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HYT is a decidedly new brand, especially considering the standards of watchmaking, where it is normal to find brands with a decades-long and, in many cases, even centuries-old history.
This time they came with one of the most brillant technical challenge in watchmaking: the HYT Conical Tourbillon Limited Edition. Why so? Because for the age of time, all manufacturers have declared war on water and humidity, which have always been extremely dangerous enemies for the correct and prolonged functioning of their precious timepieces.
A revolutionary liquid system to tell the time
Everything changed in 2012. That’s when HYT brought out a new kind of watch that uses liquid to show the time.
The watch has a tiny tube that is less than a millimeter wide. Inside this tube, there are two liquids that can’t mix together. They are different colors and show the time by the space between them. One liquid glows and the other is clear. These two liquids move around the edge of the watch face. This creates a traditional, yet very modern, way of showing the time that goes back to the start after reaching the end.
The HYT Conical Tourbillon: A technical challenge
The new HYT Conical Tourbillon watch is truly amazing to look at and very interesting from a technical perspective. It combines a complicated conical tourbillon with HYT’s unique liquid technology. This gives the watch a completely unique style that you won’t find anywhere else.
The conical tourbillon
HYT has been pushing the boundaries of modern high-end watchmaking for ten years, both in how the watches look and how they work. The HYT Conical Tourbillon is the result of these efforts. This watch represents everything that makes HYT special.
The heart of the watch face features a conical tourbillon that makes a full clockwise turn every 30 seconds. You can also see three spheres that rotate at different speeds. The first one makes four full turns a minute, the second one makes five turns a minute, and the third one makes six turns a minute, also in a clockwise direction.
While from a conceptual point of view it is not so complicated, the practical implementation, and moreover on such a small scale, make it technically challenging to manufacture the HYT Conical Tourbillon
Watchmaking at a very small scale
The curved capillary that runs around the dial has a diameter of 0.8 mm and the two ends terminate in watertight bellows with walls four times finer than a human hair. The first filled with a transparent liquid and the second with a fluorescent one that takes on different colors based on the model. The fluids inside the capillary are governed by a mechanical movement which, instead of moving hands, activates two pistons which compress and expand the two bellows positioned at 6 o’clock.
Inside the first bellows there is also a third, aimed at canceling the influences of temperature and pressure on the bellows and liquids in order to guarantee the HYT Conical Tourbillon a better reading accuracy
Spinning spheres to guarantee time accuracy
These spinning spheres might seem like they would throw the watch off balance. But, in fact, they help keep the tourbillon’s rhythm steady. The energy from four cylinders powers the spheres, helping to keep the watch’s timekeeping very accurate.
The spheres in the watch are made by a glass blower using traditional methods. Each sphere is unique and made with great skill and precision. The walls of these spheres are incredibly thin. They also have a special glow-in-the-dark liquid inside them, which is a very complicated process to do and needs a real expert.
Two specially trained watchmakers work just on this amazing movement that combines technical skill with traditional craftsmanship. The whole watch has 750 parts. This includes 533 parts for the movement, 159 parts for the tourbillon cage, 39 parts for the watch face, and 66 parts for the watch case.
No one expected such a novelty and this earned the brand numerous awards, including the prestigious award for innovative watch of the year at the Grand Prix D’Horologerie de Geneve in 2012.
In the following years numerous variations of this system were introduced, with capillaries that took on different shapes but, thanks to the uncommon aspect and some recurring defects, it struggled to find its place on the market. It was then one of the companies that fell victim to the pandemic, but it was an innovation too fascinating to be lost. Kairos Technology Switzerland SA took over the brand with all its assets and, with the appointment of industry veteran Davide Cerrato as CEO of the resurrected brand, a new era began for the Neuchâtel Maison.
Last year was the tenth anniversary of the first foundation and to celebrate this event the most complicated watch ever made by the brand was presented.
The Conical Tourbillon Limited Edition
With this model, HYT turns totally to the future, it is a timepiece that seems to come from deep space, from an evolved alien civilization that finally expresses the potential of the brand.
Indeed, in collaboration with Eric Coudray, a hand-wound movement with a central tourbillon is created inspired by Walter Prendel’s 1928 inclined balance tourbillon. With a balance spring inclined 30 degrees from the horizontal, an escape wheel at 15 degrees and a at 23 degrees, this conical tourbillon rotates clockwise every 30 seconds.
