13 Jan 2024
Drawing inspiration from the ancient Chinese art of paper cutting, the Spirit of Big Bang layers its hands, wheels and H-shaped screws to form a 3D silhouette of an eastern dragon. Hublot showcases a rubber strap with a marquetry design for the very first time. Created in collaboration with the Chinese artist Chen Fen Wan, this limited edition of 88 pieces is the perfect blend of tradition and modernity, combining metaphors and symbols in the spirit of Hublot: first, unique, different!
In the Chinese calendar, 2024 marks the return of the Dragon, which comes around every 12 years. This celestial creature, revered in Chinese culture, is associated with prosperity. A symbol of luck, strength and wisdom, the dragon is also an imperial icon that embodies life and immortality. Derived from the Latin word ‘draco’ and the Greek word ‘drakon’, it signifies a ‘piercing gaze’, an invitation to see more clearly, both through and beyond appearances. Loong is a symbol, an icon, and the universal auspicious meaning is the foundation of Loong culture.
Equivalent to the year 4722 in the Chinese calendar, 2024 marks the year of the Wood Dragon. Through artist Chen Fen Wan’s paper-cutting expertise, Hublot too pays homage to wood through the natural fibres that form the soul and spirit of paper.
So, can you recognise what’s hidden inside this dragon?
This piece is a metaphor for the ‘Art of Fusion’ and the art of continually reimagining materials and their areas of expression. A symbol of Hublot’s philosophy, the Manufacture tells the story of another interpretation of time through its features. The distinctive components of its pieces are employed in multi-dimensional layers to form the dragon silhouette created in paper cut-outs by the Chinese artist Chen Fen Wan. The dragon’s head is formed from a series of five layers that alternate between hands, wheels and H-shaped screws, with a body and scales that extend onto the strap. The colours, meanwhile, reflect those of the paper cut-out sculpture created by Chen Fen Wan.
Celebrating the Year of the Dragon, this watch is also a metaphor for the ‘Art of Fusion’ embodied by the eastern dragon. Also known as the loong, it takes on the features of nine different animals—the eyes of a prawn, the horns of a deer, the mouth of a bull, the nose of a dog, the whiskers of a catfish, the mane of a lion, the long tail of a snake, the scales of a fish and the claws of an eagle. A dragon whose metamorphosis has taken place over several thousands of years. Under Chen Fen Wan’s touch, this sacred animal, talisman and totem celebrates one of the greatest cultural legacies of Chinese art: the art of paper cutting. This is a skill that originated in China around 2,000 years ago, at the same time as paper itself was invented. Chinese paper cutting has been on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2009 and is used to express the moral principles, philosophies and aesthetic ideals of its creators. It is used in festivities to honour events such as weddings and births, and paper-cut decorations symbolising happiness and good luck are intrinsic to Chinese New Year celebrations.
Hublot has invited Chinese artist Chen Fenwan to combine traditional Chinese art “sculpture in the round” with contemporary art, creating a majestic and dynamic loong, which conveys an auspicious atmosphere as it rises to the heavens. This artwork symbolizes the ever-renewing totem of life. Expressing Hublot’s philosophy ‘Be First, Unique and Different.
In a titanium case, Hublot transposes the layered effects of paper cutting into a 5-level/multi-level dial construction overlaying a base panel with several levels of appliqués. The dragon incorporates the aesthetic codes of Hublot components, including its hands, wheels and H-shaped screws. The dragon’s silhouette extends onto the rubber strap, which features a rubber marquetry motif—a first for Hublot. Each of the dragon’s scales is coloured and nano-vulcanised to be integrated into the strap. The Spirit of Big Bang Loong, offered in a limited edition of 88 pieces, comes with a second, titanium-grey, Velcro fabric strap. What’s more, this Chinese New Year celebration features an HUB1710 automatic movement and power reserve of 50 hours.
In a fusion of tradition, celebration, know-how and fresh interpretation, Hublot demonstrates how materials can be reinvented and redefined: while their properties remain unchanged, their uses, applications and evolution are boundless.