Innovation within tradition, the DNA of haute horlogerie, the movement heritage, and so on: forget it all. HYT does things its own way, and discards these received ideas. Need a known quantity to hang on to? Good news: the H4 Alinghi tells the time. As for the rest, you will need to forget anything that has been seen, designed, or even imagined before now.
Nothing has changed, except the essential
The chassis is a familiar beast. Since the start of the year, the H4 has had more ink in publicity than it has in its capillary. It is based on the same movement architecture as the H1, HYT's inaugural piece, which has been completely skeletonised.
With a 65-hour power reserve, it unveiled its sculptural mechanism for the very first time and opened up a new creative universe for HYT. One so appealing that the brand decided not to meddle with it: the new H4 Alinghi is virtually a carbon copy of its big brother. Or is it?
All is not as it seems
Using this as its basis, HYT has returned to its favourite game: creating, surprising, sometimes unsettling, always astounding. This time the brand has applied a radiant idea, as brilliant as it is difficult to spot at first glance.
Only eagle-eyed enthusiasts will have noticed an intriguing detail: the presence of two push-pieces. What could they be for, on a model with hours, minutes and seconds? The answer is a first for HYT – probably in watchmaking as a whole.
A fully illuminated project
The H4 Alinghi is a piece equipped with a light source. Under the rider at 6 o'clock, HYT has concealed two LEDs. Once activated, they flood the entire dial with white light. At night, the red fluid is energised by this light source, becoming perfectly visible. At the same time, the wash of light flows into every nook and cranny of the calibre, literally bringing this skeleton architecture to life, and defying the laws of watchmaking.
The source of energy is purely mechanical. “Starting with a blank sheet is what we know. That's how all our models have been created", explains Vincent Perriard, CEO of HYT Watches. "But here, with the light complication, a new challenge was set: we had to start using our own existing calibre as a complete, functional basis. We basically had to add a piece to a puzzle which was already finished".
Lumens ex machina
The generator has been nestled between 4 and 5 o'clock. It is invisible, and activated by the push-piece located opposite on the case middle. The process is broadly that of a dynamo: converting mechanical power into light energy. It is the rotation of the push-piece at 4:30 that winds the generator. Pressure on this same push-piece then activates the two LEDs which bathe the Alinghi in a soft white light.
This illumination is possible for a maximum of five seconds, after which the mechanism must be reinitialised. No battery is needed for this process, which is fully mechanical. Three factors made it so tricky to develop: the extreme miniaturisation, the curved shape, and the fact, once again, that no development of this type had ever been achieved before.
The H4 Alinghi, in honour of the eponymous team, will be released using the same base, with a carbon case, red liquid, white light, the team's logo on the seconds disc and a strap made from sail canvas, with just 25 pieces available.
"The coherence of the idea seduced us ", explains Vincent Perriard. "Before HYT, we were told that having a movement running with a liquid was simply impossible. Before the H4 Alinghi, lighting up a dial was only possible with a battery. And, what is more, a liquid must never be used in conjunction with an electrical current. But, evidently, we’ve done all of those things. In reality, the only limits are those we set ourselves".
Technical Specifications - H4 ALINGHI
Case : 3DTP™ carbon
- diameter: 51 mm
- height: 17.9 mm
- rubber-clad screw-down black DLC titanium crown at 2:30 and a red crown at 4:30
- black DLC titanium and red numeral lacquered dome at 6 o'clock
- convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the dial side
- screw-down sapphire case-back
- water resistant to 50 metres.
Functions : retrograde fluidic hours; minutes, seconds
Movement : skeleton mechanical hand-wound movement, HYT exclusive calibre
- 28,800 vib/h, 4 Hz, 35 jewels
- bridges hand-bevelled and micro blasted, rhodium-plated bellows
- 65-hour power reserve.
White light mechanical module :
- rewinding and push-button system with a crown at 4:30
- the dynamo works when the crown is compressed at 4:30. As soon as the button loosens the light stops working until the full decompression of the additional barrel spring.
Dial : unstructured, fluid hour display
- sapphire minute, seconds and power reserve dial
- black minute indexes and luminescent numerals
- black hour dial with white numerals
- luminescent black minute hand
- regulator at 12 o'clock
- small seconds wheel with the Alinghi logo at 9:30
- power reserve indicator at 2:30
Strap : black rubber base with integrated silver canvas and red stiching. Black DLC titanium folding buckle
Ref : 515-CB-03-RF-RV; 25-piece limited edition