The Hautlence Vortex 02 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 accepted horologic norms and expectations, and growing a strong following among the most critical and particular watch enthusiasts, which now reaches around the world.
Part of the brand’s Concepts d’Exception collection of groundbreaking horology, as that caption confers, the Vortex is a true concept which has evolved from sketchpad doodles to breathtaking physical realization in an expression of innovation and free-spirited design.
Housed in a show-stopping construction of glass and rose gold, the Hautlence Vortex 02 combines pronounced angles with subtle sculpted curves, creating a stunning showcase for a completely unique time display experience, and looking like an architectural imagining of a modern-day shrine to watchmaking.
Designed to focus attention on its captivating mechanical functionality, the rose gold case is dominated by a massive sapphire crystal cover, while along its sides, gently curving triangular sapphire windows expose the horizontal gear train, with its crown relocated to between its upper lugs. 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 its technical trickery
Inside, the dial too is comprised of thin, layered sapphires and lays bare the extraordinary multi-dimensional moving mechanical structure, with its bridgework blackened with a ruthenium anthracite coating, and its digital/analogue hours and minutes displays.
An arrowhead pointer in the centre moves across the arc of the applied gold plate of the retrograde minutes, 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.
Just to the left of the minutes display, on a rose gold plate 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 and its 552 components, 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.