The HYT T1 Series makes fluidic timekeeping as approachable as possible The HYT T1 Series makes fluidic timekeeping as approachable as possible

The HYT T1 Series makes fluidic timekeeping as approachable as possible

Buffy Acacia

There are lots of relative truths in watchmaking. CHF 48,000 isn’t “entry level” by most people’s standards, but in comparison to the CHF 100,000-390,000 price tags we usually associate with HYT, it’s merely a stepping stone. Only three years after having been saved from bankruptcy, the new HYT T1 signals the beginning of a new era from the innovative Swiss brand. It proves that its concept of fluidic mechanical horology isn’t just a toy for the mega-rich, and that HYT has enough of a signature visual style which can translate to slightly more traditional watches.

The case

hyt t1 series case profile

It’s almost farcical to consider the HYT T1 a traditional wristwatch in any sense, however there are far more recognisable elements here than on any other HYT model. Gone are the immensely complex planetary gems which fly around a conical tourbillon, and in their place is a sunburst dial. It’s also funny to hear HYT’s claims of a smaller, more compact case, when the diameter is 45.3mm. But, with relative truth in mind, all of that is accurate. It may be a watch with a heap of presence on any wrist, but the case design is cleverly planned to still wear comfortably. The octagonal shape is asymmetrical and without lugs, relying on an integrated yet interchangeable rubber strap to secure it on your wrist. The total case length is only 46.3mm, which could even suit a small-to-average wrist. You can forget about sliding it under any cuffs however, as if that was ever its purpose, with a thickness of 17.2mm.

The dial

hyt t1 series copper dial

The dial of the HYT T1 is deceptively simple, with only one central hand above the deeply-grained sunburst dial to lure you in. There isn’t a huge amount of space beneath the domed sapphire crystal, giving all of the dial elements a sense of immediacy, and yet there is an intricate depth to the way it’s been structured. The applied numerals and hands each cast shadows, and the capillary tube sweeps out, around, and back down into the dial like some futuristic transportation. That brings us onto the centrepiece of the HYT T1, which is the fluidic timekeeping. Two liquids of contrasting colours press against each other, unable to mix, forming a meniscus that can be used as an hour marker. The hour track runs along the dial’s perimeter not unlike a bezel, except 6 o’clock is represented over a large chunk of the lower end. This is because the fluid has to reset at 6 o’clock, flowing all the way back to its starting position just like a slow-motion version of a retrograde hand. It’s amazing not just to consider that there’s liquid inside the watch movement, which is usually a signal to panic, but that the whole thing is driven by mechanical watchmaking.

The movement

hyt t1 series movement caseback

The calibre 501-CM is the smallest movement that HYT have made so far with fluidic technology, aided by the simplification and removal of other complications. There is a power reserve indicator on the dial, allowing you to keep track of the 72-hour power reserve and topping it up whenever it needs winding by hand. Even though there’s no seconds hand, the movement runs at 4Hz for an imperceptible sweep of the minute hand. The view from the sapphire display caseback is absolutely captivating, with the twin bellows slowly pumping the fluids between each other via the dial’s capillary tube. If you catch them at 6 o’clock, you can even watch them in action, expanding and contracting like accordions. The other components are well-finished with some sandblasting, brushing and sporadic black coatings, and the cavernous depth of the movement looks like a cyberpunk city you could explore.

The strap

hyt t1 series straps

An unexpected (but certainly welcome) development for the T1 is the wide array of strap colours ranging across two materials. Oftentimes, watches in this price category and with this level of complication tend to focus as much of the funds into developing the movements, but HYT hasn’t forgotten wearability is hugely dependent on the straps, too. Marcus, our Creative Director, was particularly impressed by them when shooting the watches – saying it’s one of the best quick-exchange systems he’s come across. If you stop and consider just how many watches pass through that man’s hands, you’d understand this is very high praise. The two material options are a Velcro-loop fabric and a pliable rubber, the latter being fitted to a case-matching pin buckle.

HYT T1 Series pricing and availability

The HYT T1 watches aren’t strictly limited editions, but production will be very limited and exclusivity is still going to be a large factor. Price: CHF 48,000 (titanium), CHF 64,000 (titanium and 5N gold)

Brand HYT
Model T1 Series
Reference H03205-A
Case Dimensions 45.3mm (D) x 17.2mm (T) x 46.3mm (LTL)
Case Material Titanium
Titanium and 5N gold
Water Resistance 50 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Silver, slate, salmon, deep blue coated brass
Lug Width Integrated
Bracelet Interchangeable rubber strap, case-matching pin buckle
Movement 501-CM, Eric Coudray design, manual winding
Power Reserve 72 hours
Functions Fluidic retrograde hours, minutes, power reserve
Availability Now
Price CHF 48,000 (titanium)
CHF 64,000 (titanium and 5N gold)