News of Apple’s “watch” outselling Switzerland’s entire watch export of 2019 by a margin of 50 per cent won’t worry the boardrooms dotting the Jura Mountains, where most of the world's traditional watchmakers continue to toil. The value of their own “wearables” happens to be up three per cent after all, with their particular stock in trade pushing incomparable forms of innovation in all manner of mechanical directions – all of which, with due TLC, promise zero obsolescence.
Just take HYT. Bearing as little resemblance to a normal wristwatch as Apple’s miniaturised telephone, it is powered by ingenious micro-tech that could only come from the minds of the tweezer-wielding Swiss. The brand is less than a decade old, underpinned by centuries-old horological horsepower, yet crowned by outrageously creative dials sharing one thing in common. It’s the thing countless casemakers have worked hardest to resist over all these years: liquid.
Every HYT watch tracks each 12-hour period using two immiscible liquids inside a watertight gasket. Their molecules form a perfectly crisp interface, or “meniscus“, which forms the hours hand. It’s pushed and pulled about the circumference of a calibrated glass tube by two tiny bellows, made of a flexible alloy four times thinner than a human hair. At midday and midnight, the system “rewinds” in just 60 seconds.