Our Contributor Mario gives his take at the new Hautlence timepieces:
Unlace the Hautlence Codes! Hautlence of Neuchatel (hmmm…that’s a funny array of letters! ) introduces a new Avant-Garde model, a 44 mm round version called HLRQ!
It’s always a good day when news from Neuchatel based Hautlence comes over the transom. Today is just such a red-letter day! The new Avant-Garde HLRQ is part of the new Avant-Garde Collection and an adaptation of the HLQ, Hautlence’s first round timepiece.
Executed in steel and titanium, the proportions haven’t changed at 44 mm – it has a deeper visual impact owing to the thicker horn style lugs, almost bombe´in appearance. The HLRQ also carries on the same styling cues from the HLQ with flanged offsets on the case near each lug, which give the appearance of the watch being cradled in a concave holster. My first mental reference is that of an ancient amphora being placed in a stand. The HLRQ 02 is planned as a non color treated version with pale blue chapter rings for hours and minutes, while HLRQ 03 is planned as a DLC coated version highlighted by burnt orange indexes and numbers.
As with all things Hautlence, expect the visual appeal to go beyond the size and case of the watch; the dial of the HLRQ is a three dimensional array of various layers of sapphire dials and plates meant to inform the wearer of the time without distracting. The hours are highlighted more so than indicated by a rotating disc with an oculus that reveals the current hour while the rest of the smoked effect of the glass provides a clue ‘neath it as to the rest of the hours of the dial. In a departure from what has become almost a convention in watchmaking – the hours themselves don’t jump – the wheel that reveals them does! Retrograde minutes are indicated by way of Hautlence’s connecting rods system.
One of the ‘codes’ implied with and imbued into Hautlence watches are their unique movements. The cases are always familiar and comfortable – but the movements within are generally speaking incongruous to other makers relying on plates and bridges! The movement (finished in Còte de Genève) is not just a source of power for the telling of time – its layout and individual components are used to captivate the wearer and bring them into the multilayered kinetic world that lay hidden in most watches. But Hautlence is not like most brands and the HLRQ is not like most watches!
The connecting rods in the HLRQ work in a similar fashion to the way connecting rods work in an internal combustion engine: they use snail-drop style cam (named because of it’s resemblance to the profile of a gastropods’ shell!) to articulate a reciprocating lever attached to the minute hand itself. As the geared cam goes through its cycle, the rod progresses forward and the minute hand moves. The INSTANT that the arc of the cam finishes it’s journey round, the drop in the cam allows for the tension on the rod to reposition the minute hand back at ‘zero’ for the next go round! Simple! (Well… not so simple, but here you can read and see more explained).
(For those of you reading this with concern for my [mental] health – fear not! Hautlence is an anagram of the Neuchatel! Underlined words are my oblique homage to their spirit of ingenuity!)
Hautlence expects to deliver the HLRQ 02 and HLRQ 03 in an unlimited series beginning this summer. Want to know where you can buy the new Hautlence HL-RQ timepieces? Check out the Hautlence website here. The price for each of the two models starts at CHF 33,500 (tax included).
This article is written by Mario Squillacioti, contributing writer for Monochrome-Watches.