Hublot unveiled their next level of excess with the $5 million Big Bang watch earlier this year and have already found a happy home for it, as Beyonce’s gift to hubby Jay-Z for his 43rd birthday earlier this week. Being the most expensive watch produced, it does seem a bit much for anyone’s birthday, but with Beyonce’s $300 million net worth, she could just reach in her purse and slap the cash down on the counter. And with Jay-Z net worth estimated at $475 million, it’s going to take something really unique to surprise him. This gift is actually kinda tame compared to previous gifts between the power couple, including a Grand Veyron Sport and and Bombardier Challenger 850 private jet for Jay-Z and a private island in Florida for Beyonce.
Jay-Z is a well-known watch collector and is never spotted without a nice timepiece on his wrist and mentioned in his songs. Legendary watch brand Audemars Piguet has even made special edition Royal Oak watch in his honor to support charity. But he’s slowly shifted his allegiance from Audemars to competitor Hublot, being seen sporting their signature Big Bang watches. This was noticed by the chairman of Hublot, who invited Jay to tour their factory in Switzerland. Later came a big name drop for hublot in his and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne music video “Otis” last summer. On his multi-media magazine Life + Times, Jay-Z featured an exclusive video of Hublot and Chairman Jean-Claude Biver. So my conspiracy theory is Beyonce might have got a deal on the one-of-a-kind timepiece, like, lets say $1 million off or something? Hell people that rich enough to easily afford stuff like this get it for free anyways. Now onto how you charge $5 million for one watch.
For each of the last couple years, Hublot has been producing an increasingly more expensive diamond edition of their flagship Big Bang watch, with this years $5 Million Big Bang, which is the latest of version of the also obviously named One Million Dollar Big Bang, which used a rubber strap and a fully-coated diamond case and dial, that only had the tourbillon visible. This watch is impossibly gaudy and definitely not for everyone’s taste, but it makes the perfect gift for the watch collector that has everything (and makes other rapper’s jealous as a profession). One thing any fan of horology, jewelry or design can appreciate is the aesthetic and engineering feat this watch represents.
Most “high jewelry” watches have their design based around the diamonds themselves. Hublot did the reverse and sourced the diamonds to fit their now iconic Big Bang design. First they had to find the best diamonds of the same quality and clarity that would could be fitted and cut for maximum impact in the design. It took a range of experts in several fields to create the watch, including 7 months of worth from 12 diamond cutters and 5 jewelry setters. A master cutter with 40 years of experience was called upon to handle the larger GIA-certified stones, so they all shared the same signature cut. A total of 14 months of work was needed to complete the project. All 1282 diamonds used are graded A VVS in clarity and Top Wesslton in color (that’s the good stuff, apparently).
The 44mm Big Bang case and bracelet under it all is make from 18-karat white gold, with faceted diamond-polished, rhodium-plated skeleton hands. It’s powered by their HUB 1100 automatic movement that features 65 jewels and a 42 hour power supply. With this watch, Bugatti Veyrons, private jets and islands already off the list, expect me to be posting about their Christmas gifts later, I’m betting on either a mega-yacht or tickets for Virgin Galactic.
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Simon is a editor and consultant at Luxury Branded. He blogs about luxury brands, travel and lifestyle trends for our blog and our clients. He currently based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and is touring the Mayan Riviera. Follow him on Twitter: @S_Gerard and on Google+: +Simon Gerard