HYT can proudly claim to be the only watchmaker today to display time with fluids. With a brand philosophy unlike any other, HYT wants us to understand time intuitively, as an inexorable, unstoppable stream. The brand, and its unusual mix of mechanical watchmaking and fluid technology, has come a long way since its debut in 2012. Last year, HYT introduced a new movement, calibre 501, revealing its fascinating complexity in a new transparent case known as the H5. The latest blue H5 model is a limited edition of 25 pieces. Joining two existing H5 models with green and black liquid, the symbolic colour blue was chosen to drive home the message that time is like a river and stops for no man.
Time is liquid
Although clepsydras, or water clocks, have been knocking around since time immemorial, representing time with coloured fluids is exclusive to HYT. Most of you are familiar with HYT’s fluidic representation of time; two immiscible fluids inside a glass capillary are propelled by bellows, one liquid represents elapsed time, the other represents the future and the position where they meet indicates present time.
Erosion as inspiration
The voluminous dimensions of the (predominantly) sapphire crystal case (48.8mm diameter x 20.08mm height) are hallmark HYT. Reminiscent of scientific bell jars, the domed transparent covering reveals every last detail of the movement. Taking natural erosion as a metaphor, the designers at HYT wanted to pare down the layers and get to the ‘naked truth’. And like river pebbles worn down by the constant erosion of water, the case is smooth and almost organic in nature. Looking down into its depths, you can appreciate the multiple layers and contrasting textures of the movement’s architecture and displays.
Instead of making the vivid blue liquid luminescent, the circular tube containing the blue liquid is illuminated from below by a rail of white Super-LumiNova running under the capillary. Thirteen hour markers (6 is duplicated), suspended from a grey metal flange just below the fluidic indication are used to indicate the passing hours. The two bellows at 6 o’clock, responsible for pushing the liquids around the capillary, stand out with their gleaming coils in contrast to the gunmetal bridge and the rest of the elements on the ‘dial’ with their grey matte sandblasted finishes. A touch of red at 3 o’clock is used to highlight the power reserve indicator counterbalanced at 9 o’clock with a small seconds counter. The minutes counter at 12 o’clock features a black openworked hand with a luminescent tip.
Viewed from the side, the H5 offers another intriguing vision of the neoralite hour ring with its large cut-out Arabic numerals glowing in the dark. The fact that there are no lugs allows the (extremely thick) watch to sit surprisingly well on the wrist. It comes with a tapered, perforated grey rubber strap to match the perforated motifs on the crown and a titanium folding clasp.
Proprietary 501 Movement
Developed and manufactured in collaboration with TEC Group and Eric Coudray, the main technical evolution of calibre 501 lies in an intricately shaped cam to synchronize the hour and minute indications with precision, which is one of the main technical challenges for HYT. Its 13 positions offer as many steps to cohesively index the two displays.
A hand-wound movement, the Calibre 501 operates at 4Hz and stores up to 65 hours of power reserve when fully wound. Besides the fluidic hour indication, it displays the minutes at 12 o’clock and the seconds at 9 o’clock. The movement is finished like the dial with grey sandblasted surfaces and the feeler-spindle is polished like the bellows on the dial side.
Availability and price
Produced in a limited edition of just 25 pieces, the H5 with blue fluidic hours has the same price as the former editions: EUR 55,000. More information at hytwatches.com.