During Baselworld there was a big buzz over HYT’s main release for the exhibition. Even though I’d written about it from the usual press release and expressed my initial impressions, it really is never the same as actually seeing it and wearing it.
Before we get to those impressions, I would like to share with you the 8 main challenges that faced the team at HYT and Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi.
Dynamic Liquid Boundaries
This is where the boundary between the two liquids, 1 coloured and the other clear, meet. The meniscus is the biggest problem due to surface tension. It had to be resistant to shocks, changes in pressure and also temperature fluctuations. Unlike a solid, most liquids are more susceptible to these changes.
Liquid is actually in the drive train of the movement. This brings up a lot of different challenges from sealing to the energy recovery system.
Mastering Liquid – Solid Interactions
The best example of this is when you see wine or a spirit showing ‘legs’ on the inside of a glass. This is normally caused by the liquid gripping to the glass/ crystal. This posed an issue for the team designing and producing the capillary, even though it may be straight. A special coating had to be developed for the inside of the capillary. It is a 64 step process! Designed to repel both liquids and the soluble dye. The coating itself took 2 years to develop!
Energy Recovery System
This is so amazing I can’t even explain it. It is technically super advanced, so this is the part which retains the energy from the change in pressure of the liquid to turn the 6 cubes which are the hour display. It was designed to be a shock resistant hydro-device.
Fluidic Module Sealing
The module was designed to be 10 thousand times more waterproof than the rest of the watch. Fluid in a mechanical movement is bad news! If anything had to be right, this was it!
The linear retrograde minute display was designed with a special gear and cam setup to maintain the stylistic display. It is a lovely thing to watch, trust me.
Temperature is a massive variable which can affect the performance of this watch immensely. 10 degrees up or down can create an advance or delay of the visual display by 27 minutes! A special mechanism was created with the bellows to regulate the fluctuations caused. It is rather ingenious and another part of the mechanism you do not see.
Air vs Liquids
The priming of a H3 takes 3 times longer than a H1. That is 9 hours each engineer/ technician has to work on one hydro-mechanical module. Labour of love or what!
So that is it, now you can see the challenges that had to be overcome by the technical teams after the design team had come up with the end design. It certainly appears that the design team had the easier job of the two! Well done to HYT for all the innovation and blue-sky thinking!
Here we go with some live shots of the HYT H3. Enjoy!
2 massive barrels are needed for this movement, understandably so with all those moving parts! You can also see the red and white power reserve indicator at the top of the exposed caseback.
And the stunning wooden box that it comes in, wow!
As you can see this thing is huge! 62mm wide, 41mm in height and 16mm deep. A monster, granted but weirdly it does not wear quite as large as it seems. This is definitely one for the geeks out there, and those who want to make a statement.
What do you guys think?