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HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

Now that 2015 is about over, I have been asked on a number of occasions “what were your favorite watches of the year?” That is a good question – especially for someone who categorically refuses to choose favorites. With that said, a fair number of watches from the last 12 months have certainly left big impressions on me, such as the HYT H3.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

Introduced at Baselworld 2015, aBlogtoWatch debuted the HYT H3 watch here. When we eventually got to see the watch a few weeks later, it was easily as impressive as I had imagined. Extremely expensive and produced, for now, in this version as a limited edition of just 25 pieces, the HYT H3 in titanium and platinum is very much the epitome of a niche luxury watch. It also happens to be an incredible composition of elements, and it works very well on the wrist. Now, if only watch collectors were more open to wearing horizontally long rectangular watches on their wrists.

Actually, I think one of the H3’s biggest assets (the case shape) is also one of its biggest detriments. I think a lot of people are going to be automatically biased against considering this watch because of how “unclassic” and often “nerdy” people can perceive this shape to be. It isn’t exactly the definition of classic elegance, which makes it something only the right wearers can pull off. You need to really own the design, as something like the HYT H3 is most certainly not the type of watch that easily integrates into most personal styles and wardrobe choices.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

The seminal modern, niche, luxury, horizontally rectangular watch (quite a category, right?) for me is the MB&F HM2 (hands-on with the Sapphire Vision version here). There have been others since then, but the HM2 sort of opened the door for stuff like the HYT H3 which, just a few years later, feels like where the HM2 left off, and I think this theme should continue.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

While these wide rectangular watches look a bit odd, they make a lot of ergonomic sense because they take up space on the wrist that isn’t being otherwise used. That means these watches don’t need to be too thick and also aren’t coming off your wrist. The HYT H3, for instance, is a full 62mm wide, a size that would be way too long if that was how tall it was. The HYT H3 is 41mm tall and, at its max, is 16mm thick. On the wrist, it is remarkably wearable and, in this version, the mixture of finishes and titanium as well as solid platinum parts make it look totally sexy in the flesh. Depending on your tastes, it will look sexy on your wrist or sexy just sitting on a table. I mean that I believe most people can appreciate the design, but not everyone can pull it off wearing it.

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HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

Although the case is remarkably wearable given the design, that isn’t why anyone is going to drop almost 300 grand on a timepiece. They are going to do that because of the sex appeal of the movement – which, in my opinion, is very real here. More so, while pretty much everything released by HYT is original, I think the HYT H3 takes originality to a new level given the combination of case and dial design.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

HYT is all about using liquid indication for the hours, and while they previously used curved tubes in other “H” watches, the HYT H3 uses a linear tube. It also uses an interesting style of retrograde hand to indicate the minutes along with an exposed balance wheel on the dial. No tourbillon here, and I prefer it that way. Flip the watch over, and you’ll find a handy power reserve indicator on the back of the manually wound movement.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

Performance-wise, the HYT H3’s movement operates at 3Hz with a long 170 hours (7 days of power reserve). That is a good amount of time between winds, and I hope that the movement has been further designed to maximize accuracy. Easily the most satisfying (and mesmerizing) element of the HYT H3 watch is adjusting the time. Able to be adjusted either forward or backwards, watching that green liquid move elegantly across the “capillary” tube along with the fascinating action of the retrograde minute hand is sheer joy for any horological enthusiast.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

The hour display is based on a 24-hour format which uses six cubes placed next to each other that turn in unison when that row of hours is ready to be replaced with the next. Offering the time exclusively in 24-hour format is a bit of a limiting factor for sure, but it sure helps give the HYT H3 more character and I personally wouldn’t mind when wearing it.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

HYT designed the movement of the HYT H3 with a dedicated pusher to adjust the hours, which helps a lot. The more I think about the HYT H3 in the larger spectrum of the HYT watch collection, the more I think of it as HYT’s version of the Urwerk UR-CC1 King Cobra. With the UR-CC1, Urwerk took the brand’s mostly rounded case and dial concept and made it linear in a unique way. The UR-CC1 wasn’t like other Urwerks, but it was an Urwerk in the same way that I think the HYT H3 is very much an HYT without being like the other HYT models.