As if it were the center of a planetary system, three glass spheres with a diameter of 2.5 mm filled with luminescent liquid orbit around it and rotate on themselves at different speeds: four revolutions per minute for the first, five for the second and six for the third, to underline once again the extraordinary ability of the Maison to work with hollow glass of reduced thickness.
The dial develops on a multitude of levels and, made of brass with a black coating, is composed of 39 different pieces that give it an uncommon depth. The small parts and the hour indication stand out in green, the latter made of three-dimensional luminescent paste that relate well to the tone of the liquid that indicates the retrograde hours.
All of this is then enclosed in a 48 mm carbon and black-coated titanium case. Composed of 66 elements with lateral grids that reproduce the grids present on the hour band on the dial, it is surmounted by a real sapphire dome with anti-reflection treatment, the only way to contain the imposing tourbillon and who knows, perhaps also to symbolize the celestial vault of a dystopian sci-fi universe.
With this timepiece, HYT finds its place in the world of complications that seem to come from another planet, and it does so in a disruptive way, enhancing its roots and projecting them towards the future.
This is top watchmaking and innovation that seems to want to stay around for a long time this time. We hope it stays on this path and continues to impress with ever new elements, without losing the features that have made the brand famous around the world.
Price and availability
As its name suggests, the Conical Tourbillon Limited Edition, reference H02759-A, is a limited edition of 8 pieces and has a list price of 335,000 CHF excluding taxes.
To find out more about this brand or this particular watch, please visit the HYT Instagram Website.
Questions & Answers about HYT watches
What happened to HYT watches?
HYT watches is a Swiss watchmaker that experienced some changes in recent times. According to available information, HYT watches faced financial challenges and had to undergo a period of reorganization. They encountered difficulties in managing their operations and sustaining their business. As a result, there were reports of layoffs and restructuring within the company. It is important to note that specific details about the current status of HYT watches may be limited and subject to change, as information can vary over time.
What is the most expensive HYT watch?
The most expensive HYT watch known to date is the HYT H4 Alinghi, created in collaboration with the sailing team Alinghi. This timepiece showcases exquisite craftsmanship and unique design elements. It incorporates innovative features such as a fluidic module to display time using liquid-filled tubes. The HYT H4 Alinghi is a limited edition watch, with only a small number of pieces produced, contributing to its exclusivity and high price. While exact pricing can fluctuate and depend on factors such as availability and market demand, the HYT H4 Alinghi is generally considered to be among the most luxurious and costly timepieces offered by HYT watches.
Who makes HYT watches?
HYT watches are manufactured by HYT, a Swiss watch company renowned for its inventive and distinctive approach to timekeeping. The company was founded in 2012 by a team of talented engineers and watchmakers who sought to revolutionize the traditional concept of displaying time. HYT watches combine traditional Swiss craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology to create unique timepieces that feature fluidic modules using liquid-filled tubes to indicate the hours. The company’s headquarters and production facilities are located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, a region renowned for its watchmaking heritage. HYT watches have gained recognition in the horological industry for their innovative designs and the fusion of mechanical and fluidic engineering.
How does HYT watch work?
HYT watches employ a distinctive mechanism to display time using a fluidic module. Instead of traditional watch hands or digital displays, HYT watches feature a circular tube filled with a special colored liquid to represent the hours. The liquid moves gradually through the tube, driven by a bellows system that compresses and expands. As the liquid progresses, it indicates the current hour. To indicate the minutes, traditional watch hands or a separate subdial are typically utilized. The fluidic module operates through a complex system of mechanics and miniaturized components, including pistons, capillaries, and bellows. Precise engineering ensures that the liquid’s movement remains synchronized with the hours throughout the day. This innovative approach to displaying time sets HYT watches apart from conventional timepieces and highlights their commitment to pushing the boundaries of horological design.
How long can you leave a watch unwound?
The length of time a watch can be left unwound without adversely affecting its performance can vary depending on several factors. Typically, modern mechanical watches have a power reserve, which is the duration the watch can run without winding or wearing it. Power reserves can vary from a few hours to several days, depending on the specific watch model and its movement type. Some watches have manual winding mechanisms, while others can be self-winding through the natural motion of the wearer’s arm. If a watch is left unwound beyond its power reserve, it will stop running until it is manually wound or reactivated. However, it is generally recommended to wind and wear a watch regularly to keep it in optimal condition and prevent lubricants from drying out. If you plan to leave a watch unwound for an extended period, it is advisable to consult the watch’s manual or contact the manufacturer for specific guidelines regarding power reserve and storage.