Allow me to officially debut liquid timekeeping to you. I teased the HYT H1 watch here recently by showing off the movement and the teaser video (more images there too). Now I can show you the full watch and discuss all that it is. In short, the HYT (Hydro Mechanical Horologists) brand will be dedicated to producing watches with liquid in them. The debut model is called the H1.
HYT CEO Vincent Perriard called the first "new" Concord watch the C1 when he was the CEO there a few years ago. There is a lot of similarity here in terms of the modernist conceptualization and presentation of the concept. Though the H1 is something altogether new. The watch uses a liquid filled chamber to display the hours using luminescent green goo in a circular tube. Two bellows are used to push and pull the liquid to show the time on the scale. These bellows are operated by the movement. The minutes are displayed in the center of the face with a dedicated dial, and there is a water turbine style subsidiary seconds hand to the left of it. On the right is a power reserve indicator for the mechanical movement.
Nothing like this has been done before. HYT claims that there are seven pending patents for this watch alone. The brand worked with a number of consultants to produce the movement. They have fancy names like Preciflex and Chronode - and are among the elite group of horological engineers in Switzerland that are able to make stuff like this a reality. This is probably one of the most interesting watches to view while adjusting the time.
Pistons in the movement move the bellows. As one expands the other one compresses which moves the liquid. The green colors comes from "fluorescein" which I am going to venture to say is not safe to drink. According to HYT the watch is designed with as much shock protection as possible to ensure the systems are kept safe and that you can wear the watch as normal.
The HYT H1 is a pretty sizable watch. Wear this and you'll get noticed for sure. Especially by the TSA while traveling in the airport. Anyone other than an elite group of watch lovers around the world are going to be mesmerized by this mechanonaut on your wrist.
Coming in three case styles the H1 will be available in titanium, DLC black coated titanium, and 18k red gold. The case will be 48.8mm wide and a pretty massive 17.9mm thick. Actually that is small considering it has bellows in it. Design-wise the case reminds me a lot of the Clerc Hydroscaph. It isn't a 1:1 clone by any means, but if you compare the two you will see obvious design influences. Then there is the rubber-coated crown and the crown protector. It looks a lot like the crown and crown protector layout on the Bremont Supermarine watch. Nothing wrong with that, it is just interesting to see where the HYT team gathered influence to make this otherwise very unique creation.
The movement has a power reserve of 65 hours and is visible through the rear of the watch. I think it looks very nice and the functions are acceptable given the complexity of the liquid system as well as the price of the watch. This is going to be a cool watch to get some hands-on time with at Baselworld 2012. Price was surprisingly not uber-crazy. The HYT H1 in titanium will be priced at $45,000. No word yet on the price in 18k red gold.
Technical data from HYT:
Movement: mechanical hand-wound, exclusive HYT calibre, 28,800 vph, 4 Hz, 35 jewels, bridges hand-chamfered and adorned with Côtes de Genève, rhodiumed bellows, 65-hour power reserve
Functions retrograde fluid hours, minutes, seconds
Case: titanium; diameter: 48.8 mm, thickness: 17.9 mm brushed, bead-blasted and satin-brushed finish
rubber-clad screw-lock crown
titanium crown guard
screw-locked added lugs
metal dome at 06:00
cambered sapphire crystal with glareproofed interior
screw-down sapphire back
Dial: unstructured, silver-toned opaline
fluid hours, luminescent hands and hour-markers regulator at 12:00
small seconds wheel at 09:30
power-reserve indicator at 02:30
Strap: hand-sewn leather-lined canvas, pin buckle
Other versions: black DLC-coated titanium case, black subdial
5N 18K red gold case, black subdial