Is Hysek’s skeleton a square?

April 2016

Hysek has released a new version of the Furtif Skeleton Tourbillon, an example of the brand’s “ultra skeletonisation” technique first developed in 2008. What’s changed since then?

Running a watch company is a lot like riding a bike. Not that I’ve ever run a watch company before, but something tells me the principle is basically the same: you have to keep pedalling forward otherwise you fall.

 Hysek’s latest release - the Furtif Skeleton Tourbillon – might demonstrate the point.

The brand has become a specialist in art of “ultra skeletonisation”, which was based on the idea that combined a tourbillon with skeletoning. Previous examples include the Verdict Skeleton Double Tourbillon and IO Skeleton Tourbillon lines in 2014. But the pioneer was actually the Furtif collection, which demonstrated the brand’s hallmark craftsmanship in 2008.

Is Hysek's skeleton a square?

That means less is more. Only the barest essentials of the movement are left, and nothing more: a gear train for hours and minutes, a barrel with an 48-hour power reserve, and an escapement in the form of a flying tourbillon. These last two components produce the aesthetic balance of the watch face, positioned at 5 and 11 o’clock respectively.

And that watch face is essentially the movement itself, the HW15 manufacture hand winding calibre set between two sapphire crystals. It has 172 components, individually designed and skeletonised to produce the desired visual effect and function. The bevelling there is admittedly an outstanding feat of fine finishing.

The Furtif is packaged in a large 44mm square case very similar to the predecessor models. The use of titanium ensures the complex case assembly remains lightweight, with a titanium and gold superstructure with characteristic swivel lugs rounding off the angular design.

The Furtif Skeleton Tourbillon will be produced in a limited edition of just thirty watches, which makes it a hot commodity by definition. In terms of innovation, however, we could have done with a bit more separation from previous models of the Furtif.

So back to the bicycle metaphor. According to the brand:

“It’s one of the delightful paradoxes of the Hysek manufacture, and at the same time its great strength: each timepiece is designed to be a crowning achievement – and yet a few years later, it is redesigned and made still better.”

But how much of a “crowning achievement” is it really, if that achievement is replaced a few years later? That’s like believing every push on the pedals on a bicycle is more important than the last. Neither is exactly a crowning achievement, but they’re all equally important to keep moving forward.