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HYT H1 Iceberg

Angus Davies reviews the HYT H1 Iceberg. After 18-months of research, the Swiss watch brand based in Neuchâtel supplanted its iconic green fluid for a striking blue liquid, creating a limited edition timepiece paired with alluring white and grey dial details in order to impart the time.

This detailed review of the HYT H1 Iceberg includes live images, specification details and pricing.

HYT H1 Iceberg - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

There is a theory that we romantically gravitate towards those individuals who we perceive share a similar degree of beauty. In our minds we decide where we fit within a pecking order. Whilst some souls have an inflated self-opinion and some a low self-esteem, it remains surprising how individuals often seem remarkably well matched, in a physical sense, to their partner.

When we walk along a pavement and spot someone of profound beauty, they readily stand out and our heads are turned. Moreover, those blessed with exceptional allure have a tendency to know it.

An alpha-male may well notice a pulchritudinous female, but will feel dissuaded to express admiration when confronted with a cold, aloof character. The prospect of potential rejection will serve to deter advances, especially when a statuesque lady is perceived ‘as cold as ice’.

And so it is, that whilst I admire the stunningly beautiful HYT H1 Iceberg I note its frozen hues and ponder whether I am even worthy to interact with this timepiece and place it upon my arm.

An intimate period of evaluation ensued

Founded in 2012, HYT is relatively young in the sphere of haute horlogerie. From the outset, the watches made by the avant-garde company have always been expensive owing to their incredible complexity.

I personally find HYT’s timepieces fascinating. My horological yearnings for this company’s watches was first ignited when I clapped eyes on the H1 Titanium back in 2012. Thereafter, I was equally impressed when I saw the H1 Blue Alumen.

HYT recently granted me a temporary licence to wear the H1 Iceberg, another eye-catching horological beauty, resulting in this thorough evaluation.

The dial

Early examples of the H1 featured a bright green liquid circumnavigating the dial. This liquid, housed within a narrow capillary, may at first glance appear to be the lone inhabitant of the glass tubing. However, this is not the case, the capillary contains two liquids, one coloured, one colourless. One fluid is water based and the other is oil based, where the two liquids meet, the meniscus indicates the hour.

HYT H1 Iceberg - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Eighteen months of research and development were necessary for the aforementioned green fluid to be supplanted by a blue liquid for this HYT H1 Iceberg. This may seem protracted when one considers the alacrity a five year-old child can mix paints, but there are numerous factors to be considered. Firstly, the two respective liquids have to remain homogenous at all times. Furthermore, the liquids cannot be affected by ultra-violet light or temperature.

The dominant colours of the dial are white and silvery-grey, delivering a pristine appearance, reminiscent of freshly fallen, crisp snow. The shiny silvery tones of the two bellows pumps above 6 o’clock accentuate those dial details delivered in vivid blue.

A power reserve indicator resides between 2 and 3 o’clock. In its fully wound state, the HYT H1 Iceberg has a power reserve of 65 hours.

HYT H1 Iceberg - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The small running seconds is shown at 10 o’clock, with a blue and black windmill-like wheel.

In keeping with other H1 models, the minutes are presented on a regulator type display, located below noon.

Whilst the HYT H1 Iceberg shares the same dial design as its siblings, the blue fluid, in my opinion, proffers the greatest lucidity by virtue of the notable contrast with the other dial elements.

Some observers may perceive the colour scheme is a tad feminine, especially with its white rubber strap. However, as a red-blooded alpha male, I would not shy away from wearing this variant of the H1. In fact, it is my favourite variant to date.

The case

The mechanical machinations at play dictate that the case of the HYT H1 Iceberg is sizeable. It measures 48.8mm in diameter with a height of 17.9mm, feeling perfectly at home on my wrist.

HYT H1 Iceberg - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Despite its leviathan-like proportions, the watch did not feel unduly heavy. This may be partly explained by HYT deciding to construct the case of the HYT H1 Iceberg from titanium. The surfaces have a slightly muted air, owing to the ‘shot-peened and satin finished surfaces’.

HYT H1 Iceberg - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

The blue rubber-clad crown adds a flourish of colour to the case which otherwise adopts a more restrained aesthetic than the dial.

The movement

Whilst HYT is a young company and the H1 is unashamedly contemporary, the Swiss watch brand has not turned its back on the fine craftsmanship synonymous with horology’s old-guard. On the contrary, HYT has worked very closely with high-end haute horlogerie practitioners.

HYT H1 Iceberg - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

Whilst this movement may not incorporate a tourbillon, its complexity is clear to see. Moreover, admiring the movement closely with a loupe, via the exhibition caseback, the flawless finissage of the ‘exclusive HYT calibre’ can be readily discerned.

HYT H1 Iceberg - watch review by ESCAPEMENT

I have previously discussed at length how the movement collaborates with the bellows pumps to propel the liquid around the dial when I have reviewed other H1 models and greater explanation of the movement can be gained from reading my review of the H1 Blue Alumen. Needless to say, HYT has produced a technical tour-de-force with its unusual means of imparting the time.

Closing remarks

Inevitably, my stewardship of the HYT H1 Iceberg sadly came to an end. However, I adored every element of its finely honed torso and its captivating appearance. The seductively blue tone of the fluid enveloping its dial will always make my head turn and my heart skip a beat.

Sadly, there is a part of me which knows that our union is unlikely to be consummated in the immediate term, owing to its asking price of CHF 56,000. Furthermore, by the time I could amass the necessary funds to make acquisition a reality, the limited series of 50 pieces will, no doubt, have all been sold.

In summary, is the HYT H1 Iceberg ‘as cold as ice’? On one hand, it is an object of beauty beyond the financial grasp of many and, as a result, a tad inaccessible. However, on the other hand the dial, despite its symbolically cold colour scheme, instils a warm feeling in the pit of my stomach courtesy of its innovative design and peerless craftsmanship.

 

Technical Specification

  • Model: HYT H1 Iceberg
  • Ref: 148-TT-11-BF-RW
  • Case: Titanium; diameter 48.80 mm; height 17.90 mm; water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator.
  • Movement: HYT Calibre 101 mechanical hand-wound movement exclusive to HYT; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz), 35 jewels; power reserve 65 hours
  • Strap: White rubber strap presented on a titanium pin buckle.
  • Price: CHF 56,000 (RRP as at 16.9.2015)
  • Limited Edition: 50 pieces

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