Watches are quintessentially round, so elaborating one in another shape – in this case, rectangular – is really a sign of daring and self-confidence. HYT can easily boast both qualities, since this up-and-coming brand is constantly consolidating its experience in displaying time using liquids. And no doubt, the decision-makers did need a lot of courage to climb that technological Everest, which was born from the imagination of an nuclear engineer of genius. Having managed that first climb successfully gave the brand the strength to try other paths. So, this is the H3:identical in spirit, different in form.
Indirect fluidic draw
Straightening the capillary, that is the microtube containing the two liquids, was not the main challenge. In fact, the system works the same way as the H1+ and H2, with two inversed pistons that control the displacement of the two heterogeneous liquids, which are themselves separated by a meniscus. However, in the two preceding versions, the module carrying the fluids was totally independent, but in the H3, it joins in the mechanical activation of the hour dial.
This "dial," made of aluminum for greater lightness, is in fact a small stick with a square cross-section that pivots a quarter-turn every six hours and is numbered from 0 to 5, 6 to 11, 12 to 17, and 18 to 23. The yellow-green liquid above the stick indicates the hour on this scale, which keeps changing, of course. It pivots automatically when the liquid arrives at the end of its course activating the retrograde system. The play of the pistons, with one emptying and the other filling up, is used to activate the dial. For the first time, a technical link was created between the liquid world and the mechanical one. So HYT developed a new type of collaboration with its designer, Audemars Piguet Renaud Papi. The watchmaking teams held a far more intense dialog than before with the teams of Perciflex, HYT's sister company, which manufactures the fluid modules.
Piloted by satellite
But there is another surprise with this special caliber built on the same foundation as the H2, which also emerged from the APRP workshop, and it is visible below the minute scale. The linear display using a hand required development of a very special organ. The hand itself is guided by a system of satellites that revolve around a fixed wheel. It is driven from underneath by a double rake to ensure that everything goes without a hitch and safely. Furthermore, the course of the hand had to be regulated by use of a cam to ensure that it moves at the same rate throughout its course. The H3 is also a practical watch for daily use. Its movement is protected from erroneous manipulations. The time-setting system, for instance, is secured to avoid blockages. And user comforts are all in place:the hour rod can be turned independently using a pusher.
The H3 signals HYT's entry into that tough place reserved for those connoisseurs of form watches. It was a major challenge, but a necessary one, that HYT was justified in taking on in order to broaden its horizons, mainly with respect to forms. The Skull, which displayed hours in the form of a skull, was the first step. The H3 represents the second dimension, in which the marriage of the fluid and the mechanical is more intimate than ever.