Hautlence is spot on when they call themselves contemporary watchmakers; their approach to watch design and complications is breaking all the rules, to create new ones, just like contemporary artist would do. And since we mention contemporary art, it is more specifically, contemporary architecture that was the source of inspiration for their latest creation, unveiled today, the second Concept d’Exception, Vortex.
It is a result of collaboration of Hautlence with Parisian design studio BBDC, Berra Blanquer Design Consultants, known to be behind several bestselling watch designs. As a designer, I can imagine the thrill these guys had when they were working on the Vortex. Here is what Ludovic Blanquer, designer at BBDC had to say:
“We pushed boundaries together, did not make any concessions and studied each and every idea, even the most eccentric ones. Besides giving a designer the feeling of freedom, it is a real proof of trust that helps push the boundaries further while opening up a wide field of creativity. Working on the creation of VORTEX gave us the chance to experiment with technical and stylistic concepts involving every element of a watch, including its movement. We are extremely proud to have had the opportunity to participate in this adventure and to have brought to life, all together, HAUTLENCE’s second Concept d’Exception, VORTEX.”
The titanium case is designed in such way to give a three dimensional view of the HR2.0 movement, and all the magic performed by it, changing every hour as the cage of the regulating organ rotates 60 degrees every 60 minutes, making the Vortex a fun piece to stare at.
The dial displays the half-trailing hours, retrograde minutes and a power reserve indicator in a grey colour scheme, reinforcing the architecturally-inspired roots of the timepiece and evoking a metallic and mineral universe. The only dash of colour is seen on the power reserve indicator, displayed in red. The indication of the hours and minutes and the brand logo appear to be engraved directly into the metal.
The movement powering this wearable architecture is protected by three Hautlence patents. The first patent is related to the 12-link chain of the half-trailing hours, which smoothly turns in 3 to 4 seconds every 60 minutes to display the hour. The second patent protects the regulating organ integrated into the mobile bridge-type movement. Its constantly changing position, driven by the display, compensates statistically for the effects of gravity, thus enhancing its precision. Finally, the operation of the two barrels is also patented. The main barrel is wound by the automatic-winding system of the movement and transfers the necessary energy to wind a second barrel that is dedicated exclusively to driving the complication. The main barrel continuously winds the second barrel so as to ensure that energy remains at an optimal level to change each hour. This ensures that complex systems remain powered independently without impacting the precision of the watch.
Limited to 88 pieces, the Vortex will be available starting this September and it will retail for CHF 160,000.