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Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Years ago, watch designer Jorg Hysek began an eponymous brand known as Hysek. Since then, the brand has become independent, but they have maintained many of the core designs that Hysek himself set forth. One of his most popular designs was the Abyss watch collection. From its simple origins comes this Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon which is really a high-luxury extension of the brand’s contemporary dive-style watch collection. So let’s take a hands-on look.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As I mentioned, at its core, the Abyss design is diver-style with a modern twist. As an actual diver… well, that is another story. This tourbillon model in 18k gold is only water resistant to 30 meters, which is the same as many Patek Philippe dress watches. My point is that this is a sports-style watch, versus an actual sports watch given its durability. So, for those cowboys wanting to rock a gold tourbillon in the waves, there might be (just a few) other better choices.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Hysek Abyss case is 44mm wide and, again, here in 18k rose gold. The bezel (non rotating, I believe) has a nice sapphire crystal insert, and a nice clean look to it in combination with its diver-style design. One of the better design features of the Abyss case (in addition to the cool proprietary screws) are the articulating lugs with angle up and down for a better fit on the wrist. Hysek likes to calls these lugs “swiveling horns.” The flanks on the sides of the case hearken to Gerald Genta’s classic designs.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Things get a lot more interesting when you look at the dial – which is where much of the visual interest comes in to play. It all starts with the in-house-made Hysek Calibre HW03A automatic movement. As a tourbillon, this is one rather decent movement that has about 70 hours of power reserve operating at 4Hz. Features include a big date indicator (with a “semi-instantaneous jumping big date”) the time (with tourbillon acting as a sub seconds indicator), and power reserve indicator. In total, the movement is produced from 412 parts.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

What is very cool, in my opinion, is just how Hysek decided to display the movement through the partially skeletonized dial. This is a particular design choice that some people love, and some people dislike. I call it the “partially deconstructed look,” because the whole point is to artfully cut away at the dial and movement to reveal the necessary components. The aesthetic almost appears an organic “tearing away” (in an horological style) of the dial to reveal the movement. Thus, about half of the dial is complete and the other half is torn away revealing the movement. Hysek debuted the HW03A movement in about 2010, and it remains a handsome caliber in terms of features and design. While it lacks a sense of traditional elegance, I like the contemporary look of the Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon’s dial as well as its blending of modern and traditional visual elements.


Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One interesting design choice was in how the Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon’s dial is actually skeletonized. You have a look that is meant to mimic the style of how some mechanical movement bridges are designed. Look at the plate and bridges-style cut-away of the dial elements as well as the beveled gold edges. While the concept is strictly “horological,” it reminds me of imagery from Hollywood movies where a robot or machine has some of its “skin” removed so that you can see what people are meant to see as well as the inner workings of the machine. This is a very poetic theme which works very well for modern mechanical watches when a lot of the price is based on the mechanical movement within. If you are going to charge a premium for a watch because of the movement, you might as well feature it prominently.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One of the lowest-cost examples of this concept we have reviewed over the years that I can recall is the Orient Racing Automatic (aBlogtoWatch review here). Of course, you have examples of this partially skeletonized watch dial concept in timepieces at reasonable prices and high-luxury models like the Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Viewable through the open part of the dial are the tourbillon as well as the power reserve indicator. The fantasy of the design is that these elements are normally “hidden” under the dial but exposed because it would be a shame to hide them. In many ways, the Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon is a sort of high-end fashion watch given that has more artistic focus than it does on being a utilitarian timepiece. But in many ways, that is OK for the demographic interested in them.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

While you might love or hate the design, I happen to be fond of it as someone who is keen on contemporary watch design. Sure, it has some issues such as the lack of water resistance, locked bezel, and “Limited Edition” text on the dial (which really doesn’t need to be there). Nevertheless, the dial remains legible and the overall look of the case is modern but restrained. In fact, the relative simplicity of the case contrasts artistically with the exposed elements of the dial.

Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A unique and exotic treat, the Hysek Abyss 44mm Tourbillon in 18k rose gold is a good watch for a lot of niche watch collectors – which is probably what Hysek intended, as the model is part of a limited edition of just 88 pieces. Price is up there, at $162,200.

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  • Chaz

    Just because you write “Limited Edition” on the dial doesn’t mean people will be duped into buying it…

  • Overall I like it. But… the red on the hands and power reserve are distracting. And “Abyss” is not the best name for a watch with 30 meters of water resistance. With the gold beveling on the dial “plates” I think gold screws holding the plates down would look better. The incredibly small hour dots at 2 and 4 could have been eliminated as I doubt they are very visible outside of macro photos. For that matter, the 1 and 5 look fine but with just the two of them, they could have been jettisoned as well. And “Automatic Tourbillon Limited Edition” is fine except that they forgot to also include “Power Reserve, Big Date, Partial Skeleton, Watch” (OK, I’ll stop now).

