Good Evening my dear fellow watch lovers! Now that the Basel buzz has ended and we have sometime to digest all the watches and information we have been communicating for a week; it’s time to share with you a very interesting trip I had in Neuchatel to Preciflex and HYT premises.
If you are not very familiar with both, let me give you a quick brief on the story behind the brands. The HYT story began in 2012 when they have launched their first model the H1 where it was a totally new way of telling time using fluids. The idea is so disruptive to the watch industry since the early times of watchmaking; every watchmakers job was to eliminate the fluids within the watch and keeping it outside the movement… Now all of a sudden we are trying to find ways to actually use it and tell time while being immersed at the heart of the mechanism.
The principle as told by HYT directors is as follows: using two flexible reservoirs with a capillary attached at the end; one will have a colored aqueous liquid and in the other a viscous transparent liquid. Both are kept apart through a repulsion force of molecules that is controlled at 6 o’clock by the a piston. As a result, the hours are indicated by the colored fluorescent liquid released from the flexible reserve comprised by a piston. The coloured liquid travels through the capillary pushing the transparent viscous one back into its own reservoir and then returning to its original position at 6:00.
In order to be able to create that kind of mechanism using fluid mechanics and hybrid fluid engineering, and entire world had to be build to study, research and develop new elements that could serve that purposes; Preciflex manufacture was born.
Our trip through that world started with Lucien who is the mastermind behind the idea. Actually, the whole concept started a few year before the inception in 2012 when Expo 2002 was held in Switzerland and was based on floating exhibits on the Neuchatel lake. Taking a closer look at the relationship between liquids and time; since the first clock used to tell time using water; Lucien came up with the concept of incorporating liquids into time telling.
Of course, he had to pitch his idea to some investors to get started with the factory building and all the R&D required to find the solutions to all complications that arise from working with liquids more importantly the capillary; the fluids and the bellows. The three most important components of the mechanisms that will determine the success of this project.
I won’t get into all the technicalities that I have gone through in the process as it will be too daunting to grasp however here is a video that summarizes the process:
I had the chance to see the process live in Preciflex of how they make the capillary which is a very complex and manual process that is accomplished by using several tools developed in house by the factory just to be able to make the shapes of the capillary. In order to create the skull shape, the watchmaker had to go through at least 10 steps and 5-6 tools to bend the capillary and find the skull shape.
This year HYT decided to challenge everything again and present the H0 which is a new beginning in the presentation of time with fluid and regulator technology
This beauty has been presented in Baselworld in 3 variations that will be priced at CHF 39K which for me is a leap forward in the offering of the brand. I believe with that new line the collectors now have a idea choice of models to look into and decide what suits them best whether it is the ultimate high end watchmaking with the H2 skeletonised or the entry level H0 which combines the sporty look HYT has, as well as the intriguing time telling that is at the heart of the brand DNA.
As you probably noticed on the H0 Orange, the liquid used it Black; one important fact regarding the coloring of the liquids is that Preciflex usually has to test over 100 types of black to be able to reach the 1 or 2 options that could be compatible with the requirements of watchmaking. The cost of the liquid could reach ~15-16M USD for a gallon which is an exorbitant price for such a small quantity. That’s why the change of colors in every new model of HYT watches seems to us as a simple task but in fact it is the most tedious exercise for the manufacture to determine what is compatible and what’s not.
I hope you enjoyed the guided tour for HYT manufacture and stay tuned for some more stories coming up.