It was crowded at HYT during the press conference. Lots of people went to hear Vincent Perriard discuss the inner workings of the H1, the new watch from his new brand called HYT. Teased for months and then recently debuted, the HYT is a high-end geek watch that aims to combine traditional mechanical watches and liquid. The H1 is the brand's first release, with more liquid-themed watches to come in the future. I caught up with Perriard after the conference to get a special hands-on look and presentation from the man himself on the new watch.
If you know Perriard's work in the past you'll be familiar with his enthusiasm and design decisions. Futurism and "doing it differently" are factors that help motivate him. He speaks incredibly fast in French when explaining the watch, and in English shares the same level of insight and passion when showing off his toys. The H1 is an incredibly cool and unnecessary watch - the exact formula which breeds success in this industry when it comes to watches are this level. I first covered the HYT H1 here when I debuted it for the world.
Hands-on the H1 is pretty much what I expected - which is good. A bold futuristic design that is large on the wrist but still quite wearable. The case is a hefty 48.8mm wide and it is 17.8mm thick. With dropping lugs it is meant to fit on most wrists pretty well. You can't help but notice the two bellows in the movement and ring of luminescent green liquid used to indicate the hours. The conceptual execution seems flawless, especially as you adjust the hours back and forward and the green goo moves around the scale promptly. It basically uses pressure, but nothing like this has ever been done using a crown as far as I know - and perhaps not on this small of a scale.
The piece we are checking out is in titanium coated with black DLC. There is a non-coated titanium version, as well as an all 18k pink gold and 18k pink gold mixed with black version. These four models will launch the brand and apparently have their first few batches of productions sold to retailers who will sell HYT watches all over the world.
Perriard likes to make high-end toys as I mentioned. The H1 feels exactly like that. It is like something a clever child would dream up. It is also something a grown-up child would happily wear. It takes a lot of technical expertise to full appreciate what the movement is doing, but the concept in action is something almost anyone can enjoy. I think Perriard understands this concept best - that if you are going to have a successful new watch brand selling high-priced items, its needs to be something that will wow the average person.
On the dial you have the retrograde liquid indicator for the hours, and a dial for the minutes - both are easy to read. There is a subsidiary seconds dial and a useful power reserve indicator for the manually wound movement. Perriard flips to the rear of the watch and explains how he wanted the movement to be finished and decorated in a relatively classic way - not wanting to potentially alienate core consumer watch lovers. The cheeky accordion bellows on the dial are something you've certainly never seen on a dial before. Such a signature element is sure to become an icon of the brand.
With a starting price of about $45,000 (up to the mid $60,000 range for the gold models) the H1 sits in a very interesting price zone. Most people expected the price to be much higher, say over $100,000. The price is still totally out of the question for most people, but it does give the wealthly, versus the ultra-rich a better opportunity to own and enjoy a highly exotic watch. Myself, among others, are enjoying what the H1 offers in style and poise, as well as technical innovation. Perriard promises more and more complication in the future, so I anticipate that the H1 is going to be their entry level model for the years to come. Usually brands like this start with an ultra-high flagship model, but getting the tech right was likely the most important thing for HYT to begin. I really like what they are doing and CEO Perriard's passion for the product certainly sweetens the deal. Look for HYT H1 watches in select retailers soon.