  • SuperStrapper

    Truly terrible.

  • So a diver’s bezel that doesn’t rotate, superfluous redundant dial text, what appears to be chronograph pushers on a watch that isn’t a chronograph, giant “1” and “5” Arabic numerals, red-tips hands on rose gold hands, and a product named “Abyss” that can’t be taken in the water.

    And those aren’t even the most egregious design missteps. The caseback stamped with “Gold” is when gets me right in the eye. Not even “18K Rose Gold” or something playful like “AuCuAg”. Just the word “Gold” written in the world’s most boring block font. I don’t understand how a company who come up with such a novel lug design can get everything else wrong. This looks like something you’d buy on eBay and have shipped from China for $100.


    whoa that is a lot of ugly. GOLDDDDDDDDDDD. This may not be for the one that wants to be subtle but as Valannin said really cool lug design then you finish this thing w a hammer. I don’t get it. Maybe a version in Ti would have been better but it feels someone threw a few elements in last minute. let’s through in some fake pushers and at 162K you can’t do a screw down crown and make it reasonably water resistant. Maybe the movement is nicely done w beveled edges but hard to tell on the pics. what is special about the movement? describe more of that vs. it is in house. Alpina, Damasko, Tudor, CWard ….have in house movements so what makes this one so special…. granted w a tourbillon which is so rare these days

  • wallydog2

    As to on which side of the ledger this Hysek should be, watch-as-tool or watch-as-jewelry, it’s perfectly clear. (I’m retired, so I have the time to figure out what time it is. I want one!)

    • That you Fraser?

      • wallydog2

        Dammit! You’ve blown my cover. As an International Man of Mystery I’m operating under “wallydog2”. Don’t tell anyone. Sheesh!

  • DanW94

    Tweak a few elements and you have a nice looking dial. The curved dial bridges and the dial pattern is attractive. Omit the 1 and 5 and the text and place the date at 3. The bezel screws are cool, but it’s not a sport watch so the numbers should go. The case is a whole other issue. Sometimes less is more.

  • Marius

    This looks like a cheap Chinese tourbillon, in fact, a cheap Chinese tourbillon is one league above this monstrosity. Also, a cheap Chinese tourbillon has a much better finished movement. Lastly, I wonder who will buy this watch, since Floyd `Pretty Boy` Mayweather just recently bought an iced-out Hublot for $1 million. Unless Floyd `Money` Mayweather gets bored with the Hublot really quick, I can`t really imagine anyone else being prepared to spend $163,000 for this Hysek.

  • … as in abysmal? This is a glorious mess. It could be tweaked into submission, but still would have to lose a t least two zeros in the price. Those lipstick hands are terrible. It all conspires to make this thing look embarrassingly cheap looking. In it’s present state, I wouldn’t wear it let alone let it slip that I dropped $163,000 on it.

  • iamcalledryan

    In a less conspicuous case, with less conspicuous lugs, and totally different hands, this would look pretty nice IMO.

  • Richard Baptist

    When I look at this watch then find out the price, I know we’re in a bubble.

  • JP. Coqueran

    This is the PERFECT example of the Swiss Watch industry totally losing it’s mind. Throw a tourbillion into a big gold case (with a nod to Genta) with a stupid hard to read dial and let’s sell it for $162,200!!! I think Jorg Hysek went indipendent so no one could fire him for his awful designs. This thing looks like a gold pig with red nail polish. I think the articulating lugs and the crown are the best things about this watch. I kinda like the underside too, well I did until I saw that it reads GOLD in big bold letters as well as 750 on the lugs, seriously? I guess you’re needed to be reminded that it is a gold watch and not a cheap brass/bronze POC from Orient Trading.

  • Ulysses31

    “Red rocket” hands… A confusing amalgam of classic and sporty elements. I like the date window, but little else.

    • Thank you Cartman for that visual. (shudders)

  • spiceballs

    Perhaps more an “amyss” than “abyss”?

  • Boogur T. Wang

    It’s made of “GOLD.”
    It says so right in the back !

  • Bruce Wang

    This is the best way for “easy money”, independent (which means very exclusive), tourbillion (the most complex, more you can ask “higher”), gold (you are wearing…gold!) and limited edition (everything is limited nowadays including your “money”) and yes, it is a timepiece for collection and for fews (as always)…..sorry to inform to you: you are late, it is sold out…..kkk….

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