It is under exceptional circumstances or during rare encounters that some atypical timepieces manage to reveal the unique little something that gives them an extra spark. In Porto Cervo, Sardinia, HYT teamed up with Russell Coutts, five-time America’s Cup champion and at the inception of the RC44 regattas, to create the H1 Air RC44. The young watchmaking brand is known for having gone the extra mile to create a time-reading concept that has made waves in watchmaking. The watch proves how close the connection between HYT and the liquid element as well as sports is.
Life in Porto Cervo is like nowhere else in the world. At the RC44 regattas, the air gave off the sweet fragrance of the upcoming Italian summer. The sea reflected such beautiful colors that it was tempting to cut through the waves in an overcanvassed and skillfully designed sailboat to try to beat the speed of the sweet summer breeze.
In short, all conditions were met for the event – after all we were there for the boat race – but they were also ideal for the first dive of this watch, which is well equipped to accompany skippers in this type of boat. In the case of the RC44, all helmsmen are also the lucky owners of the 13-meter yachts, all which have identical hulls and have been inspired from the old monohulls that used to take part in the America’s Cup. What’s more, the carbon hulls were all designed in a way that made it easy for them to be transported internationally in a container, and they were all developed in 2007 in the same shipyard and following the same specifications. All crews consist of the same number of members – one skipper (the owner), four professional sailors and three aficionado sailors. Competing on the same terms means that only skill and a little luck can make the difference in a race where all teams have a priori the same chance to win. And to time them all in the same terms: the unique HYT Air RC44.
Generating news at wind speed
The question is: what links this watch with connections to clepsydrae to sailing and the sea? According to Vincent Perriard, CEO of HYT, there is no doubt: the H1 Air RC44 is the first watch HYT has created “in a partnership in which fluids (air and water) are the main playing fields”. Whilst boats move thanks to rational exploitation, in this case the piece displays time thanks to the movement produced by a fluid within a tube that encircles the dial. But this connection did not explain it all. This is why the H1 has specially been revisited to reveal its distinct characteristic in a powerful way.
And so, the movement is covered with a sapphire plate never seen before in HYT pieces. In order to add strong dynamics to the overall look of the piece, only the area where the metallic bellows are displayed on the dial has been made transparent. These bellows allow the fluorescent yellow fluid to move within the tube.
The manufacture used a single-piece applique with the RC logo to work on contrasts and recreate the semi-transparent effect produced by composite sails. And to prolong the feeling of lightness one experiences aboard the sailing boat, the 48.8-mm case of the H1 Air RC44 is made of Alun 316B, an alloy which is ultra-resistant to the saline elements contained in water.
Mixing useful with enjoyable
The perfectly readable and original watch seduced the owners of the participating units for its efficiency and creativity. Hubert, head of the circuit, also wore the watch. The Swiss said that this H1 Air RC44 would not leave sailors indifferent, as they are always very attached to products linked to their passion. In the present case, the electric blue anodizing and the fluorescent yellow hour and minute display of the watch created a buzz, especially amongst the helmsmen who are responsible for leading their yacht perfectly when conditions are perfect.
The wonderful watch has been produced in a limited range of 22 pieces and is driven by a manual winding mechanical caliber. It is equipped with a 65-hour power reserve and comes with a yacht sail canvas strap and a classic but solid folding clasp in titanium.
HYT and Alinghi: a history of good flow
Apart from being the official chronometer of the 2015 RC44 championship, the young and innovating HYT signed a partnership with Alinghi last April to become its “Official Watch” provider. Alinghi was founded by Ernesto Bertarelli, the famous two-time America’s Cup winner. Further to this, he was also winner of the Extreme Sailing Series such as the Decision 35 in 2014 and he participated in the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour this season. HYT’s presence is completely legitimate in this sail racing category as it shares the brand’s approach as far as bringing unprecedented innovation is concerned. According to Ernesto Bertarelli and Vincent Perriard, the connection is logical as both companies have the same vision: they constantly strive to excel in providing more sensations, results and emotions to domains in which precision is key.
HYT in Porto Cervo: blessed by success
The very recent unveiling of the HYT H1 Air RC44 collection in Porto Cervo was meant to celebrate the partnership between the brand and the RC44 championship. However, the young manufacture that made technical fluids an avant-garde watchmaking display mode went even further. Indeed, it will be exhibiting its watches in Harrods’ – Britain’s most prestigious department store – pop-up store in the famous Sardinian seaside resort of Porto Cervo during the two months of summer. The collections of the fluidic manufacture, including the recently unveiled, will be available in this ephemeral yet prestigious spot.