Hautlence HL Sphere 02
The Hautlence HL Sphere 02 is the latest creation from the independent Swiss brand known for making watches with highly innovative time indications. In this instance, the hours are shown using a blue sphere and the minutes are conveyed with a retrograde hand.
Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds within the canton of Neuchâtel, Hautlence has always had a knack of imparting time with a notable sense of theatre. The brand’s first model, the HL ti 01 broke convention, eschewing the customary co-axial hour and minute hands.
Instead, the model, still a member of the brand’s collection, conveys time using jumping hour and retrograde minute indications. Moreover, a small seconds display employs a revolving disc to impart meaning. The watch is housed in a titanium case that resembles a television screen and the dial encompasses a honeycomb motif.
While Hautlence is a modestly sized, independent brand, it has repeatedly punched above its weight, creating ingenious watches few large brands would imagine, let alone make. Indeed, since its foundation in 2004, Hautlence has released several timepieces which have wholeheartedly embraced blue-sky thinking.
In 2012, MELB Holding, the parent company of esteemed Manufacture, H. Moser & Cie, acquired Hautlence, providing the independent brand with additional resources.
Recently, the Swiss marque unveiled the Hautlence HL Sphere 02. Once again, the case emulates the appearance of a TV screen, today a signature of the brand. Powered by a hand-wound movement, the HTL 501-1, this latest watch once again displays minutes using a retrograde display, similar to the inaugural model, the HL ti 01. However, the HL Sphere 02 ventures off-piste with its eye-catching spherical hour display.
A blue sphere, marked with 12 hour values, rotates as a new hour dawns. As the current hour value elapses, a choreographed sequence ensues, employing a series of conical gears which, together with other components, deliver a mesmerising spectacle.
The Hautlence HL Sphere 02 is refreshingly new and contemporary but it continues to uphold the Maison’s penchant for depicting time using extraordinarily innovative engineering.
The brand’s press release
A blue sphere occupies the left-hand portion of the case, magnificently showcased by a sapphire crystal with a small dome, attracting everyone’s attention. It features twelve engraved numerals and rotates on itself through three rotation axes to reveal the current hour. This hypnotic dance, which initially appears totally random, actually follows a strict choreography, dictated by a conical differential including four conical gears that move around two crossed spindles inclined at an angle of 21 degrees. Two polished titanium cases featuring a blue PVD treatment adorn this tridimensional complex system to form a sphere.
To the right of the sphere is a retrograde minute display with a hand that travels along a fine and elegant minute track that opens onto the movement and partly reveals the balance. This aperture brings the gear train into view, which slows down the course of the minute hand when it returns to zero, regulating its speed so as to reduce impact forces. The differential and snail used to trigger the jumping hour can also be seen beneath the minute hand. The minute track and the applied diamond-polished and metal blue minute numerals are fixed to an intermediary rose gold grained dial. The design of this dial adds a delicate vintage touch to the HL SPHERE 02, contrasting with the utterly contemporary look of this creation.
The white gold case of the HL SPHERE 02 adopts HAUTLENCE’s signature TV screen shape. With its balanced proportions, the HL SPHERE 02 model is compact and can be worn in any occasion, sitting perfectly on the wrist. An alligator-leather strap, in the same blue shade as the sphere, adds the final touch to the piece.
The HTL 501-1 hand-wound calibre beats at the heart of the HL SPHERE 02 model. Entirely developed, designed and produced by HAUTLENCE’s watchmakers, this movement is the perfect culmination of technical and aesthetic expertise. The skeletonised balance bridge allows the owner to admire the oscillations of the proprietary balance spring produced by Precision Engineering AG, HAUTLENCE’s sister company. The equally skeletonised drum and ratchet reveal the barrel spring, thereby providing a simple yet ingenious visual indication of the power reserve.
HAUTLENCE: an architectural approach to modern watchmaking. Independence with an edge.
A brand-new chapter in HAUTLENCE history
Founded in 2004, HAUTLENCE – whose name itself is an anagram of Neuchâtel – pays tribute to the birthplace of the watchmaking art. The brand has been praised by watch collectors and aficionados from across the world for bringing a new dynamism to the art of fine watchmaking.
In strategic terms, HAUTLENCE can count on support from MELB Holding, an independent family watchmaking group which has been offering its experience and network since 2012, with the synergies between HAUTLENCE and the group sure to grow.
HAUTLENCE is pushing the boundaries of traditional watchmaking codes, uniting them with innovative mechanical solutions and an unlimited universe borrowed from the various arts, combining design, architecture, and movement. The brand takes its inspiration from this to create new approaches to time display, which it uses to elevate the two key dimensions of space and time. Ever conscious of a functional relationship with beauty, HAUTLENCE invents timepieces with completely new contours and depths, respecting every stage and every person involved in their production.
Beyond Swiss Made – the “HORLOGERIE SUISSE” stamp
HAUTLENCE timepieces are created and produced in Switzerland, in the very highest tradition of Swiss watchmaking, and are signed with the label “Horlogerie Suisse”. The components are produced externally using a network of thirty-five partners and subcontractors, all based in the Neuchâtel/Jura region.