HYT is a brand which, in its own words, produces hydro-mechanical watches. As is implied by the name, they use mechanical movements as the base for liquid-filled displays varying from the minimalistic H0 to the futuristic H3. Today, I would like to present a brand-new watch which is the fruit of 5 years’ work and which presents an elegantly luxurious method of mating mechanical and hydraulic systems.
This is the new H5: a watch which promises to be a spectacle for those who enjoy something different. Limited to 25 pieces in each of two variants, this is a watch of dimensions to impress. The H5 features a diameter of 48.8mm and a thickness of 20.08mm as a consequence of its unique and futuristically-organic shape. This shape is accentuated by the majority of its visible surface being covered by a heavily domed, bespoke sapphire crystal. Surrounding this crystal and offering a secure base, the case is brushed stainless steel to match the peculiar crown at 2 o’clock. In all honesty, however, the case is hardly the focal point of such a wrist-mounted marvel.
Considering that the movement and the display (the term ‘dial’ seems laughably far from the truth) are inextricably linked on the H5, I will first discuss its ground-breaking movement. At the heart of this watch is a highly sculptural calibre 501 which beats at 4Hz and gives a 65-hour power reserve. To complement the ultra-futuristic styling, the movement does not follow the norms of high horology. Instead, HYT have simply sandblasted the surface and given it rudimentary bevelled edges. In spite of this, the quality of these finishes promises to retain serious drama especially with the complexity of the movement on offer. As a result of the height of the movement and the almost complete view afforded a wearer by the exhibition caseback and sapphire crystal, one is able to fully enjoy the conversion of winding into motion.
The most striking aspect of the movement is, without doubt, the incorporation of hydraulics — the oft-stated enemy of a mechanism. The hours are visible through the progress of a green or black dyed liquid down a borosilicate tube and the regression of a corresponding colourless one. This unique display is achieved through the presence of two bellows with walls four times thinner than a human hair and ceramic fluidic restrictors. These control the movement of fluids in the glass tube with a long level which follows 13 components arranged on a wheel. Forming a spiral cam, these parts gradually push the fluid through the system. Unsurprisingly, the system is thermo-compensated to avoid any temperature-related maladies.
The glass tube display is made legible from the front by a marked flange or chapter ring. From the side, the drama continues as we witness a glowing neoralite hour ring with the HYT logo appearing that 6 o’clock. Aside from this striking addition, the other displays are relatively conventional. The black minute hand is placed at 12 o’clock and revolves within its own floating disk whilst the seconds rotate freely at 9:30. Opposite these we see a jewelled pivot supporting the power reserve hand: a practical addition to a manual watch.
All things considered, this is a watch which I will be very keen to handle. I suspect that the smooth shape of the case will feel very different in the hand: perhaps somewhere between and Ikepod and a pebble found on the beach. In any case, it’s a beautiful piece of design and an innovative demonstration of what is achievable with clockwork.
Availability: CHF 55,000 (LE of 25 pieces per model)
- Dimensions: 48.8mm x 20.08mm
- Material: Stainless steel crown and case / Titanium buckle
- Crystal: Heavily domed sapphire crystal and sapphire exhibition caseback
- Display: Borosilicate capillary tube with dyed liquid displays the hours & Super-Luminova rail / Case is surrounded by a neoralite hour ring with Super-Luminova illumination / Small subdials display the minutes, seconds and the power reserve
- Water Resistance: 5 ATM / 50m
- Movement: Calibre 501: Time & power reserve indicator / Small seconds, minutes & power reserve indicator / Unique bellow system for hydraulic hour display / Sandblasted rhodium plated bridges / 4Hz, 28,800 vph, or 8 tick-per-second beat rate / 65-hour power reserve / 41 jewels / Manually wound
For further information, head over to the HYT website.