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Hautlence Vortex

Over the course of Baselworld I got to meet many personalities within the world of horology. Being part of the fair (in a press capacity) was genuinely like being a kid in a candy store. I got to see many wonderful timepieces that previously I could only have dreamed of. Certainly for a freelance writer it can be a very expensive affair but I would definitely say the experience was worth it. When I speak to many of my friends about the show they really can’t appreciate the scale of the event. It is also pertinent to mention that their knowledge of watches is limited to brands like Rolex, Omega, Brietling and Tag Heuer.


It is fair to say that only a very small minority of people are actually interested in timepieces. Most consumers I speak to would prefer to spend their wages on houses, cars and holidays. Therefore it is a huge challenge for brands to entice the buyers that are actually interested. This task is even more difficult for smaller companies as they have fewer resources than the large groups. One way independent watchmakers have achieved success is by forming partnerships with celebrities. A great example is Haultence’s collaboration with former soccer star and actor Eric Cantona.


Earlier this week I received a press release from Haultlence unveiling (what they call) their latest Concept d’Exception. The creation in question is called the Vortex and in my opinion one of the best looking timepieces they have ever created. Dimensionally the timepiece displays masculine proportions and measures 52mm x 50mm x 17.8mm. Even though this watch is pretty light (120grams) it still is over twice as heavy as the phenomenal HL2.4 (49 grams). However due to stylish case design and use of high performance Grade 5 Titanium I feel the watch would be comfortable to wear for most occasions.


Visually the Vortex has an innovative and contemporary appearance. Hautlence seem to have adopted the same approach as Cabestan (Tri-Axial Tourbillon), HYT (HD3) and Angelus (U10 Tourbillon Lumière) with this model. For example the case has many sapphire crystal windows to showcase all the mechanical elements of the watch. Parisian based company Berra Blanquer Design Consultants has conceived this incredible design. Over the last few years they have created many best selling watches for a broad range of different brands. However I feel the Vortex is probably their most sophisticated and radical composition to date.


Beneath the architectural façade lies the same highly accomplished self-winding movement used in the HL2.4. The Caliber HLR2.0 comprises 92-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Each of the 552 individual components (including the gear train) have been assembled, finished and decorated in house. This entire splendor is visible via six sapphire crystal windows including the exhibition case back. Functionally the Vortex features hours and retrograde minutes. The timepiece also has a power reserve of 40-hours and is water resistant to a depth of 30 metres.


The Vortex is limited to only 88 pieces and has a hand stitched Louisiana alligator strap with matching titanium folding clasp. Priced at 160,000CHF (approximately $169,208).


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