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HYT H1 Titanium
As we burn fossil fuels and consume the earth’s natural resources, there is a greater imperative to find new sources of energy.
Solar power has seen many households in the UK retro-fit unsightly panels to the roofs of their dwellings in a bid to mitigate spiraling energy costs. Wind power has led to a profusion of turbines covering the once green and unspoilt fells of Cumbria.
In some instances, going green can mean embracing new forms of energy which sadly look pug-ugly.
I look at the images of the HYT H1 Titanium and the retrograde hours eschew the conventional dauphine shaped hands found in haute horology, instead favouring a fluorescent green liquid to impart time.
The concept of combining a liquid with a mechanical movement sounds fraught with danger. However, this timepiece has spent years in development and has engaged some of watchmaking’s most talented minds.
The dial is silver-toned opaline. The bezel is clear, constructed of sapphire crystal.
Arabic numerals in a contemporary font indicate the hours on a chapter ring, with the exception of 6 o’clock, which features an over-sized dome marked with the hour shown in relief.
The meniscus of the brightly coloured green fluid which circumnavigates the dial indicates the hour. This can also be seen via the apertures on the caseband.
A silver subdial at the most northerly aspect of the watch conveys the minutes using a single hand. It imparts minutes with a combination of Arabic numerals and batons.
A subsidiary seconds dial is positioned between 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock. It resembles a water wheel and proffers a contemporary and unique character.
Located between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock is a power reserve.
The lower portion of the dial shows the rhodiumed bellows. They compress and receive the two liquids used to impart the hours. It is the spectacle of the pumps performing which confers bragging rights on the wearer. For some, it is rather the engineering prowess which engenders devotion and imparts joy.
This is a behemoth of a watch, with a case diameter of 48.8 mm and height of 17.9 mm. Nevertheless, the use of titanium means the mass is modest and will not place undue burden on the wearer’s biceps.
The lugs are one of the few conventional aspects of the watch design.
Black rubber enveloped the screw crown. An asymmetrical titanium crown guard follows the contour of the lower part of the case.
A screw-down sapphire caseback affords the wearer a view of the fine movement residing in the handsome case.
The pistons previously mentioned, are made of a highly resistant, electro-deposited alloy. They are powered by a conventional manual wound movement with a frequency of 4 Hz.
The mechanical movement harnesses the finest finissage synonymous with traditional watchmaking.
Bridges are hand-chamfered and adorned with Côtes de Genève motif.
The retrograde fluid hours, harness two liquids. These are pumped around a clear channel which circumnavigates the dial. A green fluorescent aqueous liquid imparts the hours. A viscous colourless liquid fills the remaining area of the channel. The meniscus of the green liquid denotes the precise time in the same way as a conventional hand.
The liquids used are accurately measured to ensure the precise correlation with time and were selected because of their stability. They are not adversely affected by time, altitude or other variables which would negate the reliable timekeeping of the watch.
It is seldom that a watch manufacturer can offer a timepiece which is truly unique. In this instance, HYT have chosen to walk a path on virgin snow. They have not followed convention nor plagiarised the creativity of others but thought outside the box and produced a very interesting timepiece.
The modernity of this watch has not come at the expense of traditional watchmaking. All the flawless finishing found in traditional high-end timepieces is there for connoisseurs to enjoy.
If this watch had an electronic heart, a quartz movement, it would not have the same emotional appeal. However, this watch engages with my soul with every tick of its pallet levers.
This is one of the few occasions were going green would appear to have no obvious downsides and the aesthetics attract and allure with its unexampled design language.
- Model: HYT H1 Titanium
- Reference: HYT Cal.101
- Case: Titanium; diameter 48.80 mm; height 17.90 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back.
- Functions: Retrograde fluid hours; minutes; subsidiary seconds; power-reserve indicator
- Movement: Manual-wind; frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 35 jewels; power reserve 65 hours.
- Strap: Hand-sewn leather lined canvas, supplied on pin buckle