In 2012, when the first Hydro-Mechanical watch H1 was launched, this young and crazy brand HYT caused an uproar in the watchmaking world. Those guys have a strange idea to equip their works with the worst enemy of watches: liquids. We tested this watch and we fell in love with it only because of the rationality and seriousness of the concept. As early as 2013, only a year after their first attempt, HYT brought a more exciting successor called HYT H2 Titanium Black DLC, which we tested again.
The HYT H1 Red2 that we processed for a few weeks gave us some clues about how serious this concept is. When this watch came out, we were very excited at first, but also a little skeptical. How can such a complicated idea be realized by a brand just registered? Of course, the HYT team consists of watchmakers and talented engineers (with their sister company Preciflex). But even…
However, they did it-and they did it well! The project is clearly realized. We are very surprised to see that such an idea can be realized with such a serious degree in such a short period of time. This could be a toy or a watch locked in a safe. Not at all! It can even be regarded as a sports watch, sturdy and durable, and can be used as a suitable daily beater. Of course, development is not so easy. HYT has to face several industrialization and reliability issues-these issues have now been resolved. Even more surprising is that the brand launched its second watch quickly, using the same fluid indicator concept, but with more complex movement and display. It was in 2013 (only one year after H1), and this is the watch we are reviewing today.
HYT H2 brings back the main interest of HYT H1 (the brand’s inaugural watch): the fluid indication of time. Although most watches display the time by rotating their hands on a central axis—or at least by discs or satellites—it is still a mechanical module driven by gears, wheels, and levers. Although these displays may be complicated-look at our “other displays” section-it is still a game of mechanics. With HYT-whether we are talking about H1 or H2-watchmakers are introducing something completely meaningless and even dangerous to watches: liquids. In a circular tube located around the dial, liquid flows to indicate the hours. As already seen in the context of HYT H1, HYT H2 brings the same concept to a more complex watch, which was born in collaboration with the famous APRP manufacturer Audemars-Piguet Renaud & Papi.
HYT H2 showed more functions, better integrated fluid module, now directly into the movement, longer power reserve and amazing level of detail. The first H1 is to create a buzzing sound. H2 is made to build brand reputation and prove the importance of this concept to other industries.
Like HYT H1, the main feature of HYT H2 is a regulator-type display. Its capillary is filled with two liquids: fluorescent liquid and translucent liquid. The chronograph indication is divided into two parts: the hour is indicated by the fluid, and the minute is indicated by the central hand-it is novel compared to the HYT H1, because the minute is not located on the 12 o’clock sub-dial, but the classic rotating display. The minute hand is now larger and located in the middle of the watch. It must be read on the sapphire track located inside the green tube. However, it is no longer a classic hand. Between 5:30 and 6:30, it will make a small jump and continue to orbit the dial.
How does fluid technology work?
This is part of our HYT H1 Red2 review.
The hour display relies on 3 separate elements: glass tube, 2 liquids and 2 pistons/tanks. The idea leading to H1/H2 consists of two flexible reservoirs fixed at both ends of the capillary. One is an aqueous liquid filled with fluorescein (red here), and the other is a transparent viscous liquid. Keep them separate: the repulsive force of the molecules in each liquid, mark the boundary between the two with the meniscus. As time passes, the fluorescent liquid advances. The half-moon-shaped meniscus marks the breaking point of another liquid in the tube and indicates the time. At 18:00, the fluorescent liquid returns to its original position and moves backwards.
The two bellows create pressure or dents to move the liquid. Over time, the left piston pushes the fluorescent green liquid into the glass tube while the right piston expands. Once it arrives at 18:00, the process is reversed and the right piston compresses to send the green liquid backwards to its original position/reservoir.
The main limitation is to produce two liquids that cannot be mixed with each other, even under high or low temperature or various pressure conditions or when the watch is impacted.
APRP’s participation is easy to spot. The movement is fully opened, showing incredible depth. All technical elements-gear train, escapement module and pistons-are completely exposed. We also found the typical APRP crown indicator in 3 places, and something new: the temperature indicator at 9:30. The last improvement compared to HYT H1 is the expansion of the power reserve. The APRP team is known for its strong mastery of energy and power consumption, and HYT H2 shows this with an 8-day power reserve.
