HYT is a luxury watch brand based in Geneva, specializing in the manufacture of hydromechanical watches.
The brand’s first timepiece, HYT H1, was launched in 2012. Its revolutionary fluid technology combines the mechanical and liquid functions of the watch, completely disrupting the watch market. The use of hydraulic machinery is the first in the watch industry. HYT won the 2012 Geneva Watchmaking Award, the Best Innovative Watch Concept Award (Geneva Haute Horlogerie Awards). Headquartered in Neuchatel (Neuchatel), HYT SA is the sister company of Preciflex and is currently the main brand selling patented fluid technology.
HYT’s hydro-mechanical watchmakers blend fantasy and reality, mixing machinery and liquids in their watches. These alchemists are obsessed with not following traditional ideas, but they have borrowed and shattered the strictest haute watchmaking specifications.
By completing the incredible challenge of indicating time with water, they did not push the new UFO into the watchmaking stratosphere, because in fact they shattered all certainty by uniting two purportedly opposite worlds. Since the advent of the Pharaoh’s water clock, the law of gravity has never been overcome to transfer this energy into a portable watch.
Two flexible liquid storage tanks with capillary tubes at both ends. One kind of colored liquid; the other is transparent. What separates them is the repulsive force of the molecules in each fluid. The number of hours is represented by the colored liquid released by the elastic reservoir, which is compressed by the piston. These water tanks or bellows are located at six o’clock and are made of soft alloy. The first colored liquid flows through the capillary tube, pushing the transparent liquid back into its own container, and then returns to its original position at six o’clock in a so-called retrograde manner. The two reservoirs are at 06:00. When the first one compresses, the second one expands, and vice versa, causing the liquid to move in the capillary. As time goes by, the colored liquid keeps advancing. The half-moon-shaped half-moon-shaped elbow marks the separation point together with other fluids in the separation tube, indicating the time. At 18:00, the colored liquid returns to its original position and moves backward.
The secret to make the reservoir work? Two bellows made of high-resistant alloy, each bellows is driven by a piston. This is where the watchmaking industry starts to activate the system.
How was the first hybrid fluid watch born?
In 2002, during the Swiss National Exhibition, Lucien Vouillamoz proposed the idea of designing a water meter and discussed this possibility with his friends. However, there is currently no alternative technical solution to replace the gravity used in the faucet or water clock in a wearable waterproof watch. In the absence of a technical solution, the idea of dissent was quickly shelved.
A few years later, Lucien Vouillamoz reconsidered his concept from a different perspective-the creation of a liquid indicator of time, which is small, portable, and can be used in different ways, rather than a simple “water meter”. This thought process led him to come up with a completely new idea-involving the use of two flexible reservoirs connected at both ends of the same capillary. This closed system contains immiscible liquids of different colors in each container. By compressing the first liquid, its liquid is pushed into the capillary and the time is displayed, while the other liquid expands in the second container. The separation between the two liquids is ensured by the positive and negative polarities of the two molecules, which will make them repel each other like two magnets. No piston is needed in the tube. The problems of energy and traffic congestion were solved in one go. The idea of the first hybrid mechanical watch was born.
Seeing the potential of this idea, Lucien Vouillamoz visited his long-time friend Patrick Berdoz, a serial entrepreneur and business angel experienced in the field of intellectual property, and initiated innovative projects. After verifying the concept and conducting due diligence with his team of engineers, the latter invested the necessary funds to conduct preliminary verification of the project and provided his team of experts to Lucien. Together they conducted previous research and developed the first technical specification, the first design and preliminary registration. The results are encouraging. Patrick (Patrick) continues to fund the entire project. At the same time, he contacted his friend Emmanuel Savioz (Emmanuel Savioz). This expert in the field of high-tech start-ups was responsible for the creation of HYT and raised the funds needed to fund the prototype. Patrick also invited him to establish with Lucien and serve as a board member of HYT fake and its sister company Preciflex.
After a year of research and development, the first prototype was created. The time is accurately displayed with the help of a rectangular capillary with a size of 1.7/03mm, which is processed into a circle between the two layers of plexiglass that make up the watch glass. A flexible water reservoir made of a rolling film is trapped in a transparent cylinder. The force required to move the liquid is transmitted by a cam, which replaces the hour hand. Preciflex demonstrated the concept and registered a patent.
An important meeting with Vincent Perriard, he was crazy about watchmaking and was already involved in attempts to use fluids-in fact, he won the 2008 Design Watch Award at the prestigious Geneva Watch Grand Prix.
Now, the idea of processing a rectangular capillary into plexiglass has become history. It is replaced by a borosilicate glass capillary with a length of about 11 cm and an inner diameter of only 1 mm. This capillary is an independent capillary that can read the time. Now, the fluid is no longer flowing from the rolling film, but from the high-strength, ultra-flexible bellows (the technology used by NASA). The bellows acts as a piston, allowing the fluid to move in the capillary.
In order to develop the movement of the first hybrid mechanical watch, HYT turned to Jean-François Mojon and his team at Chronode. For the liquid part, he suggested that Lucien Vouillamoz and Helbling Technik conduct reliability tests and production tests together. At the same time, CEO and HYT partner Vincent Perriard entrusted the design of the first hybrid mechanical fluid watch to the Etude de Style design company headed by Sébastien Perret.
Vincent Perriard obtained the movement from Chronode, while Preciflex provided the liquid composition under the supervision of Lucien Vouillamoz. The alchemy between these two unlikely worlds is perfect. A year later, the first hybrid mechanical swiss men watch came out.