New discoveries at this year’s Salon de la Haute Horlogerie saw 17 independent brands showcased, including some of the most unique and most creative watches at the Carré des Horlogers, a dedicated hall for independent creators and boutique brands.
Here are some of the unique pieces offered by the brands in 2019:
The HYT H2O Time Is FLUID, distinctly different from the rest of the pack, using non-conformist ways with their own liquid patented technology for their mechanical movement, expressing the flow of time with smooth curves, fluid shapes and virtually no straight lines. The impressive clock-like sapphire crystal transparent case has a 360° visibility with their entire revolutionary mechanical movement inside.
Those familiar with HYT will recognise the movement, developed and manufactured with APRP with its characteristic pair of bellows driving the fluids, arranged to form a V-shape which was first introduced on their H2 model.
The HYT H20 “Time Is Fluid” comes in two limited editions of 20 watches – either in 2N yellow gold or in stainless steel. It is worn on an integrated translucent grey rubber strap secured with a PVD-coated titanium folding buckle.
This limited edition, literally put it into words (Time is fluid), replaces the hour indications on the side of the case. The letters are machined from a single metal ring and filled with luminescent material to glow in the dark.
The Academia HOUR PLANET watch is the perfect union between resolutely modern aesthetics and a highly technical piece, bringing together the most subtle colours, materials and finishes. In a pure contemporary spirit, it embraces the new design codes of the DeWitt micro-manufacture.
This timepiece features a mechanical movement with a 55-hour power reserve. Bordered by DeWitt’s famous imperial columns, the minimalist and highly embossed dial is decorated with a completely visible balance regulator that is suspended and held in place by a highly elevated bridge. The 46 mm case features a black alligator-skin strap with large scales.
The Academia HOUR PLANET is the latest example of this micro-manufacture’s capacity to re-invent itself, an ideal means of showcasing the passage of time. A perfect marriage of the world of mechanics and the world of travel. This timepiece boasts an exceptional centerpiece, a GMT globe bordered by the signature DeWitt chain.
When it comes to Urwerk, it defies against the conventional way of time telling, all hailed to the talented duo of Felix Baumgartner (co-founder and master watchmaker) and Martin Frei (co-founder and chief designer). Founded in 1977, the company had made a mark in their approaches to watchmaking and won the respect from the collectors.
In the Urwerk tradition, none of the indications of their latest UR-111C watch are conventional. The minutes are shown in two different ways – linearly for eye pleasure and digitally for precision. Never has been a roller on the case performed as the functional crown, nor have the running seconds meandered across a cluster of optical fibers. Nor would it be an authentic Urwerk watch if the case doesn’t look like it came straight out of a futuristic film.
The new models come in Iron and Gun Metal colour finish featuring jumping hours, retrograde linear minutes, digital minutes and digital seconds. The UR-111C also features world-firsts in watchmaking, such as the optical fibers (known as an image conduit) which transport indication of seconds, or the crown integrated into the top of the case above and parallel to the winding stem.
MB&F HM6 Final Edition is presented in stainless steel, a fittingly robust and durable material to memorialise the last outing of this series. Any machine that has experienced four years of intergalactic exploration – transitioning from cosmic pirate ship to futuristic alien vessel – is bound to bear the marks of adventure (or misadventure); the body of HM6 Final Edition is deeply grooved with polished lines that stretch from the turbine pods to the hour and minute spheres, contrasting sharply with the satin-drawn main surfaces.
The platinum oscillating weight, visible through a sapphire crystal pane on the underside of the case, has been given a blue PVD (physical vapour deposition) coating. The hour and minute spheres are also in this arresting hue, with numerals and markings standing out in thickly applied Super-LumiNova that luminesces light blue.
The hour and minute spheres are oriented perpendicular to the rest of the engine to facilitate readability and are driven by conical gears to ensure that this unusual configuration still provides the necessary precision in displaying the time. At the opposite end of the HM6 engine, twin turbines create air resistance that protects the automatic winding system. Such commitment to the mechanical integrity doesn’t come easily. The engine of Horological Machine N°6, comprising 475 components, took three years of research and development to realise – almost as long as the entire lifespan of the HM6 series itself.
Central to the design and construction of HM6 is the flying tourbillon, protected by a retractable shield and evocative of the sharply controlled chaos at the heart of our universe. Now that things are coming-to-a-close for HM6, the sapphire crystal dome above the flying tourbillon takes a page from the show-all playbook of HM6 Alien Nation and expands its dimensions in order to more fully expose the beating regulator in its revolving cage. Limited to 8-piece.