A spectacular wristwatch which combines HYT’s unmistakable and futuristic signature of a fluid time display, suspended like a glass monorail above a fileted three dimensional dial which features a dome of baguette cut diamonds, that illuminates as a pulsing wave of LED light washes across the display at the push of a button, the new HYT Flow is what happens when the brand’s unique approach to contemporary watchmaking and design meets a Pink Floyd light show.
In the eight years since making its debut in 2012, HYT has become firmly established in the independent watch sector as one of its more extravagant, avant garde family members, thanks to its colourful, high tech, convention-defying creations which bring together two unlikely elements; those of delicate mechanical components and a reservoir of liquids, which in any book of watchmaking are, without exception, anathema to each other.
Via an ingenious patented solution of hydro-mechanical micro engineering, medical grade components and, at CHF12m per litre, one of the world’s most expensive liquids, HYT have not only been successful in making it work, but have also used it to create some of the most astonishing watches of the past decade.
Even so, the new HYT Flow takes that brand of horological alchemy to another level, with its extraordinary architecture in beautifully sculpted stainless steel and sapphire crystal, and fileted openwork dial around which the hours are displayed in typical HYT style via two immiscible fluids; one blue, the other invisible which push against each other, creating a clearly defined leading edge which indicates the hour as they are forced through the fine glass capillary by a pair of hydraulic bellows beneath the dial, which expand and contract as they force the fluids around and above the display.
In a modern day interpretation of the classic regulateur configuration, the hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve are all displayed individually, with the minute dial centremost featuring a single hand with luminous coating, and flanked either side by the power reserve near the four o’clock position, while the seconds are shown via an orange disc which rotates beneath the rhodiumised opaline dial, and visible through the cutaway sections.
The focal point of the dial is the dome which is part mirror ball, part extra-terrestrial base camp, and which dominates the lower hemisphere. Meticulously constructed using 73 baguette cut diamonds, it becomes part of an elaborate light show which occurs when the crown near the four o’clock position is pressed, releasing up to four two-second bursts of vivid LED illumination which crosses the surface of the dial in a pulsing wave of light.
The power to create this illumination comes not from a battery of any kind, but rather from a tiny mechanically charged generator which harnesses enough energy for eight seconds of LED light, and which is independently wound and activated by the same crown/pusher.
The case is imposing at 51mm across and just over 20mm tall, and is comprised of a sculpted stainless steel body and a huge dome of hardened sapphire glass, which is specially manufactured for HYT. Completely bereft of any angles, the strap ends disappear into the base of the case, giving it a seamless continuity and making the large watch fit comfortably on the wrist.
On the underside, a glass back reveals the hand wound Calibre 501 movement, which is the product of a collaborative project with innovations specialist TEC Ebauches. More precise, more refined, and in how HYT utilises traditional mechanical watchmaking to create the drama of its signature fluid display, the new calibre is an evolution on previous collections. Fully wound, the single barrel has a 65 hour power reserve, and the balance pulsates at 28’800 vib/h.
Presented on a perforated orange rubber strap the HYT Flow is not a piece for the shy or retiring type and has enormous presence on the wrist. Complex, sophisticated and a little bit mad, it is nonetheless a remarkable piece of contemporary watchmaking innovation and a piece which truly shines a light on HYT’s hydro-mechanical concept of the fluidic time display.