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HYT: Live and Let Dye

November 12, 2014
HYT adds a splash of color to its hydromechanical watches with new red and blue hour indicators.

More than a simple cosmetic change, creating these new fluid colors presented a formidable technical hurdle. To better understand why, HYT CEO Vincent Perriard says it's important to remember that the hour "hand" is actually comprised of two liquids, one colored and water-based and the other clear and viscous. "The challenge is to keep these two fluids separate so they never mix," he explains. "That means we not only had to develop a new colored liquid, but also find the formula for its viscous counterpart." Starting from scratch, the company spent a year developing the red display and more than 18 months on the blue version.

Fluid Movements

A standout among these kaleidoscopic debuts is the H2 Titanium Platinum SQ. Its red liquid moves like a retrograde hand as it traces the curves of the round platinum bezel. When it reaches the titanium dome at 6 o'clock, the red recedes and then continues its journey from its starting point.

In the H2, this revolutionary fluid indicator is paired with a caliber designed by master watchmaker Giulio Papi. By angling the bellows that contain the liquids into a V-shape, he created more space to show off the movement architecture, including the oscillating balance wheel at the top of the dial. The design also adds functionality with a central minutes hand, a crown position indicator and a thermal gauge that lets you know when the watch is in its optimal temperature range.

The view from the back has evolved as well. The H2ís large crystal caseback reveals two mainspring barrels used to store the watch's eight-day power reserve. Instead of adding a conventional power reserve indicator, HYT skeletonized the barrels so you can observe the tension in the springs and quickly see if the watch needs winding.

Personal Time

The new hues, however, arenít limited to the H2 collection. This year, HYT also introduced several colorful limited editions, including the H1 Dracula DLC (50 pieces) and the H1 Sand Barth (25 pieces). The latter opens up a range of creative possibilities the likes of which have never been seen in high-end watchmaking.

Like the H1 AZO Project and H1 Graphite Project introduced last year, the H1 Sand Barth features a case made from polyepoxyde, an extremely strong material thatís four times lighter than titanium. With the earlier models, HYT tinted the material to create colored cases.

For this latest version, the brand went a step further by injecting the polyepoxyde resin with grains of white sand taken from a beach on St. Barths. "This resin can capture any solid element you can imagine. It could be bubbles from your favorite Champagne, or even flakes of tobacco from a cigar. The possibilities are amazing." Perriard says.

With this exciting new development, HYT is taking bespoke watchmaking to a whole new level.

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