Swiss contemporary watchmaker HAUTLENCE unveils its second and highly awaited Concept d’Exception, VORTEX. First launched in 2010, HAUTLENCE’s Concept d’Exception timepieces are extremely sought-after thanks to their extraordinary displays of time powered by incredible mechanical solutions that push the boundaries of traditional watchmaking. Avant-garde and daring, VORTEX is a true showcase of HAUTLENCE’s boundless creativity and audacious approach to watchmaking, reinterpreting all the design codes that are dear to the brand, such as a multi-level reading of time, materials that play on transparency and the use of nonconformist shapes .
This exceptional timepiece features three patents in a mind-blowing three-dimensional case that offers a glimpse of its impressive movement from all sides. Inspired by contemporary architecture, this unique case flaunts a new look every hour as the cage of the regulating organ rotates 60 degrees every 60 minutes, thus turning VORTEX into a mesmerising mechanical piece of art.
Limited to 88 pieces, VORTEX displays half-trailing hours, retrograde minutes and a power-reserve indicator. Its futuristic and lively design changes every hour, as the entire regulating organ rotates 60 degrees every 60 minutes. Powering this new timepiece is a redesigned and reinterpreted version of the innovative in-house automatic calibre HR2.0 presented in the first Concept d’Exception. Named HLR2.0, this impressive new calibre is angled at 90 degrees, resulting in a remarkably ergonomic and modern timepiece.
HAUTLENCE collaborated with the prominent Parisian design studio BBDC, Berra Blanquer Design Consultants, to create VORTEX’s eye-catching and state-of-the-art design inspired by contemporary architecture. BBDC is active in many industries and is renowned for having brought to life several bestselling watch designs ever since its foundation in 1996.
The case of VORTEX is inspired by post-modern architecture and deconstructivism while remaining true to the DNA of the brand. The innovative case features dynamic lines, facetted structures and radical and disruptive shapes. Crafted out of robust titanium grade 5, the case showcases six three-dimensional sapphire crystals that highlight the complexity of the movement’s kinetic construction from all sides. The sapphire crystals offer a glimpse of the mobile bridge-type calibre and the transparent and protective cage of its regulating organ.
Rotating 60 degrees every 60 minutes, the cage of the regulating organ is a reinterpreted version of the one presented in the first Concept d’Exception, the HL2.0, redesigned to increase the visibility of the movement.
The dial provides a two-level reading of time thanks to the semi-transparency of the translucent metallic sapphire dial, portraying the intricacy of the movement’s superior bridges without compromising the readability of the watch’s functions. The dial displays the half-trailing hours, retrograde minutes and a power reserve indicator in a grey colour scheme, reinforcing the architecturally-inspired roots of the timepiece and evoking a metallic and mineral universe. The only dash of colour is seen on the power reserve indicator, displayed in red. The indication of the hours and minutes and the brand logo appear to be engraved directly into the metal.
The bridges of the rotating cage of the calibre were redesigned to feature a futuristic look that stands out from traditional watchmaking. The tense lines and angular shapes of the cage contrast beautifully with the roundness and refinement of the mechanical elements of the regulating organ. The inclined ring is embedded in the bridges of the cage so as to offer a clear view of the regulating organ as it rotates.
The in-house mechanical automatic movement, calibre HLR2.0, is protected by three HAUTLENCE patents, just like the first Concept d’Exception, the HL2.0. The first patent pertains to the 12-link chain of the half-trailing hours, which smoothly turns in 3 to 4 seconds every 60 minutes to display the hour. Such a system differs from an instant system that switches the hours too fast for one to truly appreciate and from a dragging system whereby time cannot be easily read between the hours. The half-trailing hours system rotates effortlessly without losing energy and offers the possibility to admire the beauty of the movement and its mechanisms in action.
The second patent relates to the regulating organ integrated into the mobile bridge-type movement. Its constantly changing position, driven by the display, compensates statistically for the effects of gravity, thus enhancing its precision. The third patent concerns the operation of the movement’s two barrels. The main barrel is wound by the automatic-winding system of the movement and transfers the necessary energy to wind a second barrel that is dedicated exclusively to driving the complication. The main barrel continuously winds the second barrel so as to ensure that energy remains at an optimal level to change each hour. This ensures that complex systems remain powered independently without impacting the precision of the watch.
VORTEX is available with three elegant straps that can be easily interchanged with a screwdriver that is included in the box. VORTEX comes with a black Louisiana alligator leather strap with large square scales, a black horn-back crocodile leather strap with red topstitching or a black rubber strap, each equipped with a folding clasp in grade 2 titanium with a palladium plate.
VORTEX will be available starting this September. Production limited to 88 numbered pieces.
Hours, retrograde minutes and power-reserve indicator
HAUTLENCE HLR2.0 in-house calibre including gear train and automatic winding system
Half-trailing hours displayed by a chain, retrograde minutes, mobile bridge-type calibre
2 barrels: one going train barrel (power reserve for the entire watch calibre including power for the second complication barrel) and a complication barrel
Hours displayed by a 12-link chain hinged on a pallet system. The speed regulator ensures that the hour display changes in a controlled and jerk-free manner in 3-4 seconds instead of instantly. It completes 48 revolutions at each hour change. Hour system activated by a onerevolution mechanism mainly composed of a connecting rod and a rack.
Mobile bridge-type calibre comprising the regulating organ and rotating through 60° at each change of hour.
Movement kinematics featuring 90° changes of direction by means of special bevelled gears.Automatic calibre with oscillating weight in 18-carat white gold.
This innovative calibre is protected by 3 HAUTLENCE patents.
Dimensions: 37.8 x 33.2 x 12.35 mm;
Manufacturing technology: multi-axis micro-machining, wire EDM, LIGA photolithography;
Number of components: 552;
Power reserve: 40 hours;
Regulating organ: 21,600 vibrations/hour;
Number of jewels 92;
Finishing: fine-watchmaking type (satin-brushed, hand-drawn, hand-bevelled, ruthenium anthracite coating and mirror-polished steel elements);
Identification and numbering plate: HLR2.2 xx/88
Grade 5 titanium
Horns: grade 5 titanium, screw-in
Crown: satin-brushed and polished grade 5 titanium with micro-machined HAUTLENCE logo
Glass: 6 three-dimensional sapphire crystals, scratch-resistant, produced by multi-axis grinding
Alternating finishes: sand-blasting, satin-brushing and polishing
Horn and case-back screws: grade 5 titanium
Dimensions: 52 x 50 x 17.8 mm
Weight of the watch: 120 grams
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Upper sapphire dials face: minutes in white Super-LumiNova®
Applied plates for the hours and minutes zones; openings onto the hours and the power reserve
Lower sapphire dials face: semi-opaque metallization;
Hour-markers: metal plate with black rhodium-plated galvanic coating and hour numerals in white Super-Lumi-Nova®
Minutes hand: rhodium-plated galvanic coating with white Super-LumiNova® tip
Power-reserve hand: steel with red-varnished indicator
Black hand-sewn rolled-edge, rubberised padded Louisiana alligator leather, large square scales
Black hand-sewn hornback crocodile leather, red topstitching
Interchangeability spring bar and screwdriver
Folding clasp: grade 2 titanium with palladium plate
Retail Price in Switzerland
Price (including tax): CHF 160’000.-