With aesthetics which defy those of traditional watchmaking, the Hautlence Vortex Gamma 01 is, in every respect, a timepiece which arouses the senses. Boasting space-age construction materials and an unrestricted view of its complex mechanisms this exciting edition encapsulates the essence of contemporary Haute Horlogerie.
The watch carries an impressive case comprising of 6 sapphire sections held within a minimalist framework constructed from HLLightColour, a high-tech composite which is also used in the automotive and aerospace industries. This highly resilient yet extremely light material is four times lighter than titanium which ensures an ergonomic experience for its wearer, despite its substantial size of 52mm x 50mm.
The vivid yellow and black colour tones which define this unique Gamma 01 model are not simply a coating. The HLLightColour is charged with ceramic nanotube particles so that the body of the material is supersaturated throughout with colour. Complementing this vibrancy, yellow accents on the indications add to the high-spirited character of this exclusive edition.
The design of the case and also that of the dial, which comprises of layered sapphire elements, engender an unparalleled disclosure of the self-winding mechanical calibre and the time indications.
At the dial centre, a generous arc for the retrograde minutes dominates. At first glance, the logo-inscribed hub at its centre appears to be an entirely innocent brand representation. 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 utterly fascinating, this extraordinary movement is also entirely functional, as while for a split second it seems to be spinning 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 yellow-enhanced digits 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. As each 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, and rotates on its axes 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 with a red varnished hand, to the right of the retrograde minutes display.
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.
The Hautlence Vortex Gamma 01 watch comes with strap options of black, padded Louisiana alligator leather with large square scales and yellow topstitching and a black rubber example accentuated with yellow varnish. Each secures to the wrist with a Grade 2 titanium folding clasp with a black DLC-coated plate with a yellow varnished logo.
Destined for the curated collection of a watch collector with a penchant for supremely technical Haute Horlogerie, the Vortex Gamma 01 has the reassured luxury of an edition that is strictly limited to 8 pieces.