HYT Watches is a young brand (remember that the HYT H1 was presented during Baselworld 2012) but it is also one of the most impressive developments of the independent watchmakers‘ industry (the Indies as we love to name them) we’ve seen lately. Not only HYT has now 19 references, spread around the H1 and the H2, but sales are massively increasing. These are very good news for sure, but recently, the Hydro-Mechanical Horologists came with something that pleased our love for traditional and complicated watchmaking, the arrival of Dominique Renaud as head of of the Fine Watchmaking department.
Dominique Renaud may not be familiar to you… alone. But when this name is linked to Giulio Papi, it may give you some clues on who is this man. D. Renaud is indeed the Renaud of Audemars-Piguet Renaud & Papi (APRP), the famous manufacture responsible for the development of so many complicated watches, such as Richard Mille or the most complicated AP Royal Oaks (for example, the recently revealed Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph).
Back in 1986, Dominique Renaud and Giulio Papi left Audermars-Piguet and founded their own manufacture, dedicated exclusively to Haute Horlogerie. The mission of this team was to create, for several other brands, the most complicated watches possible, including tourbillons, minute repeaters or unusual displays. What they came up with is pretty impressive: the Fuse-chain from A. Lange & Sohne, the IWC Grandes Complications or the Jaeger LeCoultre Micro Repetition Minute. And of course, they continued to work closely with their former employer, AP. In 1992, Audemars-Piguet acquired the majority of the manufacture and created what we know know as APRP. Dominque Renaud left APRP a few years after, leaving Guilio Papi alone at the head of the manufacture. We though it was an end for the Master Watchmaker, until the beginning of September 2014, as Dominique just came back into the industry, as part of the HYT Watches’ team.
What does it mean for HYT? First, the role of Dominique Renaud at the head of watchmaking is to create a team of watchmakers. For the moment, the movements are not assembled by HYT but by Chronode (for the H1) and by APRP (for the H2). Dominique Renaud and Vincent Perriard (CEO of HYT Watches) want to create first an assembly workshop inside HYT and later maybe a small manufacture for some in-house calibres. Then Dominique Renaud will also be responsible for the development of the mechanical part of the watches, bringing with him all his knowledges, acquired after years at APRP and some of the many inventions and patterns he had not used yet.
The clear intention of D. Renaud is to integrate the fluidic system into the movement of the watch and not only to use it as an indication. Nothing is sure yet but from his words “we plan to count time with liquids” and Vincent also suggested the idea of integrated a fluidic-minute indication, a fluidic-date, a fluidic-counter or the possibility to have this fluid inside the movement. That’s of course something that will required a huge amount of energy and Dominique Renaud is more than qualified to help on this subject, knowing the capacity of APRP to develop high-power movements. All of these news are presaging some highly interesting developments and also show the wish of HYT to create a real brand, with a collection of several watches, of course deeply complicated and dictated also by traditional watchmaking.
Some news about HYT
When we’ve been talking with Vincent Perriard, the CEO of HYT Watches, the first question was of course: “How does HYT and the team feel?” And the answer was pretty enthusiastic. HYT is producing now around 500 pieces a year (2014 predictions) and grows fast. After a year of hesitations, with a slow deliveries for the H1 and H2, the company now runs on normal basis and sales are really encouraging.
The other thing we’ve seen during our visit at HYT Watches? Vincent introduced us 3D renders of the next editions that will be presented during Baselworld 2015. It’s of course too early to tell you more about it, but believe us, you’ll be impressed. Stay tuned on Monochrome-Watches for more news and also for the full review of the HYT H2 DLC Titanium that will be online soon. In order to wait, here is a preview.