Looking like the ultimate accessory for any self-respecting Time Lord, the quite stunning H4 Neo from avant-garde watch manufacturer HYT combines everyday functionality with a futuristic convention-defying display of unfamiliar mechanicals, three-dimensional elements, and a space-age glow at the touch of a button.
If the expression ‘ground-breaking innovation’ might be used a little liberally in the watch industry, there are few alternative ways to accurately describe the extraordinary watches which come out of the Neuchâtel based HYT atelier.
The entire brand concept is based on its most central characteristic, the unique and unusual fine glass capillary around the dial edge, through which courses a brightly coloured viscous fluid, which in turn indicates the hours in an eye-catching way. The use of fluids to relate the time in this way is unprecedented, and behind its simple beauty beats a hand finished manual winding mechanical movement of profound horologic complexity, and proprietary technical innovation.
In the HYT H4 Neo, the display area is split into upper and lower parts, with the large steel bellows whose contraction and expansion generates the pressure required to propel the green fluid around the dial, before retracting over a few seconds every twelve hours, when the time hits 6 o’clock on the dot.
The other time functions are compressed into the upper half, with the minutes, seconds and power reserve displayed individually across a cutout sapphire base, which refracts the ice blue glow created by the mechanically energised dynamo which, on the command of a press on the crown at 4.30, gives a light module the power to flood the entire display with a burst of icy blue glow, illuminating the numerals on the black bezel, and reacting with the fluid to glow in ultra-violet in the dark.
To the rear, a sapphire case back reveals the stripped back plates and the balance and escapement which along with the barrel and gear train are compacted above the pair of bellows.
At 51mm in a grey DLC titanium case, the H4 Panis-Barthez Compétition is a hulking mass of racing goodness, and not for the faint of heart. It is presented on a black reinforced fabric strap, and it secures with a PVD titanium folding clasp.