In 2015, Tag Heuer was the first luxury watchmaker to launch a high-end smartwatch, and brands such as Montblanc, Hublot and Louis Vuitton followed soon after. Five years later, this category continues to welcome new additions: The third-generation Tag Heuer Connected debuted in March, and recently, Hublot launched its second connected watch, the Big Bang E. Clearly, these pricey hybrids of technology and traditional watchmaking are here to stay, despite often having tech specs that are no better than those in the best mainstream smartwatches.

Hublot’s Big Bang E, for instance, does not possess a heart-rate monitor or built-in GPS capabilities, which are features now found in many smartwatches. Powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, the Big Bang E runs on the Wear OS by Google, allowing the wearer to access apps on Google Play, use Google Assistant and make payments using Google Pay. The wearer can also swipe to access useful information, as well as notifications and messages. So far, so basic.

Where the Big Bang E stands out is its superior build quality, along with some very cool aesthetics. Inspired by analogue watch dials, its perpetual calendar and second time zone features are accompanied by beautifully rendered images of the moon and earth, respectively. And like other luxury smartwatches, the build quality of its case is far superior to that of typical smartwatches.

Similar to Hublot’s mechanical Big Bang models, the 42mm Big Bang E case features a modular “sandwich” construction, and is available in titanium (satin-finished and polished) or black ceramic (micro-blasted and polished). There are other design elements that Hublot fans know and love, including distinctive screws and pushers, scratch-proof sapphire crystal, and a rubber strap that features a deployant buckle and easy interchangeability thanks to the brand’s patented One Click system. Also making a strong visual impression are the hour numerals that are metallised beneath the sapphire crystal, which is topped by an Amoled high-definition touchscreen.

Also unique to the Big Bang E is a series of artistic watch faces created by painter Marc Ferrero, who has collaborated with Hublot on other mechanical timepieces. There are eight different Ferrero dial designs, and a different one is programmed to appear every three hours. Each dial design is based on a different colour, and unsurprisingly, Hublot has the (separately available) rubber straps to match. Without mentioning any names, Hublot promises that there there will be other dial designs created by its ambassadors and friends (we are already imagining the trippy geometric motifs that tattoo artist Maxime Buchi might come up with).

The Big Bang E retails for S$6,800 (titanium) and S$7,600 (black ceramic). It will be sold on the brand’s website, and subsequently, at its boutiques and official retailers.