Hautlence’s creations are bold… Very bold! They play on the shapes, on the display, on the mechanics, on the style and they have even created objects to be worn on the wrist which are not even timepieces, simply because they don’t indicate the time (think Labyrinth or Pinball pieces). That’s just a different state of mind! And while we knew they could go quite mad with colours, they are now pushing boundaries even further, with the new Hautlence Vortex Gamma, featuring a vibrant case material which can take on any colour or shade, bespoke to the wishes of its clients.
Customization, personalization, unique pieces, bespoke creations… behind these words hide one of the major current trends, where many brands will manufacture watches to the exact specifications of the clients. Far be it from us the idea of complaining, this certainly is one of the many ways to re-create the envy, to bring back collectors to desire watches – and clearly, don’t forget that personalized watches were the norm of the industry for decades… Seeing this coming back is quite refreshing, and could potentially be salvational for smaller brands, which benefit from an inherent flexibility to easily create unique / customized pieces for their clients. Hautlence is well aware of that. In fact, it makes sense. When you’re about to spend a 6-figure amount on a watch, you’re allowed to expect something that others won’t have.
With this in mind, Hautlence will offer an in-depth bespoke experience and a truly personalized setting for its HL2.0 in-house movement and the bold Vortex case that goes along with it. The Vortex was introduced in 2015, as a new take on the emblematic rectangular design of the brand – yet with an even more daring design. Based on the vertically-built HL2.0 movement, the Vortex featured the same display, based on a rotating chain, driven by a mobile regulating organ, and featuring a retrograde minute hand. Yet, in the Vortex, the movement was rotated 90 degrees, to obtain a horizontal shape for both the display and the case.
While the overall design of the watch, with its multiple facets and the six three-dimensional sapphire crystals, hasn’t changed, Hautlence Vortex Gamma introduced a brand new material borrowed from the automotive and aerospace industries, which dramatically changes the proposition. Named HLLightColor, this material is charged with ceramic nanotube particles, and its properties are identical to those of a conventional watch industry metal while being four times lighter than titanium. It is machined with the same precision and to within the same tolerances, thus enabling extremely complex finishing operations, such as those applied on the case of the Vortex Gamma with its alternating brushed, polished and bead-blasted surfaces. So the new Hautlence Vortex Gamma is both super-light, highly resistant and finished with the same care and precision as it if was normal metal.
The most interesting part comes from the fact that this HLLightColor material can be body tinted (and that means that material is intrinsically tinted and not coated) with the entire Pantone colour spectrum (solid colours). Thanks to this, Hautlence opens the door to proper customization, as the final client will be able to choose from over 1,500 colours for the body and the contrasting lines around – the model you see here, in solid yellow with black contrasting lines, was made for demonstration. Yet, any colour that is in the Pantone Color Matching System is possible… and that means quite some possibilities, to say the least. Want a red case with yellow contrasting lines? Possible. You want black with neon blue contrasting lines, just like in TRON movie? Yep, Hautlence can.
In fact, Hautlence has drawn inspiration from the TRON style, stemming from the eponymous sci-fi film directed by Steven Lisberger in 1982. Playing with visual effects showcasing luminescent shapes representing integrated circuits, TRON has given rise to an extremely graphic universe. Below a video with several possibilities:
About the watch itself, no changes. We still have the same large 52mm x 50mm x 18mm case – which surprisingly wears easier on the wrist than one might expect – and with the same high-end, in-house developed automatic movement inside. The display is rather complex. A chain is used to display the hours. Every hour, the chain partially rotates to indicate the hour in a smooth 3 to 4-second move. All the gears that participate to this mechanism are visible from the side of the watch. This chain is powered by a separated barrel (the second one is in charge of the chronometry) and the speed of the chain is regulated and controlled by a governor right in the middle of the watch that works like a shock absorber to counter any disruptive knocks.
The regulating organ is integrated into a rotating mobile bridge-type sub-movement. The balance wheel, the escapement wheel, the pallet fork and the fifth wheel are enclosed in a sort of rotating cage that turns on itself from 60° and that is linked with the motion of the chain, thus creating a one-hour tourbillon. The minutes are indicated by a semi-circular retrograde hand, which controls the motion of the entire movement – as once it reaches 60 and jumps back to 0, it also actuates the jump of the hour and the motion of the chain. Quite a complex movement, with no less than 482 components and 92 jewels.
The Hautlence Vortex Gamma will be produced in 8 pieces only, with all still being opened to personalization – it’s up to the final client to choose the colours for the case, the indexes and the accents on the dial. Up to you to be creative. The price for this Vortex Gamma is CHF 170,000 (inc. taxes). More details on hautlence.com.