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HYT breaks its promise with the H2 Tradition [Video]

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January 2016


The avant garde Swiss watchmaker has released a new timepiece that should never have been made. Produced in a limited edition run of 50 pieces, the H2 Tradition is a nod to classic Swiss watchmaking, which HYT has been challenging for years.

Never say never, Mr. Perriard. That’s Vincent Perriard, HYT’s CEO, who recently unveiled the retro-looking H2 Tradition wristwatch. But the company CEO seems to be well aware that keeping promises is not all that it’s made out to be. Actually, he is quite direct about going against his words:

“We have always said that we would never create a classic piece. Having said that, this is exactly what we’ve done!”

In fact, he also seemed quite proud of the decision by HYT to deliver a more classic-looking timepiece, something that doesn’t square easily with the brand’s non-conformist DNA. And it’s true that the H2 Tradition does have a classic feel about it, a bit removed from the liquid-powered mechanics that the timepieces made by HYT’s Hydromechanical Horologists.

HYT breaks its promise with the H2 Tradition

As its name suggests, the H2 Tradition is meant to fuse the future and the past. Looking at the new watch, it’s hard to say whether it looks more like a contemporary classic or futuristic retro. This new timepiece actually looks like the designers at HTY have travelled forward in time, where they were tasked with producing a retro-looking watch. It represents the brand experimenting with Swiss watchmaking tradition, as Perriard explains:

“Fluid innovation is, and will remain, in our DNA, 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!”

Doing something different – something out of the comfort zone – is not always a bad thing. In fact, it usually leads to innovation. So while the H2 tradition seems like a reversion to classic watchmaking by an avant garde brand, it actually resulted in a lot of new work.

HYT breaks its promise with the H2 Tradition

The traditional design aspects can be found in the diamond guilloché main plate, the ogival shaped crown and its blued hands. This is first HYT with classic guilloché finishes and with a lacquered dial and blued hands. To pull off the look HYT had to modify the design of the original H2 calibre, to give it a more classic appearance in line with the aesthetic canons of haute horlogerie. The balance was recentred to provide room on the dial for the minutes; a small shift which meant that a large part of the movement’s design had to be overhauled.

The case was been redesigned, with the crown protector removed. To allow for the diamond guilloché finish - in rhodium-plated nickel silver on both sides - the main plate was made slightly thicker, which meant new tolerances had to be calculated for the movement. All the bridges were also modified, reconstructed, polished, and hand-bevelled.

Of course, the limited edition watch still remains connected with the core identity of the brand and its hydro-mechanical aesthetic, thanks to the capillary with the blue fluid moving forward as the hours pass. It is driven by two bellows positioned on either side of 6 o’clock, which were developed in 2013 on the original H2 watch.

Technical information

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
  • 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