It hung low and brooding, suspended over the city. It was a Sunday evening in Los Angeles and a total lunar eclipse blood red moon was captivating the weary to return to work. Some 48 hours later, after a 500 mph slingshot across the continental United States, I witness this moon’s unrelenting essence, peeking up over the Manhattan skyline, softly unhinged from its total eclipse, and now a beautifully burning orange—my sojourn’s metaphoric incantation.
You see, I am here for the reveal of the latest Big Bang from luxury Swiss watchmaker, Hublot, the likes of which always has out of this world implications. An outer worldliness of exacting excitability, the likes of which has seen collaborations with planet shapers from Pelé to Kobe Bryant, only matched by the waltzing and exploding stars that surround earth's ingenuity. The timekeeping authority in this particular instance is the luminous Samuel Ross who moves through the Hublot pop-up in Soho with an elegant confidence, his pupils dancing, clearly a lover of life and its beautifully transient objects and forms.
Ross and I wide-smile concede that the vibrant orange chosen for his Big Bang Tourbillon exudes optimism and joy, not only on the gorgeous timepiece—a mere 50 of which will be produced—but also in the dynamism of the temporary space, its richness hugging the walls’ contours and emoting a kind of child-like exuberance and innocence. “Orange is such a powerful color,” Ross says, remarking that his draw to its use in this project felt fortuitous and magnetic, adding that there may be plans for future color infusions and iterations.
Ross, 30, is an artist, filmmaker, and fashion designer, who launched his own luxury sportswear label, A-Cold-Wall, in 2015 and commenced his design studio, SR_A in 2018. His dialogue with Hublot is not new, as he won the prestigious Hublot Design Prize in 2019, and was crowned an official ambassador in 2020. This moment was punctuated by the reveal of REFORM, a sculpture created by Ross as homage to Hublot’s boundary-pushing 40 years in the market.
Ross’ Big Bang, comprised of 282 component parts, features the series’ signature hexagon, extolled in its titanium honeycomb mesh, the sapphire dial, case, case back, and strap. This geometric form is of course espoused in nature, in the formats of beehives, snake skins, pineapple skin, snowflakes, and perhaps in the glittering skyscrapers that ensconce tonight‘s bouncing celebration, whereby musicians, athletes, fashionistas, and those of the exclusive horology gild have convened in this orange vestibule, which feels, in turn, like its own sort of honeycomb, albeit that of an even brighter and more energetic honey.
Out on the streets, up and down the avenues, there is a balminess in the air that has not been felt for months. Cafés and bars and shops teem with an obviously ecstatic, and perhaps somewhat less-laden social mix, as those in the know stream inside to witness Ross’ manifestation—that of the orange moon that hangs above our mortal heads. This is New York, a city as complexly sophisticated and exceptional as the timepiece presented tonight, as embracing of culture as my Swiss host has been from its inception. These are the people of New York. This is a city markedly turning a corner. This is a designer who will only know stratospheric expansion. This is, as Hublot would say, The Art of Fusion.