Over the last few months I have been conversing with a renowned Swiss manufacturer about producing a second prototype. This company is based in La Chaux-de-Fonds and produces watches for many prestigious international labels. Another watchmaker originally introduced me to the owner of this business because he thought we would be a good fit. Certainly if one of my timepieces went into production I would happily use their services. However for a large factory to construct a single watch involves huge set up charges that make it financially tough to commit to. By going through this process I realise how tricky it is for small brands to develop a prototype.
Back in March 2015 I got to meet many small independent watchmakers in Switzerland that have had to overcome this massive challenge. One of the success stories of recent years has been HYT. The face of the company is industry veteran Vincent Perriard. Even though his overall demeanour is pretty laid back he is a very savvy businessman. When I last spoke to him he said that profits were up by 40% this year. That is not bad for a luxury brand in a very competitive environment. Ultimately I feel they have achieved this because they have a very high quality innovative product and a superb marketing machine.
Whilst I was at Baselworld I had the chance to view a few of HYT’s stunning creations. Even though most bloggers/journalists were clambering around to get a wrist shot of the H3 there were also some other interesting pieces on offer. For example the H4 Gotham is a pretty striking timepiece that is constructed from forged carbon. Considering the size of the watch (51mm x 17.9mm) it felt exceptionally lightweight and comfortable on the wrist. Certainly I would be more than happy to wear this amazing watch for most occasions both formal and casual. Although in reality I would imagine most discerning buyers would reserve this timepiece for very special events.
Visually the H4 has a really bold aesthetic that should appeal to masculine tastes. Personally I love forged carbon because of its dark textured appearance. Presently more and more brands are utilising this amazing material because of its strength and lightweight qualities. However the H4 is much, much more than just another carbon watch. The open worked dial is a revelation and showcases all the brilliant micro engineering of the watch. I love the red linear fluid hour indication, which is completely distinctive of the brand. Maybe it is not quite as impressive as the more complicated H3 but it is certainly a wonderful looking timepiece.
Beneath the eclectic façade lies a bespoke manual winding movement exclusively made for HYT. This calibre comprises 35-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,000 vibrations per hour (4Hz). Each of the mechanical components (including the bridges and bellows) has been hand finished to the highest level. Functionally the H4 features retrograde fluid hours, minutes and small seconds. The watch also is water resistant to a depth of 50 metres and has a power reserve of 65 hours.
The H4 is limited to only 50 pieces and has a black rubber/NOMEX™ fabric strap with DLC titanium folding buckle. Priced at: $79,000.
For more information about HYT visit the company’s website: http://www.hytwatches.com