HYT H3 Hands-On: A Best-Of-2015 Watch Hands-On

As complicated as the HYT H3 is, at the same time, the way it tells the time and how it works are really straightforward (all things considered, of course). Because of that, this exotic luxury watch might actually make for a decent daily wear and that is something many of its more “traditional” yet exotic counterparts can probably not claim. I, for one, look forward to seeing more versions of the HYT H3 beyond the initial reference 361-TP-01-GF-AG that will only be produced in a set of 25 pieces. Price is a lofty 280,000 Swiss Francs. hytwatches.com

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  • IanE

    I’ve not seen this before and, finally, it is an HYT that I like! Now for a version with one less zero in the price, please!

    • Commodore76

      Two less zeros please. ; )

      • I_G

        I’d buy that for a dollar!

  • SwissMatic

    Love the watch, but I think a metal bracelet would suit it better.

    • iamcalledryan

      You might be right. The recent bracelets from URWERK and Richard Mille look outstanding.

  • SuperStrapper

    I have no problem getting away from ‘classic’ and I don’t find this look ‘nerdy’ at all, but I do find it awful. I’ve really been enjoying several of HYT releases of late, but this one is a stinker and to my eye, looks terrible on the wrist.

  • iamcalledryan

    The shape is unwieldy, but this is one of the coolest watches around!

    I had an H2 in my hands last week, it is incredible how that meniscus between the two liquids responds to the minutes progression and hits the hour on the hour. Extremely cool and fun.

  • BNABOD

    cool machine yet unwearable for most (including me). May be eventually they can manage to shrink the case to make it something humans could wear. It seems there is plenty of metal on each side of the case to accommodate shrinkage. you might have to lose some elements but if you kept the basic concept of the watch it might help shrink its volume and price. yes definitely need to shrink that price too

  • 200 Fathoms

    Wow.

  • mauro tovoli

    2800 chf you can buy eta and 7750. Do not exaggerate

  • DanW94

    Love this design. It would make a really cool small desk clock. You could just look up from your work and see that balance wheel oscillating. On the wrist, it looks like you’re wearing a miniature typewriter.

  • Omegaboy

    Can get a nice Ferrari for that much.

    • simon

      The people who buy this already have a Ferrari, if they wanted one to begin with. At this level no one is debating this or that. They have both….in multiples.

  • Marius

    OK, so what does $300,000 exactly get me? The finishing, at least from the photos, is not exactly world class, certainly not on par with Dufour, Voutilainen, or Renaud&Papi. The movement, while innovative, can`t really explain the huge price either, since the Schumacher Laptimer made by Renaud&Papi, one of the most complex and challenging to manufacture calibers around, actually costs less than the Hyt. The materials used for the case are mainly titanium, with a few platinum inserts, so they can`t cost the world. Lastly, the Hyt brand is not exactly among the most famous names in the industry. I mean, even watch lovers are not exactly familiar with this brand, and I doubt that they would chose it over a Lange, Urwerk, or DeBethune.

    • simon

      Its funny you should mention Renaud & Papi, as they are the manufacture who develops the HYT movements.

    • speedy

      I agree that this is expensive and probably too expensive, but your comparison with the AP Laptimer isn’t exactly adequate. The laptimer is a “traditional” watch, with a very clever new complication. This means you “only” need very talented movement designers and watchmakers. To develop something like HYT watches, the physical principles are complex, which means you need an army of physicists, months of lab testing and expensive apparatus usually unfound in watch manufactures. I guess bettter comparisons would be with Omega 15000 gauss, GP Echappement constant, Breguet pivot magnetique or this kind of things.
      However, I agree that the price is huge, and that for that price, the finishing has to be more than perfect (althhough it seems rather good).

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