minimal too. A special app has to be installed before it even shows up. When you do, its custom watch face shows scores and other activities during live football games, and you also get notifications about kickoff times and other information about matches. If you don’t care about football, it’s easily ignored. The purple watch face that comes with the app looks great, though.

While there’s nothing cutting edge about the technology inside the Hublot Big Bang e, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking functionality. Aside from lacking a heart rate sensor, it does everything any other Snapdragon Wear 3100-powered Wear OS smartwatch can do, ranging from moderately reliable notifications, Google Pay, and apps to navigation and basic fitness tracking. I do understand this does not do the Big Bang e many favors when you factor in the price you pay, so let’s talk about why this is not the way to think about this smartwatch.

Look beyond the price

Yes, the price. You can buy 17 technically superior TicWatch Pro 3 smartwatches for the same price as the Big Bang e, and still have some change left over. However, you can’t buy any other Hublot Big Bang watch for as little as $5,200. You’ll need twice that amount at the minimum, or four times that if you want to have some choice. It’s still more than the “affordable” Hublot Classic Fusion, one of the other traditional Hublot watches it closely resembles. Looked at this way, the Big Bang e Premier League is the cheapest way to get a Hublot watch on your wrist.

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Does this matter? Yes, and it’s part of why I’ve really enjoyed wearing the Big Bang e. Many of the brand’s latest Big Bang models share a very similar case design to the smartwatch, to the point that from a distance, my Big Bang e could be a Meca-10 Titanium. The Big Bang e is built using the same materials, and with the same care and attention, it just doesn’t have the Meca-10’s Manufacture HUB1201 movement inside (and therefore, less of the future resale value), but that’s OK because it’s a third of the cost.

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Anyone bemoaning the Big Bang e’s high price/moderate tech split is looking at it all wrong. The split between price and tech is indeed heavily skewed in the dollar’s direction, but it’s the opposite when you compare price to “Hublot-ness.” If you really want a Hublot watch, but would prefer not to sell the car to get one, the Big Bang e is well worth trying on. And yes, a lot of this is me trying to justify one to myself, but that’s what we do with any aspirational product, whether it’s a smartwatch or a mechanical watch.

The Big Bang e Premier League can be purchased from Hublot online for $5,200, or 4,300 British pounds, but do note there are limited numbers available. Other Big Bang e smartwatch models are also available at higher prices, or you can take a look at our smartwatch recommendations here, if your budget is more modest.

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