The Apple Watch 6 might want to take notice — Hublot, the 40-year-old Swiss luxury brand, has just unveiled its first consumer smartwatch called Big Bang e.
Though it's not Hublot's first venture in the connected wearable market, and it has LVMH portfolio-mate TAG Heuer for guidance, the WearOS-powered Big Bang e is its first widely-available smartwatch. Widely-available for those who can afford its $5,800 price tag, that is.
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The 42-millimeter Hublot Big Bang e (opens in new tab) is clearly for people who gravitate towards premium timepieces and are looking to catch up to the smartwatch-wearing crowd, but are interested in something that looks more conventional than the rectangular Apple Watch.
Unlike many of the best smartwatches however, the Big Bang e doesn't have a heart rate monitor, so it won't make a good gym buddy. But neither does the company's non-smart Big Bang model.
In fact, you'd be hard pressed to tell the connected and mechanical versions of Hublot's Big Bang apart if not for the display. The smartwatch's reveal video shows the 42 components sandwiching together, complete with screws, pushers and a scratch-proof sapphire crystal case.
The Big Bang e comes in either titanium or black ceramic, and features swappable bands, too. Its digital crown or finger can be used to navigate the touchscreen AMOLED display.
It oozes luxury right down to the interface, with an art gallery of faces and tantalizing animation every hour on the hour. There's also a virtual Hublot Store for acquiring new faces, although it doesn't say what those expenses look like.
As for specs, the Big Bang e packs Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage. According to Hublot's website it offers "~ 1 day" of battery life, similar to the Apple Watch.
But unlike Apple Watch, the Big Bang e runs on Google's WearOS, which offers access to Google Play Store apps, Google Assistant, Google Pay and more.
Apple Watch 6 vs Hublot Big Bang e: Is it even a competition?
So is this $5,800 truly an Apple Watch competitor? It's hard to pit them head-to-head (or should we say face-to-face), as one is designed for an elite crew of Swiss watch enthusiasts looking step into the digital age, while the other is for the tech-savvy masses.
For example when I tested the $1,800 TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition out on the links, I oddly preferred my no-frills $200 Garmin Approach S20 for everyday use, but recognized that TAG knows how to cater to its audience.
And for what it's worth, WearOS tends to be better on these luxury brands, or maybe that's the illusion of the price tag working. Apple's watchOS is still the wearable operating system to beat, and with watchOS 7 due out in the fall with upgrades like sleep tracking and mental health tools, it's only going to get better.