H2 Tradition: HYT's retro contemporary U-turn


HYT’s Hydromechanical Horologists have turned fantasy into reality, mixing mechanics and liquid within a wristwatch. While addicted to non-conformism, these alchemists have drawn upon the strictest codes of fine watchmaking, and shattered them.

"We have always said that we would never create a classic piece. Having said that, this is exactly what we've done!" Vincent Perriard, HYT's CEO, loves nothing better than exploring the brand's vast capacity for expression. From its very beginnings, the brand has blazed new trails, experimenting, creating and inventing. Its driving force is innovation and has propelled all its models to greater heights than anyone could have imagined. From this tempting viewpoint, how could HYT not cast a contemplative eye over three centuries of watchmaking? "Fluid innovation is, and will remain, in our DNA", continues Vincent Perriard, "but this doesn't prevent us from playing around with the codes of traditional watchmaking. Fun, experimentation, the joy of surprise: after all, that's what we do best!”

H2...in 1 Contemporary classic or futuristic retro? As its name suggests, the H2 Tradition is a meeting of the two. It is the first HYT with classic guilloché finishes. It is the first HYT with delicate lacquered dials and blued hands. However, underneath this mantle of light, the H2 Tradition has both feet firmly in the 21st century. It retains its hydro-mechanical aesthetic, thanks to the capillary with the blue fluid moving forwards as the hours pass.

It is driven by two bellows positioned either side of 6 o'clock, developed in 2013 on the very first H2. The traditional side is expressed by the diamond guilloché main plate, the ogival shaped crown and its blued hands: HYT wanted it to be classical and easy to read, with the most subtle of aesthetics.

Apparent Simplicity This constant balance between tradition and modernity is more complex than it seems. HYT had to modify the design of the H2's calibre. The goal is to give it a more classic appearance, in line with the aesthetic canons of haute horlogerie.

The balance, for example, has been recentred to provide room on the dial for the minutes. This simple shift meant a large part of the movement's design had to be overhauled, a feat once again achieved by HYT's long-standing partners, APRP. The case has also been re-designed, with the crown protector removed, in yet another nod towards the codes of watchmaking tradition.

The finish of the H2 Tradition also required a number of adjustments. To allow for a diamond guilloché finish in rhodium-plated nickel silver on both sides, the main plate, for example, had to be made slightly thicker, which in turn meant new tolerances had to be calculated for the movement. All the bridges have been modified, reconstructed, polished, hand-bevelled. As with all HYT's creations, the H2 Tradition is best appreciated in terms of perspective and volume.

"While the initial idea – to create a classic HYT – was simple enough, in practice, ways of preserving the identity of the piece, whilst imbuing it with codes which are not naturally its own, had to be constantly found. Its a fantastic challenge, suggested by our collector customers, and one that we have met with aplomb", concludes Vincent Perriard.

Specifications; H2 Tradition Case:
Polished, microblasted and satin-finished white gold and titanium - Diameter: 48.8 mm - Height: 17.9 mm - Screw-down titanium dynamometric crown - Titanium case middle with light anthracite grey PVD coating - Rider at 6 o'clock, Roman numeral, titanium filled with blue varnish - Domed sapphire crystal (box) with anti-reflection coating - Screw-down sapphire case-back - Water-resistant to 50 metres Functions: 
 Retrograde fluidic hours; minutes, seconds - Crown position indicator (H-N-R) Movement: 
 Mechanical with manual winding, exclusive HYT calibre - 21,600 Vph, 3 Hz, 28 jewels - Microblasted and stainless steel polished bridges with polished and locked internal angles - Diamond guilloché main plate in rhodium-plated nickel silver, rhodium-plated bellows - 192-hour (8-day) power reserve Dial: - Lacquered varnished hour dial with 4N treatment, black Roman numerals - Lacquered varnished minute dial (12 o'clock) and seconds dial (2:30) with 4N treatment; blued minute hand - Black indices (minutes, seconds) and Arabic numerals Strap: - Patent blue alligator and titanium deployant buckle 50-piece limited edition; Ref.: 248-TW-10-BF-AB

The Principle Two flexible reservoirs with a capillary attached at each end. In one, a coloured liquid; in the other, a transparent one. Keeping them apart is the repulsion force of the molecules in each fluid.

The hours are indicated by the coloured liquid released from a flexible reservoir compressed by a piston. These reservoirs, or bellows, are located at six o’clock and are made from a supple alloy. The first coloured liquid travels through the capillary pushing the transparent one back into its own reservoir and then returning to its original position at six o’clock in what is referred to as a retrograde manner.

The two reservoirs at 06:00—While the first compresses, the second expands, and the other way round, resulting in the movement of the liquid in the capillary. As the hours go by, the coloured liquid advances. The meniscus, in the shape of a half moon, marks the separation point with the other fluid in the tube, indicating the time. At 18:00, the coloured liquid comes back to its original position, going backwards.

The secret that gets the reservoirs going are two bellows made of a highly resistant, flexible alloy, each driven by a piston. And this is where watchmaking comes in to activate the system.

HYT is continuing its all-encompassing quest for hybridisation by introducing its H2 in 2014, and the very new H3. This timepiece was born of a vision shared by the teams of HYT and Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi overseen by Giulio Papi. Patrick Berdoz, Lucien Vouillamoz and Emmanuel Savioz are the founders and Vincent Perriard is the CEO. For more information, please view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HZnDs7_ig8

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