A few weeks ago I had the rare opportunity to get hands on with a prototype of one of the hottest watches on the market right now, the H1, straight off the wrist of maker HYT’s CEO Vincent Perriard. A highly unconventional time display complemented by a modern design has made this piece a real hit with watch lovers the world over, catapulting the brand onto center stage from relative obscurity just a few short years ago.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, prototype? I thought this watch was launched at Basel World last year? And you would be absolutely right. The only problem is that every piece produced so far has been sold, meaning getting hands on with a finished piece is all but impossible – unless one of our lucky readers has purchased one and would like to submit a review?
HYT of course is not complaining. Their problem is quite the opposite in fact; they simply can’t keep up with demand and have already pre-sold their entire production for the next year and a half! Fortunately though Mr. Perriard was more than happy to sit down with us for half an hour at the GTE and let us play with the watch straight off his wrist.
The first thing that really struck me about the H1 is that it is literally just as cool in real life as it’s been made to look in the press images and videos. What surprised me most perhaps though was just how light and comfortable it is to wear. According to the official specs the case of the H1 is 48mm but thanks to some clever design techniques it wears like a much smaller watch.
Although the futuristic dial is relatively simple it is really a pleasure to look at it thanks to the clean design and high quality finishing. The highlight of course though is the liquid time display. Photos and videos simply cannot do it justice. Short of holding one in your hands yourself and turning the crown to make the green liquid go back and forth, it is impossible to appreciate just how cool this timepiece is. Add to that the highly industrious look of the bellows at 6 o’clock and you’ve got yourself a real winner here.
The reverse of the watch is just as much fun to look at and if you have the patience you can watch the bellows slowly contract and expand as the retrograde liquid time display returns back to zero. This watch really is like nothing you have ever seen before and with a price tag just barely nudging 40,000CHF it’s not hard to see why it’s all but impossible to get your hands on one.
The good news though is that it only gets better. Mr Perriard was kind enough to give us a sneak peek at what the brand has in store for Basel World this year. Unfortunately we are sworn to secrecy but please rest assured I cannot possibly overstate our reaction enough; wow! If you’re still kicking yourself for hesitating the first time around and missing out on getting one of the first H1s then this could be your chance for redemption. Be warned though, this second collection will sell out fast too, trust me.
Now for those of you who would like a bit more background on the brand and a technical explanation of how the H1 works please click here to read the first, more in-depth article we published last year, complete with aforementioned “cool” video.
The Final Word
Sometimes you just get it right. HYT took a massive risk with the H1 and it has paid off tremendously for the brand. The challenge now, according to Mr. Perriard, is keeping up with demand whilst ensuring the highest standards of quality are maintained. He’s a man with a plan though and feels comfortable that they can get the job done and who are we to argue? After all, these are the guys that found a way to incorporate liquid into a mechanical timepiece!