The Hautlence HL2.6 is a stunning piece of Swiss haute horlogerie whose unprecedented design is spectacularly presented in a case of rose gold and masses of sapphire crystal, with fully exposed in-house movement and animated complications.
One of the most exciting and innovative watch companies to have established a bright presence in the watchmaking firmament is Hautlence, who In little more than ten years have become part of the independent watchmaking ‘establishment’ thanks to their collections of remarkable, beautifully manufactured technical tours de force.
In the truest spirit of avant garde Hautlence, through truly daring contemporary watch design, laid down their own aesthetic and technical parameters, defying expectations and growing a following among the most critical and particular watch enthusiasts which now reaches around the world.
Housed in a curvaceous glass and brushed and polished rose gold case, and offering a completely unique time display experience, the Hautlence HL 2.6 is almost like a shrine to watchmaking. It is the latest addition to the company’s Concepts d’Excellence collection of groundbreaking horology, and as that caption confers, is a true concept which has come from sketchpad to physical realization in an expression of innovation and free-spirited design.
In order to reveal as much of the piece’s internal mechanical masterpiece as possible, the rose gold case is dominated by a pair of massive sapphire crystals which spill over and fall off around the side of the case. Already a notoriously difficult material to work with, each crystal is made by mechanical grinding in three dimensions, and the result ensures a wonderful view of all of the HL 2.6’s technical trickery.
Inside, the dial too is made using thin, layered sapphires with black and gold LIGA photolithography markings, and lay bare the extraordinary multi-dimensional moving mechanical structure, with its blackened bridgework, and its digital/analogue hours and minutes displays. An arrowhead pointer in the centre moves down the arc of the retrograde minutes reference, until reaching the 60 minute mark and triggering a flurry of captivating activity as it flicks back to 0, the central logo-inscribed hub bursting into a blur, as it regulates the pace of the move on to the next hour.
Above the minutes display, the hour digit advances and the old hour moves out of view. The digits are printed in white Super LumiNova on individual pallets in the twelve-link track, and they progress in a chain driven slow motion at the change of the hour. This is the Hautlence half-trailing hour mechanism, and rotating in sync with the hour track, the entire balance and escapement assembly is mounted on a mobile bridge, and passing through 60° each time, it will rotate four times every 24 hours.
It’s a spectacle each hour, and all this activity unsurprisingly demands a lot of energy, and so powering the in-house Hautlence self-winding caliber, the fully wound primary barrel feeds out to a secondary barrel which governs the physical functions, and delivering for an impressive 40 hours. A graduated indicator displays the power reserve.