Given that they are mechanical timepieces that use tiny liquid-filled structures to display the time, even the most simple and straightforward HYT watches are technologically impressive creations. However, as one of its new releases from earlier this year, HYT unveiled the Conical Tourbillon, which could best be described as an alien planetarium for the wrist. Featuring an intricate and unapologetically modern case, the HYT Conical Tourbillon pairs the brand’s signature retrograde fluid display with a centrally-mounted tourbillon and a captivating animation that creates the appearance of tiny planets orbiting the center. Expanding upon this core concept for its latest release of 2023, HYT has created a new version of this highly complex model, and while the brand doesn’t explicitly state the source of its inspiration, the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire is more than slightly reminiscent of the Infinity Gauntlet worn by the character Thanos in Marvel’s Avenger movies.
I’m sure the reason there’s no formal mention of the source of its inspiration is simply due to the fact that a licensing deal with Marvel would probably cost nearly as much as what Robert Downey, Jr. was paid to be in the Avenger films; however, there is no way I’m believing that the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire (ref. H03131-A) is not inspired by Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet. Aside from the word “Infinity” being part of the actual name of the watch, the new model looks just like the Infinity Gauntlet as it appears on screen. In the Avenger films, the Infinity Gauntlet plays a central role in the plot, and it is depicted as a brass/rose gold colored glove that is constructed from metal and set with six gemstones in different colors (known as the “Infinity Stones”). Based on that brief description alone, even someone who has no point of reference for the Infinity Gauntlet can see the similarities between it and the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire watch.
Rather than featuring a forged carbon case with neon green accents and small liquid-filled capsules representing the planets on its orbiting animation, the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire swaps out carbon fiber for 5N rose gold and replaces the liquid-filled spheres with sapphires in various colors. With that in mind, the overall design and dimensions are the same as the inaugural forged carbon model, and the 66-component case measures 48mm in diameter by 52.3mm lug-to–lug, and when you factor in the highly domed sapphire crystal that sits above the dial and forms a transparent bubble above its three-dimensional display, the overall height of the watch comes in at 25.15mm. Additionally, rather than being paired with a standard textured rubber strap, the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire is fitted with a black rubber strap that is adorned with embossed brown leather panels on its top surface to better compliment the warm hues of its 5N red gold case components.
The sides of the case on the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire are fitted with black mesh side panels to provide it with a more intricate and dynamic appearance, while a signed winding crown sits between two small guards at the 3 o’clock location. The screw-on display caseback receives another sapphire crystal to offer a view of the internal movement, which includes the pair of small bellows that are responsible for governing the liquid-filled retrograde hours display. Just like the original black and green model with a forged carbon case, water resistance for the new Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire comes in at 30 meters to protect against daily wear, and given that I highly doubt anyone will be reaching for this particular watch when it comes time to go for a swim, its relatively minimal water resistance should be more than adequate for providing protection against incidental contact.
While the core design and layout for the 39-component dial on the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire has been carried over from the inaugural model, the new version embraces a rose gold and black colorway to better compliment the appearance of its case. Along the outermost perimeter of the dial is a track of Arabic numeral markers, with the value for the current hour indicated by the arc-shaped tube filled with black liquid that runs along the interior perimeter of the hour markers. The corresponding minutes for the time are represented by an arrow-shaped indicator that circles the dial along the inside of the liquid-filled retrograde hours display, and sitting front and center is an angled tourbillon surrounded by the model’s signature “chaotic” orbiting animation. For those of you who might be wondering if there is any functional benefit to the orbiting animation, there isn’t. If anything, the additional force required to drive the animation only detracts from the movement’s power reserve, although it is absolutely captivating to watch the various pieces rotate around the angle-mounted tourbillon that spins at the center of the dial.
Aside from the updated colorway of the dial, the liquid-filled spheres positioned at the tips of the orbiting animation have been swapped out for sapphires in different colors (fuchsia, blue, and yellow) on the new Infinity Sapphire edition, and they are joined by smaller spherical counterweights that are decorated with brightly colored paint. Six additional sapphires in various colors are set into the brackets for the tourbillon, and each of the three sapphires that are positioned on the orbiting animation rotates at a different speed. The fuchsia-colored sapphire completes four rotations per minute, while the blue one completes five revolutions in the same amount of time, and the yellow sapphire is the fastest moving among the trio, as it completes six full rotations each minute. The different speeds of the orbiting modules, combined with the central tourbillon creates a highly dynamic aesthetic that further highlights the mechanical intricacies of the movement.
At the heart of the HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire is the brand’s Caliber 701-TC manual-wind tourbillon movement, which consists of 533 individual components and runs at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. While the angle-mounted tourbillon and orbiting animation are easily the flagship features of HYT’s Conical Tourbillon series, it’s also important to remember that just like all of the brand’s watches, the new Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire also features a fluid-based display to represent the time. While the HYT Cal. 701-TC movement is entirely mechanical, it features a small set of bellows that alter the pressure within the liquid-filled tube that is dedicated to the retrograde hours display. The current value for the hour is indicated by the point along the tube where the colored liquid stops and the rest of the tube turns clear, and on the new Infinity Sapphire version of the HYT Conical Tourbillon, the liquid is jet black to match the accents on its dial.
Given the complexity of their liquid-filled displays, even the entry-level models within HYT’s lineup are rather expensive items, and prices only increase when you start adding in high-level complications such as a tourbillon or orbiting animation. Consequently, the new HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire is accompanied by an official retail price of CHF 390,000 (or about $440,000 USD, at the time of writing), which makes it a decent amount more expensive than the original Conical Tourbillon model from earlier this year with a forged carbon case and neon green accents. That said, the additional price premium is almost certainly due to the fact that the new Infinity Sapphire features a 5N red gold case components, and rather than just having liquid-filled spheres orbiting its dial, this latest version receives a rainbow assortment of expertly-cut sapphires. With that in mind, despite its aesthetic differences and more-premium materials, the new Infinity Sapphire version of the HYT Conical Tourbillon will also be produced as a limited edition of just 8 examples, which is the exact same number of pieces that exist of the original black and green version. For more information on the HYT Conical Tourbillon Infinity Sapphire watch, please visit the brand’s website.