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HYT H4 ALINGHI [the art of liquid time and illumination]

By TLex I’ve been looking for a chance to post an HYT since they were first launched in 2012 and finally here’s a new model that’s sort of on topic for OceanicTime. [HUBLOT King Power ALINGHI 4000]

Forget everything you thought you knew about mechanical watches, forget everything you thought you knew haute horlogerie, the new H4 Alinghi tells the time like any watch but that’s where the comparisons begin and end. Headed up by VINCENT Perriard, HYT have made innovation their tradition, they are the first watch company in the world to use liquid to tell the time; that’s right when you own an HYT your watch is already wet – on the inside!

So how is this even possible? Two flexible reservoirs with a capillary attached at each end with two different liquids in each, one colored, the other, transparent. They kept apart kept apart by the repulsion force of the molecules in each.

The hours are shown by the colored liquid released from a flexible reservoir compressed by a piston. These reservoirs are located at six o’clock and are made from a supple alloy. The first colored liquid travels through the capillary pushing the transparent one back into its own reservoir and then returning to its original position at six o’clock in what is referred to as a retrograde manner.

The two reservoirs at 06:00. While the first compresses, the second expands, and the other way round, resulting in the movement of the liquid in the capillary. As the hours go by, the colored liquid advances. The meniscus, in the shape of a half moon, marks the separation point with the other fluid in the tube, indicating the time. At 18:00, the coloured liquid comes back to its original position, going backwards.

The secret that gets the reservoirs going? Two bellows made of a highly resistant, flexible alloy, each driven by a piston. And this is where watchmaking comes in to activate the system.

If the H4 Alinghi’s system for telling the time wasn’t already breath-taking, the watch is also equipped with a mechanical 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 energized 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 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 honor of the 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.

An incredible watch – we need a lume shot, though! Follow the link embedded, below to discover the fascinating world of HYT . . . 


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