Which model you bought first?
A Tag Heuer Monaco, a long time ago! I have been living for a long period, after I decided to quit watch industry fifteen years ago, without wearing any watch, or buying one. I wanted to work in a more creative and innovative environment. To invent, rather than to look to the past, to the history of a brand in order to propose a ‘new’ product. HYT and Preciflex (the sister company of HYT, expert in micro-fluidic technologies) projects changed my mind because we had the opportunity to develop a whole new creative territory. Modern sciences, hi-technologies… used with a new an in-depth way to tell the time. We invent watches from the 3rd millennium. Such opportunities happen once every 50 years. At best. It is happening now.
What are the key design basis of an HYT watches?
Design is a process, and this process has little to do with sketching something fresh or beautiful. Design usually starts by asking yourself the right questions and trying to come up with the best possible answer. As much as our two liquids are both immiscible and complementary, there is an existing tension between art and science, innovation and tradition, feeling contemporary and remaining timeless. No force exists without a counter force. Creativity lies right in between. Whether it be the watchcase’s soft pebble shape, the numerous details on the dial or the strap that reference droplets hitting a flat surface of water or the crystalline dome shaped sapphire glass, our aesthetic language is essentially fluidic. Our watches dynamic and organic curves also appear extremely fluid on the wrist to grant absolute comfort when worn.
What limitations are there when it comes to working with fluid?
We had to overcome many challenges and find innovative solutions to develop our fluid system. Thermal compensation, advanced chemistry, extreme tightness, non-stick coating, etc… We have been able to create solutions thanks to the latest technologies, in particular used in aerospace, medical and semi-conductor industries. Many patents protect our inventions and a micro-fluidic technological platform has been created at our sister company Preciflex, which also supplies the medical industry (micro-injectors) and other major luxury brands as well. Based on our technological platform, I see many more opportunities than limitations. We are opening up a whole new creative universe. More to come!
Where do the fluids colors come from?
We produce both the colored and transparent liquids internally through a process we have invented. Using the highest quality standards, we have to guarantee that the color of the liquid will not change through the decades. To color one of the liquids, we use the purest and most stable dyes that exist, mainly coming from the medical imaging industry. The formulas and process are kept secret!
Which watch model’s story you feel the closest to you?
The Skull collection integrates the most of our “time is fluid” philosophy and spirit. The skull refers to the ‘memento mori’ or ‘carpe diem’: when you see the skull, you remember that time is precious and you have to seize the now and enjoy it. It is the utmost positive symbol. Sometimes, to enjoy the present, you also have to forget the time! We thus decided to take away the minutes indication. You continuously see the colored liquid flowing inside the capillary, telling you the time. You will not know if it is 25 minutes or 27 minutes pas the hour: most of the time, you don’t need to, especially when you want to seize the moment and make the most of a situation. It is an hedonist watch. And when you see during a whole day, the colored liquid filling the skull-shape tube of glass, it is as if time was drawing a skull the symbol of the time passing by!
Where the bellows come from?
The bellows are a strategic component of our watches. They are a perfect example of a hi-tech transfer from aerospace to watchmaking. Without the NASA programs, the HYT project would not have been possible. The bellows are a quarter-of-a-hair thick, with a special multilayer metal alloy. There is third bellow that you do not see (except on our H3 model), hidden inside one of the two visible bellows. As large as a grain of rice, it stores a custom liquid and forms our patented ‘thermal compensator’, allowing the watch to work perfectly over a large range of temperatures.
We know that the case sizes you use are big, would you ever consider using a smaller size like 42 mm or 38 mm?
Since the H0 collection was unveiled in 2017, we have developed products using ‘fluidic aesthetics’ because we want to provide the best experience to our customers. When designing the watch case, we decided to have a pure circle, with no lugs. Independent studies have shown that to define the size of a watch, the measurement we use must integrate the lugs. Our 48.8mm models are equivalent to a 42-43mm watch with lugs! An HYT is, therefore, suitable for many wrists.
How do you see HYT developing over the following years?
The human perception of time is fluid. We invented a new way to tell the time, putting the customer’s experience, engagement and transformation at the heart of our work. Our patented fluidic technology allows an intuitive, modern visualization of the time and we will continue to promote it through continuous creation. Being contemporary also means to be consistent and coherent with the products we develop. We do not want to re-use a tourbillon, which was invented more than 200 years ago, for the thousandth time. Our patented fluidic display and our light system with no battery or electronics will enter in the reference book of the complicated watches, as rare contemporary complications. Inside an HYT, we also have a mechanical movement for the regulation of time and as the source of energy to move the liquids. We will unveil new collaborations soon, stay tuned!
Do you have a watch that you would like to give for your children?
Time means nothing until you make it a moment to remember. More than giving an object, I prefere to share memories with my children and make them remember the good times we spent together. Time is precious, much more than any watch!