Angus Davis reviews the HYT H1 iceberg. After 18 months of research, the Neuchâtel-based Swiss watch brand replaced its signature green liquid with a striking blue liquid to create a limited-edition watch with attractive white and grey dial details , to pass time.
There is a theory that we romantically gravitate towards people we perceive as having a similar degree of beauty. In our minds we determine our place in a pecking order. While some people have high self-esteem and others have low self-esteem, it is surprising that people are often very physically matched with their partners.
When we were walking down the sidewalk and spotted a stunningly beautiful person who easily stood out, we turned our heads. Also, those with extraordinary charisma tend to know this.
An alpha male is likely to notice a pulchritudinous female, but will feel discouraged from expressing admiration when confronted with a cold, aloof character. The prospect of a potential rejection will deter progress, especially when a burly woman is considered “frozen”.
So when I admire the stunningly beautiful HYT H1 Iceberg, I notice its icy tones and wonder if I’m worth interacting with this timepiece and putting it on my arm.
An intimate evaluation period follows
Founded in 2012, HYT is relatively young in the field of Haute Horlogerie. Right from the start, the avant-garde company made watches that cost a lot for their incredible complexity.
I personally find HYT’s timepieces appealing. My horological yearning for a watch from this company was ignited back in 2012 when my eyes lit up at the H1 Titanium. Afterwards, when I saw the H1 Blue Alumen, I was equally impressed.
HYT recently granted me provisional permission to wear the H1 Iceberg, another striking watch beauty that led to this thorough review.
Early examples of the H1 featured bright green liquid surrounding the dial. The liquid is contained in a narrow capillary tube that, at first glance, appears to be the only inhabitant of the glass tube. However, this is not the case, the capillary contains two liquids, one colored and one colorless. One liquid is water-based, the other oil-based, and where the two liquids meet, the meniscus indicates the hour.
The aforementioned green liquid took 18 months of research and development to be replaced by this blue liquid from the HYT H1 Iceberg. This may seem tedious given the agility with which a 5-year-old can mix paint, but there are many factors to consider. First, the two respective liquids must remain homogeneous at all times. Also, the liquid is not affected by UV light or temperature.
The main colour palette of the dial is white and silver grey, giving it a rustic look reminiscent of crisp snowflakes that have just fallen. The shiny silver tone of the two bellows pumps above 6 o’clock accentuates the dial details rendered in vivid blue.
The power reserve indicator is located between 2 and 3 o’clock. In a fully wound state, the HYT H1 Iceberg has a power reserve of 65 hours.
The small seconds are displayed at 10 o’clock on blue and black pinwheel-like wheels.
Like other H1 models, the minutes are shown on the regulator-type display below noon.
While the HYT H1 Iceberg shares the same dial design with its siblings, it seems to me that the blue liquid provides the greatest clarity due to the striking contrast with other dial elements.
Some observers might find the color scheme a little feminine, especially the white rubber strap. However, as a hot-blooded alpha male, I wouldn’t shy away from wearing this H1 variant. In fact, it’s by far my favorite variant.
The mechanics at work dictate that the HYT H1 Iceberg’s case is rather large. With a diameter of 48.8mm and a height of 17.9mm, it feels right at home on my wrist.
Despite its behemoth proportions, the watch doesn’t feel overly heavy. This can be partly explained by HYT’s decision to manufacture the HYT H1 Iceberg case from titanium. These surfaces have a slightly softer air thanks to the “shot-peened and satin-finished finish”.
The blue rubber crown adds a pop of color to the case, which has a more restrained aesthetic compared to the dial.
While HYT is a young company and the H1 is unmistakably modern, the Swiss watch brand has not given up on the craftsmanship that is synonymous with the old school of timepieces. On the contrary, HYT cooperates very closely with practitioners of high-end haute horlogerie.
While the movement may not be equipped with a tourbillon, its complexity is evident at a glance. In addition, a close-up look at the movement through a magnifying glass, the perfect finishing of the “exclusive HYT movement” can be easily seen through the caseback on display.
When I look at other H1 models, I’ve previously discussed in detail how the movement cooperates with the bellows pump to push the liquid around the dial, and can get more explanation of the movement by reading my review of the H1 Blue Alumen. Needless to say, HYT has produced a technical tour with its unusual timing.
Inevitably, my management of the HYT H1 Iceberg ended sadly. However, I love every element of its well-polished torso and glamorous look. The alluring blue hue that wraps around the dial always makes my head spin and my heart race.
Sadly, part of me knows that our union is unlikely to be done any time soon as its asking price is CHF 56,000. Also, by the time I had raised the necessary funds to make the acquisition, the 50-piece limited series had no doubt sold out.
To sum up, is the Haoyitong H1 iceberg “cold as ice”? On the one hand, it’s a beautiful thing that many people can’t grasp, so it’s a bit inaccessible. On the other hand, however, despite the dial’s symbolic cool tones, it instilled a warm feeling in my stomach thanks to its innovative design and unparalleled craftsmanship.
Model: HYT H1 Iceberg
Case: Titanium; diameter 48.80 mm; height 17.90 mm; water-resistant to 10 bar (100 m); sapphire crystal and case back.
Functions: hours; minutes; small seconds; power reserve indicator.
Movement: HYT-exclusive HYT Calibre 101 mechanical hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz), 35 jewels; power reserve 65 hours
Strap: White rubber strap with titanium pin buckle.