Yttrium aluminum garnet has solely a barely decrease hardness – half a degree on the Mohs scale – than sapphire, the second hardest pure materials after diamond, and this is a vital specification for the fabric from which the watch case is made.
In watchmaking, when it isn’t a query of setting a case with valuable stones, solely artificial sapphire is used – for making watch crystals, jewels for the motion, very not often for mainplate and bridges, and much more not often for making instances.
Not like sapphire, yttrium aluminum garnet is a purely artificial materials with no pure equal and, from a mineralogical viewpoint, has little to do with the group of pure minerals known as garnets. By way of hardness, yttrium aluminum garnet is barely inferior to sapphire, however it has the next refractive index that makes polished elements shine higher than sapphire – Hublot factors this out unequivocally when describing watches product of Saxem, for instance the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Yellow Neon Saxem.
Let’s check out this watch. It prices 220,000 euros, which is about twice as a lot as a “regular” tourbillon of this model. For instance, the same mannequin from Hublot, the Large Bang Tourbillon Automated Carbon product of carbon, prices 105,000 euros. This highlights the worth of ‘Saxem’.
Nonetheless, the premium for a clear sapphire case within the Hublot assortment is about the identical ratio, apart from a uncommon mannequin with a sapphire bracelet, which additionally clearly participates on the earth championship for the title of the most costly watch bracelet.
Nonetheless, it makes quite a lot of sense for Hublot to supply Saxem watches, which appear like a promising various to sapphire-cased watches. Despite the fact that the worth is about the identical because the sapphire fashions, I’m positive that the massive premium will greater than cowl the price of utilizing YAG. Oh sorry, Saxem.
I want to level out that artificial sapphire can be discovered within the Large Bang Tourbillon Saxem. It’s used for the clear mainplate and bridges, the dial, the watch crystal, caseback window, and naturally for the jewels of the caliber.
A number of phrases in regards to the tourbillon motion, which deserves respect. The in-house automated caliber HUB6035 contains a cantilever tourbillon that’s sometimes called “flying”, though that’s nothing greater than a poetic metaphor. The caliber makes use of an uncommon scheme developed by Girard-Perregaux in 1999 for its automated caliber GP9600 with three gold bridges.
What makes this Hublot particular is that the micro-rotor of the automated winding mechanism is positioned on high of the winding barrel – you may see it swinging and winding the watch. On the similar time, it makes the watch look much more dynamic and enticing when considered from the dial facet, including to the grandeur of the tourbillon. And this association saves area.
However extra importantly, with this format Girard-Perregaux designers saved the symmetrical construction of the motion. Symmetry is a prerequisite for the design of a caliber with three gold bridges, which was initially wound by hand.
In growing the HUB6035 caliber, Hublot watchmakers used the identical development with a micro-rotor above the winding barrel, nevertheless, they modified the structure to eradicate a minor downside of the reversed hand becoming.
That is an simply recognizable characteristic of Girard-Perregaux calibers with three gold bridges, the place the hour hand is positioned on high of the minute hand reasonably than on the underside.
On Hublot’s Large Bang Tourbillon Automated watches, together with Saxem, we discover the normal association with the minute hand above the hour hand.
By the way, Girard-Perregaux has additionally come on the scene with sapphire and yttrium-aluminum-garnet watches. The latter appears to be like like a retaliatory strike. That is probably not the case, however it makes the state of affairs much more intriguing.
On January 17, 2023, only a week after Hublot launched the Large Bang Tourbillon Automated Yellow Neon Saxem, Girard-Perregaux launched the Laureato Absolute Light & Fire with a burgundy case paying homage to the colour of a wonderful aged wine. The case is product of the identical yttrium aluminum garnet. By the best way, Girard-Perregaux doesn’t disguise the true identify of the fabric behind an invented advertising moniker.
When this textual content was virtually completed, I obtained sudden assist from Ian Skellern, to whom I’d like to precise my thanks. Curious to be taught extra about artificial crystals, he discovered one other doable candidate for Saxem.
It’s a crystal from the artificial garnet group, with an abbreviation similar to YAG: Lutetium Aluminum Garnet, or LuAG for brief. Within the Cerium-doped model, it’s nearly good for the mysterious Saxem, particularly when it comes to fluorescence and hardness of 8.4 on the Mohs scale.
I concur with Ian’s opinion, however don’t utterly rule out Cerium-doped YAG (aka Lumogarnet) – google it, it’s neon yellow and delightful!
As this theme evolves, what can we proceed to anticipate from Hublot and different manufacturers?
The apparent reply is: extra fashions in different colours.
Virtually as apparent: ladies’s watches in shiny neon colours, rave model. All of those will be enticing to a feminine viewers.
Barely much less apparent: since watchmakers have already tried yttrium aluminum garnet, why not strive your luck with cubic zircon? This is among the greatest and most technologically superior artificial diamonds.
Not-so-obvious and presumably fantastical reply: clear watches with a glowing case – ghost watches. Now that may be one thing!
For extra info, please go to www.hublot.com/en-us/watches/big-bang/big-bang-tourbillon-automatic-neon-saxem-44-mm
Fast info: Hublot Large Bang Tourbillon Automated Yellow Neon Saxem
Case and bezel: polished and microblasted yellow neon Saxem
Dimensions: 44mm x 14.4mm
Caliber: Hublot manufacture caliber HUB6035, tourbillon, micro-rotor automated winding, energy reserve 72 hours
Strap and clasp: clear yellow structured lined rubber strap, CLASP titanium deployant buckle
Water resistance 30 meters
Limitation: 50 items