HYT — the brand originally known as Hydromechanical Horologists — has turned a new corner in time. By going back to the drawing board and re-thinking its movements and technology, the brand has created an all-new movement that enables the watchmaker to set the fluid time precisely, and that combines fluids and mechanics in an all-new way. The new H5 — a limited edition of 25 pieces each in two versions – was nearly four years in the making and deftly blends fluid technology with a mechanical approach.
A Few Firsts In the HYT H5
For the H5, HYT worked with master watchmaker Eric Coudray of TechTime, who insisted on knowing everything about the liquid being used in the brand’s patented micro-fluidic module so that he could bring a mechanical movement, that works with the liquid, to fruition. This watch marks a number of firsts for the brand: It is the first wherein a special lever and cam have been developed that enables the watchmaker at HYT to more precisely adjust the fluid to the time before the watch leaves the workshops.
It is also the first time that HYT’s engineers at Preciflex have developed a system wherein the two color fluids do not meet. Instead, one color counts the hours during a 12-hour period — pushing the fluid along the capillaries in the watch each hour. When the colored fluid reaches 6:00, and there is no more room to push fluid, the fluid recedes backward to the 6:00 starting point to count the next 12 hours.
Another first fo the brand that now bills itself as “Fluid Time”: when the liquid recedes into the bellows, it is mixed and before it begins its journey again has a new molecular concentration — so that — much like water flowing n a river — you never get the same concentration/configuration.
Gregory Dourde Explains the HYT H5
Mind boggled? Check out this quick video I took of Gregory Dourde, CEO of HYT, demonstrating the flow and recession of fluid. You can see how the liquid recedes every 12 hours, when the time reaches 6:00, so that it can start timing another 12 hours. (Note: Don’t get caught up watching the tiny minutes hand at 12:00, watch the liquid as it approaches 6:00.)
For its creations, HYT employs five watchmakers, but its partner Preciflex has 18 to 20 engineers and so the multidisciplinary team works side by side. (Preciflex creates semi conductors, medical devices, and areospace instruments, and are the ones that developed the fluidic technology for HYT.)
The new 501 caliber offers a unity between the mechanical movement and the fluidic device now as a whole.
“We wanted to develop is a trinity, a blend of the fluid philsosphy, that time is fluid, with science with the liquids, and the mechanical movement,” says Dourde. “The human perception of time is fluid – there is a future that becomes a past, and a present becomes a past – I will be, I am, I was – is a human concept. We wanted to focus on that concept of time flowing and the erosion of time. It is like when the water flowing in a river erodes the rocks and changes them, that change is the naked truth.”
Time Reinterpreted In Its Passing
According to Dourde, the colored liquids in the H5 — that count the hours — mark the things you did today. The clear liquid is the things to come. It is a philosophical interpretation of time, where the boundary between the past and present is the now.
“It is a new way to make sense of time. This is one of our missions,” says Dourde. “We are more than timekeepers, we are time tellers. In the H5, the black liquid in the capillary flows like a river. Because time is like a river, it has a constant flow, you can’t stop it.” In fact, Dourde references Hereclitus, the philosopher who said that “no man ever steps in the same river twice.”
The 501 Caliber of the H5
The new movement, which is skeletonized, offers a power reserve indicator on the dial, as well as a minutes counter. But it is the cam and lever system inside that really sets it apart. “There is a circular piece with levers connected. Inside the circle is a snail-shaped cam with 13 small teeth.The objective of the cam is to transform a rotational movement to a linear movement. We need the circular cam (which rotates and makes one turn in12 hours as it rotates) to then push the lever vertically to compress the bellow to make the liquid recede,” explains Dourde. Noting that essentially the cam and lever operate the bellow.
“So, in the new movement, we have newness in mechanics and in how the liquid works. The liquid now goes all the way around and then recedes to continue to track time. The liquids never meet. But also, the liquid that goes back into the bellow reformulates, coming out with a different molecular combination.”
This complex dance enables the watchmaker to set the liquid in the watch to adjust precisely to the positions of the hand. The brand also has invented a thermal compensator to compensate for changes in the fluid that occur as a result of cold or heat, sometimes resulting in small tolerance changes of about a minute. Now, though, it can be adjusted manually with the cam.
Ergonomic Design of the H5
The 48.8mm round (pebble-inspired) watch is now devoid of lugs — resulting in a great ergonomic fit and ultimate comfort on the wrist. The 3 D sapphire crystal allows for time to read in a variety of positions. There are two editions being made, the brand’s beloved green palette (with hour ring with SuperLumiNova in green), or a bold and striking black for the hours. Each retails for $55,000.
Technical Specifications to the HYT H5
Ref.: H02351; Limited edition 25 pieces
- Green fluidic hours
- Minutes, seconds, power reserve
- Stainless steel, satin finishes
- Diameter: 48.8mm
- Height: 20.08mm
- Stainless steel crown
- Domed sapphire crystal
- Screwed case-back, sapphire crystal, “one of twenty-five” print
- Water-resistant to 50 meters
HYT’s exclusive patented micro-fluidic module:
- Borosilicate glass capillary tube, nano-coating interior
- Multi-layer metal bellows
- Two immiscible liquids; one transparent, the other one colored with a highly resistant dye
- Thermal compensator with dedicated bellow and specific liquid
- High-tech ceramic fluidic restrictors
- Mechanical with manual winding, exclusive caliber
- 28,800 Vph, 4 Hz, 41 jewels
- Rhodium thinly-sandblasted bridges
- 65-hour power reserve
- Transmission between movement and fluidic module by conversion of rotation into linear movement using a cam-follower system
- Isostatic connection of the fluidic system guaranteed by a trident
- Neoralite hour ring with Cool Grey 9c Super-LumiNova®
- Hour flange with black numerals
- Black Super-LumiNova® rail under the capillary
- Minute counter with black index and numerals, black minute hand with C7 Super-LumiNova®
- Seconds flange with black hand
- Power reserve flange with black hand
Strap: Grey rubber, titanium folding buckle
The black fluidic hour version, Ref. H02353, has all the same specs but the Dial features a C7 Super-LumiNova, and an hour flange with green numerals. The strap is black rubber instead of gray. 25 pieces.