Hublot is the official timekeeping sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, so, of course, it has developed a special edition watch for the football tournament.
The Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia runs Wear OS (Android Wear got a rebrand, if you didn’t hear), and has the same Intel Atom Z34XX processor that powers 2017’s Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45. (Hublot and Tag Heuer are both owned by the LVMH conglomerate.)
The Big Bang Referee has a 35.4mm watchface, 400 x 400 AMOLED screen, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and “around one day” of battery life from its 410mAh battery.
What makes the watch special, in addition to its limited run of 2,018 pieces and roughly $5,200 price tag, is the wide assortment of World Cup-themed software Hublot has added. The watch will display a countdown to the World Cup (which is a couple months out, but it’s hard to know precisely how long without a Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia to tell me), and once the games begin, you can get notifications of match start times and a whole bunch of live match stats. And, naturally, the watch vibrates and shows the word “GOAL” whenever a goal is scored.
Speaking of goals, a special version of this watch will actually be worn by the referees at this year’s World Cup to interface with the goal-line technology. In football matches that already use goal-line technology, referees use more basic watches to get notified when a goal has been recognized by the automatic system, but now, apparently, they’ll have all the features of the Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia to keep them entertained during lulls in the action. A version of this watch was already tested “discreetly” by some referees during a couple of FIFA competitions in 2017, so hopefully all the technology kinks have been worked out.
While luxury watches have never appealed to me, it’s nice to see a focus on bespoke software in a limited edition watch to really up the luxury beyond exotic materials and flashy design.