Featuring a façade of unprecedented uniqueness, the Hautlence Vortex Primary combines the dramatic simplicity of postmodern art with supremely technical Haute Horlogerie. To engender this extraordinary edition, the company collaborated with former professional footballer and Hautlence brand ambassador and art enthusiast Eric Cantona.
Visually stunning from every angle, the Vortex Primary demonstrates the rapport which M. Cantona has with Hautlence and his understanding of the emotive impact of colour. Not simply a design-led piece, this model also represents the commitment of this Independent watchmaking company to the conception of unique time indications powered by innovative mechanisms.
For this 18-piece limited edition, a generous sapphire enclosure comprising of nineteen individual sections encloses the watch in its entirety, held firmly by a minimalist black PVD-coated Grade 5 Titanium frame. Creating an astounding spectacle, these colourful panels catch the light with even the slightest wrist motion, recalling the exquisite effect of a contemporary stained-glass window.
Conforming to each of the primary colours, each sapphire crystal is positioned carefully; luxurious red ruby, rich blue spinel, luminous yellow corundum and, where readability is required, clear sapphire crystal. The varying intensities of this superb palette somehow conform to one another and, as they wrap around the architecture of the case in unison, they form an extraordinary decorative housing for this special edition watch. Beneath this spectrum of coloured sapphire crystal, an imaginative and complex dial layout is revealed.
At the dial centre, a generous retrograde minutes arc takes up position. Here, pristine white markers and numerals etched onto the sapphire enable high-contrast readability. As the arrow-headed minutes hand makes its gentle passage along the arc, the logo-inscribed hub at its centre remains stationary. However, when the hand has reached the 60-minute mark the central hub comes to life, spinning for an astounding 48 high-speed revolutions.
The vigorous motion of the diminutive hub, while utterly compelling, is also entirely functional. While spinning seemingly uncontrollably, it serves to regulate the pace of the signature Hautlence half-trailing hour display.
Positioned on the left of the dial and comprising of digits placed on individual pallets on a twelve-link track, the hour display enables a highly poetic view of the passing of the hours. For this model, a transparent sapphire window reveals the current hour, while coloured panels semi-obscure the previous and future hour digits. Occurring over 3-4 seconds, the gentle transition of the change-over of each hour can be fully appreciated by the wearer.
Joining these unique time indications, the entire balance and escapement assembly, which is mounted on a mobile bridge, creates another compelling panorama. An entire exposé of its rotation ensures that as it passes through 60° at each hour change, one can observe its fascinating pirouette. For this model, the composition is enhanced by a colourful strap placed diagonally around the escapement. Turn the piece over, and an exhibition caseback comprising of transparent and coloured sapphire panels is revealed. Here, the fine finishing of the in-house Hautlence Calibre can be appreciated.
Beating at 18,000vph it 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 minimalist indicator with a red varnished hand, between the 40 and 50 minute marker of the retrograde minutes.
While the provenance of this model is declared using white script on the front of the piece, uniquely, Eric Cantona has also personalised the model using his thumbprint which decorates the red ruby sapphire panel on the caseback.
Forming part of the acclaimed Concepts d’Exception collection the Hautlence Vortex Primary watch has strap options of Black large-scale Louisiana alligator leather and rubber strap in black, red, blue, yellow and white. Each secures to the wrist with a titanium folding clasp.