Firmly within the genre of contemporary Haute Horlogerie, the Hautlence Vortex 03 watch boasts unrivalled originality. With a technically accomplished watchcase design, created to ensure an unrestricted view of its mechanical components, this impressive model brings to its wearer a unique wristwatch experience.
The watch carries an impressive watch case comprising of 6 sapphire sections held within a minimalist framework constructed from bronze. Sized at a substantial 52mm x 50mm, nonetheless, it aligns perfectly regardless of the wrist circumference of its wearer. Beneath the sculpted profile of the sapphire which encloses the piece almost in its entirely, a visually stunning arrangement of mechanical minutiae and time indications demand closer inspection.
On the dial, which comprises of layered sapphire elements, a substantial retrograde minutes indication dominates. At its centre, a logo-inscribed hub fixed with visible screws awaits. At first this little cap appears to be an innocent inclusion, positioned to represent the Hautlence infinity emblem. However, the instant the arrow-headed minutes hand has reached the 60-minute mark the central hub spins, for an astounding 48 high-speed revolutions.
Although compelling, this vigorous movement is also entirely functional. While spinning seemingly uncontrollably, the diminutive cap is, in fact, regulating the pace of the signature Hautlence half-trailing hour display.
Positioned on the left of the dial and comprising of white Super-LumiNova® enhanced digits, each placed on individual pallets on a twelve-link track, the hour display offers a poetic view of the passing of the hours. As the digits progress along the chain driven mechanism, they do so at a satisfyingly moderate pace. And, as the new hour replaces the old, the mechanisms which enable the 3-4 seconds transition of the change-over can be viewed through the side sapphire section.
Adding to this impressive façade, the entire balance and escapement assembly is mounted on a mobile bridge. Rotating in sync with the half-trailing hour mechanism it passes through 60° each time, rotating four times every 24 hours.
Beating at 18,000vph the in-house Hautlence calibre, contained within this vitreous housing utilises two barrels - a primary barrel which is fed directly from the automatic winding system which then distributes power to a secondary barrel keeping it fully wound, so that the optimal level of energy is available to enable the hour change. The wearer can keep check on the impressive 40 hour power reserve via a graduated indicator to the right of the retrograde minutes display.
Despite its contemporary aesthetics, the calibre has been decorated to Haute Horlogerie standards, with meticulous satin-brushed, hand-bevelling and mirror-polished elements. This fine finishing is revealed through the rear sapphire, where one can also appreciate the reverse perspective of the hour pallets and the mobile bridge.
An exclusive release of just 8 pieces, the Hautlence Vortex 03 comes with strap options of black hand-sewn, padded Louisiana alligator leather with large square scales, brown Zora calfskin or black rubber. Each secures to the wrist with a Titanium folding clasp with a satin-finished plate.