Hautlence Avant-Garde HL RS 02
The High Life
Sometimes brands try to conceive originally designed models, primarily to be different, but with such abandon the net result proves challenging to love. Not so with the Hautlence Avant-Garde HL RS 02. Yes, it is very original in its appearance but there would be no difficulty in worshipping its rectangular shaped form. It is beautiful.
As I sit in my holiday apartment in Switzerland, enjoying a well-earned rest, I ponder my inability to converse in foreign languages. It is very humbling to visit the land-locked nation famed for cheese, chocolate, banking and, of course, horology. The fact is that many Swiss nationals proficiently communicate in several languages as well as their mother tongue.
Indeed, my capacity to speak French is restricted to knowing several watchmaking terms such as anglage, perlage and Côtes de Genève. I reflect on other French terms that have become part of my lexicon and then it dawns on me. Haute couture, haute cuisine and haute horology have been terms I have embraced all of my adult life, albeit in the case of couture, merely as an admirer.
It seems that when it comes to the finer things in life, those who are able to converse in French seem to know about the niceties of clothes and exquisite food. With increasing prosperity, I have had the chance to sample the delights of foie gras with fig jam and quaff a glass of cool white Bergerac wine with chocolate and black truffles. There is something wonderful about products produced without concession, where compromise is unknown and excellence is absolute.
Extending my French vocabulary
Recently, whilst attending Baselworld 2013, there was another “haut” to add to my dictionary. Hautlence, a high-end Swiss manufacturer of contemporary timepieces was a name I confess to having known little about until a few months ago.
Like many of my compatriots I am no stranger to Google Translate and tried to establish the meaning of “Hautlence” using this website, but to no avail. The name is actually an anagram of Neuchâtel, the home Canton of the manufacture. However, after one brief encounter with the timepieces I soon ascertained these were watches of the highest order.
Much merit can be discerned when subjected to scrutiny
As my ageing eyes betray their loyal owner, I often resort to probing digits to establish the quality of cases and clasps. There is much merit in the Hautlence products, easily ascertained with close tactile examination.
On placing a loupe against my right eye, trying desperately to clench it in my eye-socket without the indignity of it falling free and landing in my hosts lap, I scrutinised the finishing of several models. I was not disappointed.
Hautlence example sublime craftsmanship which withstands the scrutiny of the most discriminating eyes.
I perused the array of models laid out in front of me and selected the Avant-Garde HL RS 02 for extended examination. Its bold and contemporary styling proffered much appeal and I could readily envisage it adorning my own appreciative wrist.
Sometimes brands try to conceive originally designed models, primarily to be different, but with such abandon the net result proves challenging to love. Not so with the Avant-Garde HL RS 02. Yes, it is very original in its appearance but there would be no difficulty in worshipping its rectangular shaped form. It is beautiful.
The styling is avant-garde and bold. However, form follows function with the imparting of time being a key-strength of the watch.
The jumping hour is displayed to the lefthand side of the dial courtesy of a round aperture which moves over a static disc underneath. A cyan like hue is used for this particular model, albeit alternative models employ more restrained colours. However, I adore the flamboyance of the chosen colour scheme of this model and it would be my pick of the range.
Retrograde minutes feature opposite. The minute hand points to the scale presented on both the glass and the scale beneath. Arabic numerals, in cyan, are positioned at each 15 minute integer on the glass, whereas the scale presented below shows minutes marked with a combination of simple strokes and black Arabic numerals.
Subsidiary seconds are displayed on a subdial presented in the south-easterly area of the dial.
User-friendly interface with the wearer
There is an absence of numerous functions to grab the headlines. However, the innovative aesthetics charm with their ingenious and user-friendly interface with the wearer. The watch converses with the wearer with clear diction, enunciating time with clarity and style.
The case is formed from titanium and is enhanced with stainless steel details such as the bezel, screws and crown.
Style can sometimes usurp substance, but not in this case. The Avant-Garde HL RS 02 features the HL Caliber, an in-house manual movement, which openly discloses much of its inner workings courtesy of the sapphire crystals fitted to the front and caseback.
The connecting rods of the movement control the jumping hour and retrograde minutes display. They are featured centre-stage of the dial and just to make sure you do not miss them, Hautlence have kindly hi-lighted them in cyan.
Modernity is obvious as you admire this watch which will appeal to many of today’s TV-loving generation with its screen-like display. However, timed-served traditional craftsmanship is conferred with hand-chamfered and straight-grained bridges.
A byword for the high-life
Hautlence may be an anagram of Neuchâtel, an area famed for prodigious watchmaking talent, however, to me these exceptional timepieces are examples of the finest haute horlogerie. They are shining symbols of no-compromise creation. Indeed, I suspect that Hautlence will become a byword for the high-life enjoyed by the horological fortunate.
- Model: Hautlence Avant-Garde HL RS 02
- Reference: HL RS 02
- Case: Titanium with steel bezel, crown and screws; dimensions 42.00 mm x 46.00 mm; case height 12.8 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Jumping hours; retrograde minutes; subsidiary seconds.
- Movement: HL In-house Caliber, hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 24 jewels; power reserve 40 hours; 180 parts
- Strap: Rubber strap supplied on titanium deployant.