HYT, an innovative luxury watch brand from Swiss watch making industry introduces a new concept in the field of fine horology by making a perfect alliance between mechanics and liquid within a wristwatch. The inspiration of this unique and unusual concept was drawn from the clepsydras or water clocks that used for time keeping in ancient Egypt before 3400 years ago.
This year, the brand unveiled the first model of the collection: The new model H1 is the fulfilment of a utopian dream that fine Watch making can be combined with fluid mechanics to deliver exclusive timekeeping products.
This dream project was successfully carried out by six partners who love revolutionary developments in the art of luxury watch making. By bringing out this model, HYT succeeded to overcome the force of gravity and indicate the time with a liquid in a mechanical wristwatch for the first time since the invention of water clocks.
The idea that led to the H1 was simple and consisted of two flexible reservoirs fixed to each end of a capillary. In one was an aqueous liquid filled with fluorescein, and in the other, a transparent viscous liquid. To keep them separate: the repulsive force of the molecules in each liquid, with a meniscus to mark the boundary between the two.
The watch has two reservoirs at 06:00. While the first compresses, the second expands, and the other way round, resulting in the movement of the liquid in the capillary. As the hours go by, the fluorescent liquid advances. The meniscus, in the shape of a half moon, marks the breaking point with the other fluid in the tube, indicating the time.
At 18:00, the fluorescent liquid comes back to its original position, going backwards. The reservoir movement is controlled by two bellows made of a highly resistant, flexible electro-deposited alloy, each driven by a piston. And this is where watchmaking comes in to activate the system.
HYT calibre, the mechanical movement to activate the hydro system was developed by Bruno Moutarlier, alongside Jean-François Mojon and his Chronode SA team. This highly innovative mechanical movement is situated in the upper part of the watch, and propels a cam, which pushes the piston and activates the bellows.
The main challenge lay in finding an interface between the mechanical movement and the hydro system in a closed, waterproof circuit – a task further complicated by the limited space available to house them both. They had to be assembled separately to keep them independent, and then made to operate simultaneously. This is a highly delicate modular integration, which involves other constraints, such as the installation of the dial in two parts, through the sides.
The fluid mechanics of this timepiece was developed by Preciflex, the patent registration company created by the founders of HYT – Patrick Berdoz, Lucien Vouillamoz and Emmanuel Savioz. Supporting Preciflex was Helbling Technik, from the medical world, where fluid motion is used in certain treatments.
First step was to develop liquids that obey a set of watchmaking specifications. Colour, homogenous texture, resistant to vibrations, shocks and temperature changes, no alteration in the long term, foolproof water resistance. This was made possible by some innovations in the technical watch making Up till now, seven patents have been registered for the technology and one for the design.
The fluid mechanics works with hydraulic pressure. When the fluorescein-loaded liquid has done a complete round and gets to 06:00 – 18:00, the issuing pump compresses. Then the bellows receiver expands, generating resistance and consequently an increased energy requirement.
To fix this, Preciflex developed revolutionary bellows made from an extremely fine alloy and which are highly supple and resistant. They are in fact inspired by the sensors used by NASA and their design had to be adapted to watchmaking requirements. Their specially researched shape allows for the reduction of energy required for their compression, absorbs shocks and ensuresrock solid waterproofing.
During the entire development process, alongside the engineering, the amounts of liquid were the focus of great attention. Every microlitre counts, and the total volume in the closed circuit is extremely precise, as the system has to have a nanotechnology-worthy level of water resistance. Due to the unusual link between the crown and the liquid, a special time-setting system was designed in order to avoid the liquid moving around too fast and damaging the meniscus.
H1 is aggressively designed by Sébastien Perret and his team in Etude de Style design company using revolutionary construction methods. Three-dimensional architecture viewed just as well from the front as from the side or three-quarters through a sculptural 5mm sapphire crystal carved from the block, itself topped by a dome at 6 o’clock imposing its own rules. Particles of fluorescein spring from it, like sparks flying off the passing hours. The industrious pistons and bellows converge toward it. The apparently unstructured upper part of the watch dictates a geometric design composed of strata and reliefs.
In the centre sits the minute regulator, overlapped by a spectacular small seconds display resembling a water wheel. At 02.30, a 65-hour power-reserve hand indicates the remaining energy available across three arcs of a circle. And meanwhile, the fluids follow their course around the case.
H1 has a diameter of 48.8mm and 17.9mm thick. However this timekeeper sits impressively lightly and well on the wrist. The notches in its case band visually extend the applied baignoire-type hour-markers, while the crown dovetails at 02:30, as is thrust against the case by its sturdy crown guard.
Model: HYT H1
Titanium Case, silver-toned opaline dial
Black DLC-coated titanium case, black subdial
5N 18K red gold case, black subdial
Mechanical hand-wound, exclusive HYT calibre, 28,800 vph, 4 Hz, 35 jewels, bridges hand-chamfered and adorned with Côtes de Genève, rhodiumed bellows, 65-hour power reserve
Retrograde fluid hours, minutes, seconds and power-reserve indicator
HYT H1 Titanium
- Case: Diameter: 48.8 mm, thickness: 17.9 mm brushed, bead-blasted and satin-brushed finish; Rubber-clad screw-lock crown; Titanium crown guard; Screw-locked added lugs; Metal dome at 06:00; Cambered sapphire crystal with glare-proofed interior; Screw-down sapphire back
- Dial: Unstructured, silver-toned opaline; Fluid hours, luminescent hands and hour-markers; Regulator at 12:00; Small seconds wheel at 09:30; Power-reserve indicator at 02:30
- Strap: Hand-sewn leather-lined canvas, pin buckle
HYT H1 Titanium Black DLC
- Case: Black DLC titanium with satin brushed finish, 48.8 mm; thickness: 17.9 mm; Rubber-clad screw-lock crown; Metal dome at 6 o’clock; Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective interior, screw-down sapphire back; Water-resistant to 100 m / 10 ATM
- Dial: Unstructured, black Fluid hours, luminescent hourmarkers and hands Regulator at 12 o’clock Small seconds wheel at half past 9 Power-reserve indicator at half past 2
- Strap: Rubber, black DLC titanium buckle
HYT H1 Black DLC & Pink Gold
- Case: 18k rose gold and black DLC titanium with brushed finish, 48.8 mm; thickness: 17.9 mm; Rubber-clad screw-lock crown; Metallic dome at 6 o’clock; Cambered sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside; Screw-down sapphire back; Water-resistant to 100 m (10 ATM/330 ft)
- Dial: Unstructured, black; Luminescent fluid hours, hour-markers and hands; Regulator at 12 o’clock; Small seconds wheel between 9 and 10 o’clock; Power-reserve indicator between 2 and 3 o’clock
- Strap: Rubber, black DLC titanium buckle