Hysek launches “Colossal”, a 100% in-house Grande Complication piece, of which only eight are being made – a perpetual calendar in which every display uses a roller. This Superlative Grande Complication from Hysek boasts over 1,000 components, took three years to develop, and is protected by several patent applications.
Colossal, the most ambitious undertaken by the manufacture in over ten years, is celebrating the Maison’s twentieth anniversary in style – as well as commemorating the tenth anniversary of one of Hysek’s original creations, the Colosso.
Unveiled at Baselworld 2017, the Colossal embodies a disruptive watchmaking vision, bringing together three concepts much beloved of Hysek: Jumping Hours, a Jumping Perpetual Calendar, and a three-dimensional Moon Phase. Together, they bring to life one of the most complex vertical linear displays ever constructed offering one of the most readable Perpetual Calendars around.
Linear displays – especially ones involving a jumping mechanism – are little short of impossible, technically speaking. The main difficulty with displaying hours and minutes has been that of transposing a flat display to the roller-based system. Simply put, this involves transitioning from a circular display using flat gears to a linear display using vertical gears.
One that barrier had been overcome, Hysek then set out to resolve one of the most insidious challenges with roller displays: the shift from 23:59 to 00:00. Logically speaking, the hour unit roller (the “3” in 23:59) should continue on its course to display a 4; but that would end up displaying the non-existent time of 24:00, inevitably followed by 25:00, and so on.
To prevent that, Hysek has developed an exclusive system that is a world first. A few minutes before midnight, the roller discreetly moves backwards from “3” to “9”, so that it can then jump, appropriately enough, to “0” – such that midnight is properly displayed. As the midnight hour approaches, a veritable mechanical ballet worthy of an automaton takes the stage. Arms, levers, and gears move into position so that the two hour discs roll into place simultaneously at midnight, in complete unison. The spectacular jump is the final outcome of a mechanical process that begins much earlier, ensuring that the show at midnight is perfectly coordinated – and goes off without a hitch. A patent has been filed for the reverse-and-forward roller system.
Occupying as it does a central place in the Colossal’s WH80 caliber, the Moon Phase could hardly content itself with being traditional when all the surrounding complications were so innovative, and indeed developed specifically for this piece. In this display, the Moon itself is fixed, and encompassed by a cupola in constant rotation. The result is a display comprising two parts: the Moon in the middle and a dome above it. As this dome revolves, it gradually reveals the different phases of the moon. The cupola completes a complete 360° rotation in 29.5 days, with all the regularity of the actual lunar cycle.
This design posed a twofold problem. The first aspect involved actually inventing a Moon Phase of this type in the first place; no such complication had ever been devised. The other aspect of the problem was that the complication does not simply involve a rotating disc but an entire dome. As a result, a suitable ceramic ball bearing system had to be developed.
Colossal also features three other complications: a dual time zone, a power reserve, and a seasonal day-night indicator. Hysek has clad the essential hours, minutes, and calendar complications in black, whilst the other complications are rhodium-plated. The GMT display takes the form of a disc placed atop the seasonal roller, powered by the vertical shaft on which the roller rotates. This solution saves a considerable amount of space, and is right in keeping with the Colossal’s style codes – without adding any particular mechanical complexity. The GMT complication is exactly the same diameter as the roller, as though the two worked in tandem, whereas in fact they are technically separate.
The power reserve and seasonal day-night indicator are displayed on the side of the watch, through two sapphire crystal windows. This side display is a legacy feature of the Colosso that Hysek is proudly using once again, giving it a new, creative, and more technical lease of life. The display in question also enhances the Colossal’s three-dimensional aspect.
The Colossal is regulated by a flying tourbillon, not least for its aesthetic qualities. The tourbillon cage is assembled on ceramic ball bearings. For optimum comfort, Hysek has chosen an automatic winding mechanism, featuring a micro-rotor made of platinum. This material is both rare and precious – as well as offering an excellent moment of inertia for its size. In addition, two barrels, arranged side by side, work in parallel, providing a 42-hour power reserve. Winding and unwinding at the same time, they deliver sufficient power to trigger all the functions – especially important when various rollers have to jump forward at the same time.
Hysek HW80 caliber
Automatic, mechanical movement
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Hysek Titanium balance wheel
Balance spring: PE4000 alloy
Platinum micro-rotor, offset and decorated by hot-wire cutting
Autonomy: 45 +/- 3 hours
7 ceramic ball bearings
Roller retrograde jumping hours
Perpetual Calendar with day, date, and month displayed on 4 rollers
Leap year on a disc at 3 o’clock
“Celestial sphere”Moon Phase display
Hand-painted Moon and “celestial sphere”
Dual time zonedisc at 9 o’clock
Power reserve indicator roller at 3 o’clock
Seasonal Day-Night indicator roller at 9 o’clock
Hand-painted numerals on rollers
Rear-mounted flying tourbillon
Size: L57mm x H18mm x W44mm
Material: 18K Rose gold
Arch-shaped sapphire glass with anti-reflection treatment
Sapphire crystal sides and back with anti-reflection treatment
Water resistance: 30 metres
Availability and price
Limited edition: 8 pieces
Price: on request