Hands-On with the HYT H1 Colorblock, the Most Affordable Hydro-Mechanical Watch to Date

HYT marks its third year with an entry-level limited edition, the H1 Colorblock.
HYT H1 Colorblock Yellow 1

Available in three bright colours, the H1 Colorblock is a limited edition to mark HYT’s third anniversary. It’s a variant of the brand’s first wristwatch and now the entry-level piece in the HYT line-up, priced at SFr39,000, a third less than the next most expensive model.

Both the chapter rings for the minutes and hours on the Colorblock have a semi-glossy, brightly coloured finish, matched by the fabric strap. Of the three, the yellow is the most striking, the red is a muted shade, and the blue is perhaps the most restrained.

HYT H1 Colorblock

HYT H1 Colorblock Yellow 2

Mechanically identical to the H1, the Colorblock indicates the minutes on a sub-dial at 12 o’clock, while the hours are shown on a glass capillary filled with two liquids, one clear and the other black.

The meniscus between the two liquids points to the hour, pushed along by the twin bellows visible at six o’clock. At the top of the hour, the meniscus quickly rushes back to zero like a retrograde hand, before starting over.

HYT H1 Colorblock Red 1

HYT H1 Colorblock Red 2

For nighttime legibility, the glass capillary is coated with luminescent Super-Luminova on its underside, which gives it a green glow in the dark. Because the black liquid inside is opaque, the hours are clearly visible against the glow.

Seconds are indicated by the fan-shaped wheel at nine o’clock, while the scale at three o’clock is for the power reserve indicator.

HYT H1 Colorblock Blue 1

HYT H1 Colorblock Blue 2

Occupying the upper half of the hand-wound movement, the timekeeping portion was developed by Chronode, a complications constructor run by Jean-Francois Mojon, well known for movements made for the likes of MB&F. But the bellows-driven, liquid time display was the work of Preciflex, the sister company of HYT that specialises in fluid delivery via tiny tubes.

HYT H1 Colorblock Blue 3

HYT H1 Colorblock Blue 6

HYT H1 Colorblock Blue 4

HYT H1 Colorblock Blue 5

The case is titanium with a gunmetal (bluish-grey) coating and a brushed finished. It’s 48.8mm in diameter and 17.9mm high, making it a visibly large watch, though the short, downward curved lugs help it sit on the wrist.

HYT H1 Colorblock Yellow 3

HYT H1 Colorblock Yellow

Price and availability 

Each H1 Colorblock is limited to 10 pieces. The H1 Colorblock will be available from HYT retailers starting October 2016, priced at SFr39,000 or S$55,000, both equivalent to about US$40,000.

HYT H1 Colorblock Blue 7

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