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Hublot - Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II: Its Designer Speaks

Hublot Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II: Its Designer Speaks

The Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II bridges two different worlds: watchmaking and tattoos. How did the artist behind the design approach the creation of this piece? We get some answers from Maxime Plescia-Buchi.

Maxime Plescia-Buchi is an internationally recognised tattoo artist, editor of the magazine “Sang Bleu”, founder of Swiss Typefaces and designer of his own line of clothing. He has recently expanded his field of activity even further, into the world of watchmaking. Hublot ambassador, this Swiss artist has worked hand in hand with the watch company to create the Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II, which was launched this year. Although the worlds of watchmaking and tattoos operate under different codes, the collaboration between Hublot and Maxime Plescia-Buchi is a very good match, because they both create links between materials, techniques and, more broadly, cultures. For Maxime, the timepiece they created is a good example because it represents the fusion of two worlds: “This watch makes me think of those mechanical mobiles that represent the solar system; there’s this meeting of childhood and fantasy with astronomy and hard science,” he explains. 

Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II : son designer parle

Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II Titanium © Hublot

His mastery of graphic design comes from years of practice as a tattoo artist, and also from his studies. It would therefore be natural to assume that these skills played a major part in Maxime Plescia-Buchi’s approach to the project. However, that’s not exactly the case. In fact, where the design of the Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II was concerned, Maxime Plescia-Buchi didn’t take his profession as a tattoo artist as his starting point. “A tattoo is more of a destination than a starting point,” he says. “My starting point for creating a tattoo is the same place I started when it came to creating the watch. I used the same processes I apply to tattoos – although they’re not specific to that field; processes that are part of the way I work, which I apply to everything I do. As a result, there’s a connection with me, and with my own approach,” the Swiss artist notes.

Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II : son designer parle

Maxime Plescia-Buchi working on the Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II © Hublot

But although he employed processes with which he’s intimately familiar to create the Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II, it wasn’t all that simple. “On a technical level, the difficulty lay in issues of semiology, how information is conveyed,” Maxime admits. “It was difficult to retain those elements while taking the aesthetic aspects, the formal interplay, as far as they could go. As a graphic designer I love form for form’s sake, but it was very important to me to keep those elements.” Being fully involved in the creation of the timepiece itself was also extremely important to him: “For me, it was crucial to be able to work on the design, and not simply to add my aesthetic signature to a watch,” he states. “I wanted to be involved in the design itself, while keeping the functionality of the object. It was quite hard to get the balance exactly right. However, the most difficult aspect was identifying how to take the principles of design, form, and development that we know and understand from one domain, and apply them to another domain with its own codes. The challenge was to create a design object that is (universally) beautiful, while meeting the expectations of people in the watch industry.” 

Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II : son designer parle

Maxime Plescia-Buchi working on the Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II © Hublot

Despite a recent collaboration with Hublot which highlighted some of the issues Maxime Plescia-Buchi would have to face, Maxime had thought about designing a timepiece for some time. “The fact that I grew up in a cultural context where watchmaking was a feature probably has something to do with it, but nevertheless, through my interests and my inclination, my ideas about designing a watch were already quite well advanced. I had made some sketches, and thought a great deal about what I would do if I could design a watch. It was a terrifying experience, but I was very well coached by Hublot,” Maxime Plescia-Buchi explains.

Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II : son designer parle

Big Bang Unico Sang Bleu II King Gold © Hublot

Although the collaboration was intense, the Swiss artist found it immensely rewarding, because it helped him to see the link between the worlds of watchmaking and tattoos. “The way people invest in their relationship with a watch is similar to the way others feel about a tattoo: there’s an emotional investment, a commitment, the fact of getting something that began well before us, and will continue after we’ve gone,” he states. “This something began with a tradition – it’s part of that tradition, and it carries on after us. Although with a tattoo it’s not literally true, there is nevertheless this idea that it will stay on your skin forever, even after you’re dead. With watches, there’s a similar notion of durability, in terms of passing things on. As a watch collector myself, I hope that my children will inherit my watches one day,” Maxime Plescia-Buchi concludes.

The brand

From the outset, Hublot has embodied design and innovation that differ markedly from the established watchmaking order. With the impetus provided by Jean-Claude Biver, by 2004 these values had already become the basis of a new DNA, leading the brand, which is currently headed by Ricardo Guadalupe - its CEO since 2012, to develop particularly audacious timepieces – most of them with a highly-developed sporting aspect.

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