FLUID AND NOBLE
Time and tide may wait for no man, but that hasn’t stopped them from combining to create wonders like the HYT H1 Full Gold
Arguably 21st century clepsydras, HYT watches are conceived to tell time not with the use of regular hour and minute hands, but with liquids, hence the brand’s tagline “Hydro Mechanical Horologists”.
The H1 – the watch that started it all – has a sub-dial at 12 o’clock, whose singular hand indicates the minutes. The hour hand is absent, replaced by a circular tube that runs around just inside the dial’s circumference. Inside this tube are coloured and clear liquids whose relative levels are controlled by the alternate compression and expansion of two piston-driven bellows at 6 o’clock. As the hours pass, the coloured liquid advances to mark the hour, while the clear liquid simultaneously gives way to it. Twice a day at six o’clock, the coloured liquid undergoes a retrograde motion and returns to its starting position, to begin a new cycle all over again.
HYT had numerous challenges to overcome to achieve such a display system. Obviously, the liquids had to be contained, with no allowances for evaporation or other such losses. The fluid system also had to be governed through autonomous timekeeping, yet allow manipulation when the crown is operated to set the time. Then, there’s the exhausting research required to develop the liquids to have the required colours and viscosities. As if that’s not enough, the entire system needs to be resistant against vibration and temperature fluctuation as well.
The H1 remains in production today, and HYT has played with it in numerous ways to constantly offer something new, yet familiar. Take materials, for example. The new H1 Full Gold has a case made entirely in pink gold, which is a first for the brand. This 50-piece limited edition also has a galvanic coating in the same hue on its minute sub-dial, small seconds wheel, power reserve indicator, and the hour ring to compose a picture of perfect uniformity. Instead of the usual fluorescent liquids for the hours, the one used here is opaque black, which alone required almost a year of experimentation and fine-tuning. In the dark, the Super-luminova coating underneath the liquid capillary (i.e. glass tube) emits green light, which the opaque black liquid blocks off accordingly – yet another new detail that wasn’t previously done. The final result exudes seriousness and solemnity unlike any other in the collection. MOVEMENT Manual-winding HYT calibre with fluid indicator and 65-hour power reserve
CASE 48.8mm in pink gold, water resistant to 100m STRAP Pale grey alligator with titanium deployant buckle PRICE $119,000