The much anticipated and highly fawned over HYT H1 Hydro Mechanical watch is now shipping to retailers globally. Just the fact that HYT is telling us this is a good sign. Why? Well when we go to shows liked Baselworld to see new products, they are often prototypes or pre-production models. Brands use those experiences with the media and retailers to determine how many watches to build, or whether certain pieces should be produced at all. Immediately after people like me see cool stuff we want to write about them. For example, I did a hands-on article with the HYT H1 watch here. Consumers interested in the watches after learning about them at that point have no opportunities to buy them. When they are eventually released most brands offer no announcement which really makes it difficult for people to know when the timepieces they want to buy are eventually available for sale.
HYT announces the global release of the HYT H1 watch collection with a fun video, and an actual announcement which is nice. So if you were waiting for the HYT H1 watch to be available - they are now (through limited in availability until 2013). The video looks pretty darn cool and I am looking forward to getting my hands on a production version of the H1. Now that the pieces are ready for sale I wanted to ask HYT CEO Vincent Perriard a few questions about how it all went:
ABTW: You recently started shipping the HYT H1 watch. What ended up being some of the most popular versions, and what parts of the world seem to be ordering the most HYT watches?
HYT: The number 1 version is the H1 TITANIUM DLC (Black). It shall represent (unit wise) 40% of the demand (we have 3 other versions). The demand and initial clients are fairly split on the different continents. But we can confirm a very strong demand in the US and Latin America.
ABTW: Given how novel and complex the movement is, what are some difficulties that you needed to overcome in "mass producing" the watches as opposed to making just a few prototypes?
HYT: We really are not into a "mass production" system. In 2012, we are manufacturing only 80 pieces. But next year we shall bring the production up to around 350 units. Our team is ready to deliver this level of production. Funny enough, the latest challenges we had to face were coming from a "pure" mechanical watch perspective (vs. the fluidic module system which is highly complex). The watch industry is still facing issues on deliveries of dials and watch cases. We recently needed to be next to our partner to get enough dials and enough watch cases to assemble the H1.
ABTW: The HYT H1 watch has been covered in media all over the world. What are some of the more interesting comments journalists or collector's have made in regard to the HYT concept or watches?
HYT: Really difficult to answer because of the number of comments! For example, in just 3 days, last January when we posted the video introducing HYT, we had… 380,000 views on YouTube ! in just 3 days… We have seen how strong can be the impact with a real innovative product. Mixing liquids with mechanics has really stoked the attention worldwide.