In the past 10 years we’ve got to know the independent watch brand Hautlence for their unique way to indicate time. Always with a regulator-style jumping hour and retrograde minute indication. Last year, this tradition was broken with the introduction of the Destination, a dual time-zone watch with two ‘normal’ hands for the hours and minutes. To mark their 10th anniversary Hautlence joined forced with non other than Éric Cantona to create the brand’s first chronograph, the Hautlence Invictus Morphus. An important piece to start a new decade.
After a very successful start, and even more successful years, the beginning of the global economic crisis also marked the beginning of a difficult period for Hautlence. With the arrival of George-Henri Meylan’s MELB holding and their financial backup, the Neuchâtel-based watch brand can now focus on creating a more varied collection and “building” the brand. The focus shifts from product-focused to brand-focused. Football legend, actor, art collector and artist (!) Éric Cantona will be involved of to help the brand make that shift, and puts his signature on the brand’s first ever chronograph.
The introduction, last year, of the Destination, was like crossing a line. Introducing the brand’s first collection with a “normal” hour and minute hand was much different from what Hautlence had been doing in the 9 years before that. Until you take a step back and focus on everything the brand stands for. That’s not just a different way to indicate time! Hautlence also has a very recognizable style that comes back in all their watches, whether they show time with a jumping hour and retrograde minute hand, or with an hour and minute hand. The TV-shape case, crystal, multi-layered dial with applied indices, visible movement parts, the short downward curved lugs and the beautiful shaped straps. The brand has so much more than “just” the jumping hour and retrograde minute time indication.
Hautlence’s newest timepiece was designed and developed in tandem by Guillaume Tetu, CEO and co-founder of the brand and Éric Cantona, and proudly named Invictus; its name deriving from the Latin phrase meaning “unbeaten and unbeatable”. The full name of this limited edition of 250 pieces is Hautlence Invictus Morpos, and the latter part of the name refers to Morpho, a blue butterfly that adorns the sides of the dials. Like a larvae (or commonly called caterpillar) morphs to a butterfly as its mature state of being, Hautlence has, with this new model, morphed to a mature watch brand.
Luckily we still see the recognizable TV-screen case, the screws with a half slot, the multi-layered dial with applied numerals and many kore design features that make a Hautlence. Visually the new Hautlence Invictus Morphos is quite striking and technically it’s most complexity probably lies in its case and dial; the recognizable design features. The blue butterfly motif is painted on blue mother-of-pearl insets, which are subtly illuminated by luminescent material that’s applied on the reverse side of the mother of pearl and will give a nice glow when lights go dim.
Inside ticks a reliable Soprod A10 with Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top, which is partially visible through the large opening in the dial; a nice visual treat.
The grade 2 titanium case mid-case, case-back and lugs are bead blasted. While the often used grade 5 titanium has a very bright colour, this grade 2 titanium offers a darker grey colour. The bezel, crown, pushers and screws are in stainless steel, and the crown is engraved with the brand’s name. The case measures 42mm x 46mm and is 12.8mm thick, and while that might sound like a very large watch, we can assure you its TV-screen case makes it very wearable!
The case-back is numbered and engraved with the name “INVICTUS”, along with Eric Cantona’s signature and an engraving of his digital fingerprint. Now to end this article I’d like to share a quote from the press release.
For the press release: The butterfly is the very embodiment of the word ephemeral, symbolising freedom, a carefree existence and a zest for life resulting from the fact that given the shortness of one’s time on earth, one needs to live every second to the full. The butterfly also represents metamorphosis or change. It is the link between before and after, between our desires and their realisation, demonstrating by its very essence that it is possible to change and to make what already exists even more beautiful, on condition that trust prevails and one remains true to oneself. This philosophy is very dear to Eric Cantona and the members of the Gentlemen Rebels Club.
This quote that is very dear to me. Not only as a Hautlence owner, however also as someone who has undergone a metamorphosis myself, from desires to realization. To everyone who wants to CROSS THE LINE: be different and stand out! Become a member of the Gentlemen Rebels Club.
More info: hautlence.com