By Gordon Henderson
Today we take a little break from the SIHH 2015 frenzy, to bring you a close-up look at what may well be one of the most advanced “skull” watches on the market.
It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but in the case of the latest release from Hydro Mechanical Horologist, HYT — the eyes are the windows of time. The 51mm Skull is a futuristic statement piece. As with the HYT H1 and HYT H2, The Skull continues with the brand’s signature concept of utilizing liquid to tell time. The bellows move a colored liquid through thin capillaries around the face of the watch.
From there, though, the similarities with The Skull’s predecessors end, and the Avant-Garde piece begins to carve out its own place in horology. For starters there is no minute indicator. None, zip, zilch, zero. Minutes on a watch are 2014. To tell time on the 2015 release, simply follow the liquid around the skull. The location of the liquid indicates the hour and the distance between hour indices will roughly give you a gauge of the minutes. To be honest, if you are in the market for this watch, you can just ask someone to tell you the time on his or her iPhone.
“Simply taking an existing movement, giving it a vague skull shape and presenting it as an entirely new piece is not really our style,” says Vincent Perriard, HYT CEO. “We always want to see how far we can go in terms of design and engineering. Our objective was to create a Skull that completely breaks away from everything you normally see, while still embodying the very DNA of HYT.”
The use of a capillary, which carries a fluid to act as the hour marker, is a concept that is already mastered by HYT and its partners. However, reworking the round form to a skull shape required extensive work. The skull shape of the tube, which measures less than one millimetre in diameter, was a significant challenge in itself, especially due to the capillary’s four angles, two of which are almost 90° at the base. These curves meant that bending the glass was a particularly delicate task.
“We had to re-examine how to generate enough power to move through these sharp angles, whilst ensuring that the fluid always indicates the correct time, moving at the right speed and with perfect regularity over twelve hours,” explains Perriard.
Moving on to the rest of the watch, the eyes of the skull are key indicators. The right eye is the power indicator and displays how much of the 65-hour power reserve is left via different shades: the eye gets darker as the power winds down. The left eye is the seconds indictor. The new 51mm case has been specially created for the Skull, and features angled lugs. The single assembly push-button of the crown is located between 2 o’clock and 3 o’clock. The crown protector has been removed. Lateral inserts have also been added to the case, allowing multiple future combinations.
The piece will be released in two color versions: Green Eye in black DLC titanium case; Red Eye in black DLC titanium and 5N rose gold. When I look at the two I instantly think of Doctor Doom and Iron Ma. Only 50 pieces of the Green Eye and 25 of the Red Eye will be produced. It will be available this May — so keep your eyes out for it!
– Mechanical manual wind, exclusive HYT calibre
– rubber coated screw-down crown- 28,800 vib/h, 4 Hz, 35 jewels
– bridges hand-chamfered and adorned with Côtes de Genève, rhodium plated bellows
– 65-hour power reserve
– black titanium dome at 6 o’clock
– cambered sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the dial side
– Screwed sapphire caseback
– Water resistant to 50 meters
– Black hour dial, grey anthracite indices and grey numerals
– Seconds dial (left eye)
– Power reserve indicator (right eye)