A red revolution
by Angus Davies, www.escapementmagazine.com
There are few colours so profoundly suffused with symbolism as red. Heat, danger, passion, love, and speed are just a few words which readily spring to mind when presented with the colour red.
HYT, the innovative Swiss haute horlogerie brand, has come to prominence with its innovative and unique watches. It utilises liquids to impart time and has now chosen to embrace this particular vibrant shade with its new HYT H1 Red2. The model is part of an extensive array of new releases from the high-end watchmaking maison and was recently launched at Baselworld 2014.
For those individuals who perhaps no little about the HYT range of timepieces, I have provided a
brief explanation of what makes the brand’s watches truly revolutionary.
A novel means of expressing time.
HYT caused a stir by incorporating a brightly coloured liquid to impart time in its first model the HYT H1. This model features a narrow glass capillary encircling the round dial of the timepiece,
filled with an aqueous green liquid containing fluorescein, together with a second, and separate, colourless oil-like liquid. Where the two liquids meet, a crescent-shaped meniscus forms indicating the prevailing hour.
Each liquid must clearly remain stable and distinct from its fluid-like neighbour. The meniscus must be preserved for hours to be imparted. Colour and homogeneity cannot change with shocks, temperature or vibration. Furthermore, the liquid cannot leak, nor can water enter the capillary as this would compromise the timekeeping of the watch. These potential challenges required much expertise to conquer. However, the efforts of HYT have been rewarded with a spell-bindingly wonderful means of imparting time.
Located at 6 o’clock are two reservoirs which hold the respective liquids. Two bellows pumps serve each reservoir and are readily visible from the front of the watch.
The left hand pump drives the fluorescent liquid clockwise from 0600 hours to 1800 hours. By
contrast, the right hand pump increasingly receives the colourless liquid, hence as one pump is
fully compressed, the other is fully expanded.
When the meniscus reaches 1800 hours, it slowly returns to 0600 hours and the process begins
once more, covering the period 1800 hours to 0600 hours. The reason the liquid does not move
rapidly back to 1800 hours is that a brake is fitted to retard the motion of the liquid and thus
preventing any damage.
The minutes are conveyed using a circular dial positioned below noon.
HYT developed the watch in partnership with watchmaking genius Jean-François Mojon and his
Chronode SA team.
Despite the amazing cutting-edge use of liquids, the calibre features a mechanical hand-wound
movement with a frequency of 4 Hertz. Moreover, traditional finissage, such as hand-chamfered bridges, adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, and synonymous with haute horologerie is much in evidence.
A new chapter in the HYT story
Initially, HYT had a limited product range, but as the popularity of its models grew and its
expansion plans gained momentum, the brand enlarged its product portfolio. This year at
Baselworld, the company launched several novelties and its collection has now expanded to 19
The young brand has embraced new case materials and, interestingly, new fluorescent colours.
The layperson may perceive it is a simple task to change the colour of the liquids used, but in
reality this is not the case. Each different liquid necessitates much complex chemistry and
prolonged development to ensure it behaves as intended. However, the outcome of this
perseverance is a unique range of models, with each timepiece exhibiting its very own distinct
The red liquid used in the new H1 Red2 model is bold, exciting and eminently legible. HYT has not abandoned practicality in favour of style. The watches which carry its nomenclature are very easy to read and perfectly suitable for daily wear.
A power-reserve indicator is positioned between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Conversely, located
opposite, adjacent 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock a small seconds display completes the inventory of
An aspect of the design language I particularly appreciate is the varying levels of the dial details.
The minute display appears to almost float above the surrounding dial elements, imparting a
delightful depth that is beautiful to behold.
The case is made of titanium and pink gold. The resultant mien is sublime. The gold lugs and bezel contrast wonderfully with the titanium case band and case back. The watch measures 48.9 mm in diameter and has a height of 17.9 mm. Yet, despite being a substantial watch, when I placed it upon my wrist I found it very comfortable to wear and seemingly smaller than the specification sheet would suggest.
The pistons, visible both from the front of the dial and via the exhibition caseback, are intriguing. A child of the Meccano-era, I love the visual spectacle of seeing mechanical objects interface, granting function and purpose. The bellows are made of a flexible alloy and driven by two pistons which are pushed by a cam driven by the movement.
The movement harnesses much watchmaking know-how. As stated before, the finishing is
magnificent. The movement features 35 jewels and a substantial power reserve of 65 hours. This is particularly impressive bearing in mind the energy needed to drive the bellows pumps and propel the liquids around the capillary.
HYT is on a roll and I am sure I am not alone in my adoration of its ingeniously designed watches as the company continues to expand, taking distribution worldwide.
I am delighted for the blue-sky thinkers who work for the company as inventiveness and daring
creativity should receive recognition. Moreover, with increasing commercial success, I would
expect further intelligent design and mechanical creativity from HYT in the future.
- Model: HYT H1 Red2
- Ref: 148-TG-02-RF-RU
- Case: 18-carat pink gold and titanium; diameter 48.90 mm; height 17.90 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator.
- Movement: Mechanical hand-wound movement exclusive to HYT; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz), 35 jewels; power reserve 65 hours
- Strap: Rubber strap presented on a titanium black DLC pin buckle.