Hautlence has been quiet for a few years but in 2022 we saw a resurgence of what is one of the most creative and expressive independent watchmaking companies in the industry. Part of the fun in the watches by Hautlence, which is an anagram for Neuchatel, lies in the unconventional displays of time. Whether it’s a linear jumping hour display, retrograde indications or even a wandering hour complication, the brand does it all. The comeback also reintroduced the rectangular TV-screen-shaped case, a signature design ethos since the beginning of the company. For 2023, Hautlence is bringing back another very cool way to tell time, with the all-new Sphere Series 1.
The new style of the case was introduced with the Linear Series 1 & 2 and the Vagabonde Series 4 and is a redesign of the TV-screen shape we saw in the past. The updated design has a more contemporary and expressive look and measures 43mm in length and 50.8mm in width. The height of the case, despite the space required for the Sphere Series 1’s unique hour display, is a very reasonable 11.9mm. The case has two protruding elements in the baseband, one on the left side and one on the right side, which also protects the crown. This crown has a blue rubber ring to match the other blue elements and provides extra grip to wind and set the watch. The angular exterior is alternatingly brushed and polished, and fitted with a bevelled sapphire crystal on top and a flat one on the back.
Split into two halves basically, the left side of the rhodium-plated frosted base dial opens up to what I think is one of the most fun and creative jumping hour complications in the industry. Constructed out of polished grade 5 titanium half spheres, finished with a blue PVD coating, the number proudly displayed on top is the one of the correct hour. The rest of the white Super-LumiNova digits are spread evenly on the surface of the spheres. Every hour on the hour, the entire construction makes a jump to the next hour thanks to four conical gears rotating the sphere on three axes. Although there’s a logical sequence to it, obviously, it appears a somewhat random motion which only adds to the fun. The other side of the dial is reserved for the retrograde minutes, displayed with a blue PVD-coated hand travelling along a sapphire minute track with Globolight indices from 00 to 60. Underneath that, you get a good idea of the complexity inside the Sphere Series 1.
Inside, almost hidden in plain view, is the in-house manually wound Calibre A80. This complex mechanical movement is constructed using 215 components, including 37 jewels. Running at a frequency of 3Hz, or 21,600vph, it holds up to 72 hours of running time when fully wound. The finishing on both sides is rather modern and technical, with darkened elements throughout and a mix of brushed and polished elements throughout. The balance wheel can be seen in the top left corner on the reverse side of the movement, with the ratchet wheel and click, openworked barrel and more accompanying it. Fun fact; The hairspring is produced in-house by sister company Precision Engineering AG (part of the MELB Luxe group, who also own H. Moser & Cie), which is far from easy to do.
Hautlence puts the new Sphere Series 1 on a blue rubber strap that’s neatly integrated into the TV-shaped case, finished with a stainless steel buckle. From our experience with the Vagabonde Series 4 and the Linear Series 1 (and Series 2) this rubber strap is super comfortable and makes the relatively large watch a joy to wear. The same is to be expected with this new interpretation of the Sphere. It is limited to 28 pieces and will retail for a price that is yet to be confirmed. Certainly a lot of money, but you get a watch with one of the most original and creative ways to tell time in return.
For more information, please visit Hautlence.com