Sunday, January 15, 2012

Liquid time keeping - welcome to the H1

So the watch chatter in the last week has increased, with pre-SIHH announcements, Peter Speake-Marin’s astonishing new Renaissance tourbillon minute repeater, and a fun piece that has piqued my interest - a new brand called HYT (Hydro Mechanical Horologists), whose goal it is to make watches that contain liquid in them for a functional purpose, and their first offering, the attention-grabbing H1.

HYT claims seven pending patents for the H1 and its liquid engineering.

Who are HYT?

Well, their CEO is Vincent Perriard, ex Concord and most recently, TechnoMarine, where he was for 18 months. At first glance, the man behind the C1 can be definitely be seen in the H1.

So, how does the bright Hulk-like green liquid time display work? The H1 uses a circular chamber to display the hours using luminescent green liquid. The colour comes from fluorescein, which you may have encountered via an opthalmologist's visit, courtesy of eye drops. The liquid is 'pulled' and 'pushed' via two bellows which are operated by pistons (seen at the bottom of the dial) in the movement. As one expands the other one compresses, moving the liquid.

The minutes are displayed via a sub dial, the seconds hand to the left of it. On the right at 2.30 is a power reserve indicator. The movement has a power reserve of 65 hours and is visible through the rear of the watch.

At 48.8mm, and 17.9mm thick, this is a hefty beast of a thing. Size alone will deter a lot of people, however much they might want it for sheer coolness. It will come in versions : titanium, black DLC-coated titanium, and red gold.


Functions : retrograde fluid hours, minutes, seconds

Case: titanium; diameter: 48.8 mm, thickness: 17.9 mm brushed, bead-blasted and satin-brushed finish. Rubber-clad screw-lock crown with titanium crown guard

Movement : mechanical hand-wound HYT calibre. 28,800 vph, 4 Hz

Jewels : 35 jewels, bridges hand-chamfered and adorned with Côtes de Genève, rhodiumed bellows

Caseback : sapphire crystal with glareproofed interior. Screw-down sapphire back

Dial: Silver-toned opaline. Fluid hours, luminescent hands and hour-markers regulator at 12:00.

Power reserve : 65 hours

Strap: hand-sewn leather-lined canvas, pin buckle

Other versions: black DLC-coated titanium case, black subdial. 5N 18K red gold case, black subdial

Surprisingly, the price is not as crazy as I expected it to be, given the innovations. The HYT H1 in Titanium will be priced at US$45,000, the Titanium Black DLC at US$49,000 and the Gold 5N at US$69,000. Being of a practical bent, I can’t help but think of servicing costs, and how, if something happens with the liquid, it will be painful.

Do I want to have a look at this? Absolutely. It’s too big for me, and I can’t afford it, but I want to see the luminous green liquid tell me the time. Regardless of whether you think the H1 is a lot of fun or just a bit gimmicky, take a look at this video and tell me that you're not just a little curious to see it in the flesh.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great watch for the eye specialist who wants something different. But as you say lets hope
it doesn't spring a leak.

Cheers John