The HYT H1 Colorblock watches have been causing quite a stir with their aggressive styling and decidedly accessible positioning. In other words, Swiss watchmaker HYT is offering a technically exciting mechanical timepiece at a price that won’t break the bank while drawing every eye in any room to the wrist that sports it. Such a watch is worth brooding over, which is exactly what we’ll be doing here.
First of all, the HYT Colorblock might remind of something and that is the HYT H1, which we have covered twice before, once in gold and once in its original guise. In fact, it is another version of the H1, this time in titanium with a surfeit of personality in the form of three distinct colors, red, yellow and blue. Secondly, that accessibility is reportedly in the form of a CHF39,000 price tag so we need not add here that accessibility means different things to different people. More now on those colors though.
Adding a dash of color to one’s wardrobe was a serious trend some years ago, rising not surprisingly in tandem with the colorful socks for proper gentlemen phenomenon. Fortunately or otherwise, fashion is wickedly wilful and famously fickle. While the hems on men’s pants rose, the major labels sent models out sans socks, thus rubbishing the idea of fanciful socks appearing in the board room, for example.
What does this have to do with watches? Aside from the fact that you could wear them around your ankles (we obviously recommend against), a colorful revolution has been quietly sweeping across the novelties offered at both watch fairs. The HYT Colorblock is both affirmation and confirmation of these revolutionary values, if ever there was one. Alongside its 48.8mm diameter, this watch doesn’t tell the time as much as it shouts it, like a punk rock singer. To understand it a little better, let us revisit our tweaked previous description of how it works, which we think was fairly comprehensive.
Obviously, the hour hand is absent, replaced by a circular tube that runs around just inside the dial’s circumference. Minutes are indicated via the subdial at 12 o’clock. Inside the aforementioned tube are colored and clear liquids whose relative levels are controlled by the alternate compression and expansion of two piston-driven bellows at 6 o’clock. As the hours pass, the colored liquid advances to mark the hour as the clear liquid appears to retreat. Twice a day at six o’clock, the colored liquid makes like a retrograde hand and returns to its starting position, to begin a new cycle all over again. Seconds are indicated via the wheel at 9 o’clock. The hand at 3 o’clock represents the power reserve.
With that out of the way, we’ll finish off by pointing out something obvious: this is a polarizing watch. Considering the price point and the aesthetics, HYT might just be reaching for an audience that will love it intensely. These same fans will also appreciate that the HYT Colorblock will be intensely dislike by another set of watch lovers, namely the classicists or, you know, people who hold that watches should have hands.
- Dimensions: 48.8mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
- Power Reserve: 65 hours
- Movement: Manual-winding HYT caliber
- Case: Titanium
- Water Resistance: 100 meters
- Strap: Reinforced water resistant fabric in matching colors with titanium gunmetal PVD buckle