Wearing the H2 Tradition is like being an eternal bachelor who falls in love for the first time – you find yourself making a desperate attempt to hold on to your freedom when indeed you are aware that there’s no going back. HYT’s first classic model was received with keen interest by the watchmaking community when it was launched at the last SIHH. HYT was probably expecting this reaction as its production so far has consisted of dynamic, technical and futuristic pieces only.
The piece exudes softness with its enameled Roman numerals around both the hour circle and the sub dials, and its other references to watchmaking tradition. This is a very new genre for the start-up whose design and uniqueness keeps puzzling some – It’s the price to pay for being a true exception in the watchmaking universe. However, things change. The young and excentric brand known for its “fluidic” pieces has earned its stripes with the recent anouncement of a capital injection of CHF 23 million for both HYT and Preciflex, its sister company.
An amazing dive
A first glimpse at the watch means diving into its amazing mechanics. Two curved pistons lay the basis of the dial. They are used to control the movement of two liquids – one royal blue and one transparent – that replace the hour hand in the line of HYT’s intrinsic identity. Any fan of combustion engines will get the meaning whilst purists of the wild road will probably recognize the V-shaped engine, commonly featured on Harley Davidsons. The resemblance is so striking that we could almost smell the used leather and burned rubber of the Hell’s Angels. By the way, it is worth reading what crazy and ebullient Hunter Samuel Thompson has to say about this.
And yet, there is no underlying provocation in spite of the engine’s 48.80mm diameter. The H2 Tradition is a technical rule-breaker as far as the assembly of its movement is concerned – not only because of its layers but above all as it features solid curved pistons. They stem from the base to taper outwardly. This started the production of dramatically majestic arc-shaped support bridges. These excellent micromechanical touches and the technology developed by Preciflex, which produces the hydraulic display, are very striking indeed. It leaves nothing but useless arguments about the watchmaking legitimacy of such a method for the cynical and skeptical.
But this watch is not only scientifically innovating. Its time displaying mode will take some time to get used to. Time passes slowly and quietly. Serenity is a new feeling for such an avant-garde watch. And at the end of its cycle, after 6 am or 6 pm, the retrograde system slides the liquids in the opposite direction. As a bonus, this special and unusual display provides unprecedented time-reading flexibility and comfort.
The H2 Tradition's caliber is lighter than the one housed in the first H2 launched in 2013. The balance has been replaced with a sub dial to indicate the minutes under which it is now affixed and hidden from view. Small seconds have also been added. The watch is thus not a revolution but presents some alterations that have completely change the movement's character. This component armada is fixed onto a guilloché plate, which is the basis of the assembly. What a brilliant composition!
The H2 Tradition protects its lion heart with a sapphire and titanium glass window. This smooth cocoon is enclosed by a domed sapphire crystal. The piece’s profile has a slight slope that falls flat on the middle and reveals unexpected angles. The back, also in sapphire and running to the edge of the middle where it stops, frames the gear trains of the energy storage. The size of the big and uncommon H2 Tradition is not a problem as the watch is in fact light, as corroborated by its height/weight ratio. We can even go as far as saying that it gives a slight feeling of weightlessness.
The H2 Tradition is first and foremost a fundamental game changer for HYT, which having created the future watch is now interested in the origins of its kind. Given the energy invested in its development, the same power could be used to master the depth of the great traditional art of watchmaking.