HYT H2-here is the titanium black DLC version-is obviously a huge watch. Its case is made of lightweight solid titanium and painted black with diamond-like carbon technology, measuring 48.8 mm x 17.9 mm. This may put pressure on the paper, but this watch is still easy to strap on-of course considering its size. The case brought back the same DNA as the HYT H1, but it felt cleaner. It allows more attention to the dial and instructions. The milled bezel of the H1 has been completely removed and replaced by a high-curved sapphire crystal glass that spreads over the entire dial. The case and lugs are fully brushed-expect some polished edges to enhance the design. The crown is still located at 3 places and is protected by a large hollow strap on the side of the case.
Like its predecessor, HYT H2 may be a concept watch and technical demonstration, but it is also a sports watch. HYT H2 is equipped with a screw-in case back and screw-in crown, making the watch water-resistant to 50 meters. Of course, it will not replace your Tudor Pelagos or Omega Seamaster, and we doubt whether the owner of HYT H2 will use it as a suitable tool table. However, the watch feels sturdy and durable. It can be used and abused (a bit). The HYT H2 is equipped with a black rubber strap with a folding clasp, confirming the instrumentality of this ultimate timepiece.
It also offers multiple versions: black DLC and pink gold with green liquid, platinum with blue liquid, platinum and titanium with red liquid, and titanium with gun metal PVD treatment and blue liquid.
This time, we will not make a separate part for the dial and hands, because both are fully integrated in the movement. The fake HYT H1 method is more classic. The movement created with Chronode consists of two modules (a classic clock module and a fluid module with bellows and tubes), which are connected by a cam mechanism.
In the context of HYT H2, these two modules are now fully integrated in one movement. Compared to HYT’s first product, the first thing to change is the position of the piston/bellows, which are now in a V shape-which reminds us of the Harley-Davidson engine. The V-shaped positioning of the bellows optimizes the integration of the interface that connects the watch mechanism with the fluid system. This system can be seen at 9 on the dial. It consists of a worm wheel with an ever-increasing diameter, which generates pressure on an arm to compress the left bellows to push the liquid in the capillary. Compared with H1, this structure leaves more space, so the minute hand can be placed in the center, while the balance spring is located on the black bridge on the upper half of the dial.
The escapement module is not the only exposed mechanical part, because the gear train and the wheels that drive the big minute hand are also completely visible on the front. The dial shows extraordinary depth, giving HYT H2 futuristic, industrial and mechanical elements. The all-black finish of the parts is inspired by the classic haute horological finishes: polished bevels and straight lines on the steel parts and wheels. Multiple small bridge plates are made of titanium, hollowed out, and micro-sandblasted with black DLC coating. watches online shop
The movement also adds two other complications. The first is the crown position indicator (helps to find the fit of the APRP). There are 3 positions: N means neutral – H is used to set the time – R is used to wind the chain. The second complication is the temperature indicator. Since the watch is full of liquid, high temperature or low temperature will affect the viscosity, thereby affecting the displacement of the liquid.
Compared with the front, the movement on the back is much simpler. It mainly shows two huge barrels that provide 8 days (192 hours) of energy for HYT H2. Considering that the barrel must continuously drive 2 bellows and one liquid, this result is very impressive. The remaining power can be read by an indicator located directly on the left barrel. The tighter the main spring (and therefore the closer to the center), the greater the remaining power. Simple but not very precise.
A more exciting and completed project
Animation on the dial (jumping minute hand, retrograde fluid, balance wheel)
Complexity and depth of movement
Extreme appearance and superb finish
Link to the first HYT with a completely different design
The robustness and possible daily use of this concept watch
Power reserve legibility
Mass diameter and thickness
Unnatural readability of the minute hand
The temperature indicator is a great idea…but what if the temperature is too low or too high?
When you are faced with such a complex and unusual project, how do you look at such a watch and how to maintain a minimum of objectivity? It’s like being a car journalist in front of the latest Lamborghini or Pagani. Such a sports car or concept watch is a coveted object, without reason and rationality. First of all, the price categorizes it as a level that we cannot reach 99.99%-therefore, it becomes the object of our desire and hides its shortcomings, just because it makes us dream.
If we must add our objectivity to the equation, we must admit that HYT H2 is a very successful project, with superb modern watch methods, extreme and unusual appearance, very interesting technical content, even though these elements are completely Realized, sturdy and durable, (almost) suitable for all occasions. However, it has the shortcomings of most conceptual watches, which means that the legibility is not as good as the classic watches (minutes do have to be read on the track because of its unnatural position) and lacks a bit of elegance-not on the HYT H2 Platinum Something too obvious. However, competing with ultra-thin JLC is not HYT’s goal-and this will not end anytime soon, as the brand recently revealed another crazier watch, fake HYT H3.