June 12, 2017
by Ariel Adams
Outside of the “fluidic” indication of the hours, the biggest indicator on the dial is the dedication area to indicate the minutes – that is positioned right under the 12 o’clock region of the dial. Flanking it to the left is a subsidiary second dial (placed on a lower plane), and a power reserve indicator to the right.
The HYT Caliber 101 movement is manually wound and fully mechanical. The regulation system operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) and it has a maximum power reserve of 65 hours. You can see the movement through the rear of the case. Parts of it are made by HYT, and the rest are produced by suppliers. The movement is “exclusive” to HYT, meaning that it is made only for them. For me that is enough. I truly don’t care if the movement is produced by HYT or others. Rather, I care that the movement incorporates unique elements of the brand’s character, and works very well. Five years into it and the caliber 101 is still a handsome movement as seen from the rear.
The liquid hour indicator system is more “in house” and offers its own set of interesting technologies. I think what is important to understand is that the entire system has two liquids, one clear and one not – and that these fluids are designed not to mix. Time is indicated as the liquids move in relation to one another in the tube. As temperature can affect the volume of the liquid, I further understand that there is a “thermal compensation” system in the movement which allows for some change in the liquids’ volume (which might otherwise actually cause damage to the movement).
I want to offer some attention to a small but important detail that I like about the HYT H0 – the crown. Located between 2 and 3 o’clock on the case, the screw-down crown (case is only water resistant to 30 meters) is very stable and nicely made. The crown is titanium, with the middle part of it being black. Sometimes this middle section is produced from a material such as rubber, which worries me because rubber degrades over time. Rather, the HYT H0 uses black DLC-coated titanium for this middle black section of the crown. It just gives the crown a really solid, long lasting feeling that I like.
From the overall interesting presentation of the case and dial, to the ability to see through the case where the billows are (a small but meaningful ability to see right through it), the HYT H0 has a nice personality and stature. I will take some issue with the prototype deployant clasps on these models, that didn’t allow for the thickness of the tapering rubber strap ends. I am certainly sure that HYT will sort this out before the watches arrive on the wrists of customers. I’m the one who gets to play with all the nice watches before they are ready for prime time.
As an interesting high-end watch with a youthful, futuristic character, the HYT H0 watch collection is, in my opinion, a success. It isn’t for everyone, but it will attract the right customers. I could leave the conversation at that, but I feel compelled to talk about prices overall. I claim no understanding of HYT’s pricing structure or that of its competitors. I will, however, say that at half the price – or less, such brands could capture such a larger volume of consumers. It isn’t that I’m trying to say the HYT H0 watches are overpriced for what they are. Rather, that if brands could offer substantially the same experience for a $10,000 – $20,000 price – they could enjoy so much more cultural relevance with high-end consumers.
After all, the HYT H0 isn’t something most people would wear on a daily basis. It just isn’t suitable for that variety of wear. With that said, it makes an excellent “once in a while” watch – that nevertheless is really comfortable to wear. So the question for me is, how many wealthy people who can spend roughly $40,000 per watch a few times a year and want this style of timepiece are out there as buyers? $40,000 is a lot of money, and in order to have that volume on a regular basis as disposable income means you are really wealthy. That also means you are probably established in life and more mature, which might prove to be factors that inhibit versus promote the desire to wear a wildly designed timepiece of this style.
I simply worry about customer targeting for the watch industry circa 2017. A great number of consumers would jump on the opportunity to spend a lot of money on an HYT timepiece like the H0. However, there is a difference in spending a few thousand dollars to many thousands of dollars. The independent high-end watch industry which HYT is undeniably a part of is doing an excellent job of getting young watch lovers to grow demand for their products. The point is, if these independent high-end watch brands should be doing more to allow for more people to buy their products. If there are enough takers out there at $40,000 and up prices for HYT timepieces, then more power to the brand and I’ll shut up. But imagine how many more watches they could sell if the average price went down to $10,000?
Cool without being nerdy, and slick without being silly, the HYT H0 collection is a refined and well-designed futuristic watch for people who still want to look good and have a story on their wrist. The three debut HYT H0 watches are the HYT H0 Silver ref. 048-TT-91-BF-RU, the H0 Orange ref. 048-TT-92-NF-RU, and the H0 Black Ref. 048-DL-90-GF-RU. Price is $39,000 USD each. hytwatches.com
>Price: $39,000 USD
>Size: 48.8mm wide, 17.9mm thick
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Open-minded watch lover with a penchant for futuristic design and an intolerance of wearing anything on their wrist that isn’t “high-end luxury.”
>Best characteristic of watch: Successfully re-imagines the genesis of the HYT brand with a slick looking modern watch that is as refined as it is visually interesting. Very comfortable on the wrist.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Requires the right color combination to be as attractive and legible as possible. Large case would be more suitable for more wrists if the entire thing could be shrunk a bit. Deployant clasp on prototype unit I had didn’t close very well.