HYT: The Result of What Happens When History and Technology Come Together
Water clocks are not a new thing. In fact they are a very, very old thing. The clepsydra, or “water timepiece” is any timepiece wherein time is measured by the regulated flow of liquid into or out of a vessel, and where that amount is then measured. The concept dates back to ancient Egypt but also has early significance in both China and India, dating back as far as 4000 B.C.
Recently we sat down with HYT watch’s CEO, Grégory Dourde, to discuss how this concept translates to the modern world and the part HYT watches plays in the transformation.
EL: Grégory, the first question we have is a question many have wondered… why would someone put fluid in watches? What was the philosophy there?
GD: The human perception of time is fluid; time flows continuously and can’t be stopped. The future becomes the present, which in turn becomes our past. Time flows, like a river. At HYT we have invented a new way to tell the time by radically changing your perception of it and how you live your day. We have a colored liquid flowing through the day in a tube of glass. That illustrates your past (what you have done), and an immiscible transparent liquid which represents your future (the things yet to come). These two liquids are immiscible. Their meeting point is the present and indicates the hours. Using liquids offers a creative, new territory that provides our customers with new experiences and interactions through an enhanced visualization of the time passing by.
EL: What do you feel distinguishes HYT in a market now filled with unique indie watch brands?
GD: Our mission at HYT is to rethink our experiences and interactions with watches by seeing them with a modern view. After more than 300 years of a visualization of time with hands, which was driven by the existing technology of that period, the telling of time now uses advanced sciences and technology to open our minds to new perspectives. Being contemporary also means being consistent and coherent in the products we develop. We will not re-propose, for the thousandth time, complications that were first imagined by inventors over centuries ago; those such as the tourbillon or the minute repeater. As a young brand, HYT’s vision is to create complications and functions that correspond to the third millennium. Our multi-patented fluidic display and light system uses no battery nor any electronics. That is something we consider to be a rare contemporary complication. The energy to move the two immiscible liquids inside the glass capillary and their regulation are driven by an exclusive hand-winding mechanical movement, smoothly combining tradition and innovation.
EL: Why would (or should) someone choose an HYT watch over a watch like Patek Philippe? Or even over another indie brand (for example, an Urwerk)?
GD: Our role is not necessarily to compare ourselves with other brands, but to focus on our customers. We want first to celebrate their individuality, uniqueness, and diversity. An HYT wearer is often as radical as our brand; someone who likes to challenge the status quo. Someone confident who is eager to discover something innovative and revolutionary. Having the chance to meet customers when traveling, I see them as much as pioneers as I see our brand. They enjoy our brand’s creative and innovative spirit, unique philosophy, and the authentic contemporary story behind it.
EL: It seems like HYT went through a lot of time and finances during the research and development stage. Do you feel HYT goes through more of that than other brands because of the science behind the watch?
GD: Well, we needed more than fifteen years of research and development to create our unique and multi-patented fluidic device which offers a three-dimensional vision showing the passage of time, which we feel plays a role in the history of watchmaking. Highly sophisticated watches, both in terms of design and technological content, have been created thanks to this important work. This advanced technology takes its cue from philosophy to mirror time’s intrinsic fluidity. HYT is at the crossroads of science and art, largely due to this research. Our culture is driven by the idea of a "collective" work, as found in contemporary art. As such, we naturally developed teams within HYT and Preciflex – our sister company mastering fluids – who are by far the most "time forward " people I have ever met in my career. The company is made up of people with a real concentration of talents, curiosity and open-mindedness. This environment is the home of creativity, both scientific and artistic.
EL: From your perspective, where do you want HYT to be now, and where would you like to see the brand in the future?
GD: HYT questions the traditional concept of time and its representations in order to offer our customers new experiences and perceptions. We believe in a new era of watchmaking that transforms people. This is happening, now. As we so often say… time is fluid.