The quote “Time is Fluid” has been used many times over, but in this case time really is fluid.
The HYT H2O “Time is Fluid” is another creative mechanical/chemical experiment to come out of the Swiss watch makers’ laboratory, but this time it puts the core concept of HYT into words – the words “TIME IS FLUID” can be boldly seen around the flange of this watch.
It is clear that HYT are futurists and philosophical deep thinkers, but also really focused on the fine connection between watchmaking heritage and modern innovation.
No one could exlpain the thought process behind the H2O Time is Fluid, better than HYT themselves:
Technically and philosophically the h20 »time is fluid« builds a bridge between seeming contradictions. A creative tension between craftsmanship and technology fuels the combination of a patented micro-fluidic module and a specially developed APRP mechanical movement. Time’s flow is expressed by smooth angles, fluid shaping and virtually no straight lines. Its core message is one of balance – between heritage and innovation, warmth and cold, and the past and future that meet in the present.
Face & case
The case is substantial, made from stainless steel, dressed with polished and satin finishes, it is 51mm wide and the domed sapphire crystal front is almost 20mm away from the wrist.
There is a lot to look at, the predominant colours are grey, silver and black, with a splash of luminous green.
The square hour markers with black digits surround a glass capillary tube, circling the entire face, which starts at 6 o’clock and runs all the way around the dial back to 6 again. HYT manufacture this borosilicate tube themselves to guarantee consistency. The tubes are filled with 2 immiscible liquids, one transparent, the other one coloured with a highly resistant black dye; the hour is indicated where the colours meet.
Two multi-layer metal bellows are visible in a v-shape at 6 o’clock and are how the activity of the liquids are ultimately controlled. They are constructed by using a highly resistant, flexible alloy that is four times finer than a human hair. These rhodium plated bellows work together, compressing and releasing the 2 liquids at the same rate to show the path of time.
There is a diamond guilloche minute dial at 12 o’clock, who’s diameter is half the total watch and is finished with a dark grey treatment. The 12 minute markers are cabochon and the single hand has a C7 Super Luminova® coating. A smaller seconds dial is nestled into the minute dial at between 3 and 6 o’clock; it also features a diamond giulloche at a slightly different angle and is finished in a lighter grey, with a one track “chemin de fer” showing 12 marks. The seconds hand is also coated with C7 Super Luminova®.
The crown indicator has the H, N, R (Hour, Normal, Reverse) settings shown at between 2 and 3 o’clock on the watch face and a small blue hand is how it can be read.
Below all of these delights, small areas of the mechanical watch can be seen, as well as the guilloche main plate.
Looking at the watch side on, there is a skeleton ring featuring the words “TIME IS FLUID”, running almost all the way around the watch and finished in a green lacquer.
The screw down case back is a big window looking onto the mechanical movement of the watch. Dominated by 3 large cog wheels that are linked, the 2 bellows can also be seen peeking through from the front below. The main plates feature a diamond guilloche similar to the dials on the front and benefit from a microblasted and rhodium plated nickel silver finish.
A good size and looking at the design, clearly not an afterthought, the crown sits at between 2 and 3 o’clock. It has angled contoured ridges, is polished and satin and is finished with an embossed “H” stamped onto the end.
The HYT H2O features a manual winding mechanical movement, which is a caliber made exclusively in house.
Featuring 28 jewels, its heart beats at 21,600 VPH (3 HZ) and can run up to 8 days once fully wound. (192 hours)
The strap is a translucent grey rubber and textured with very small indentations.
The folding buckle is quite large and titanium, featuring the HYT logo stamped across the width.
The patented fluidic module that allows us to read time on the HYT H2O took 15 years to develop, taking inspiration from the aerospace, medical and semi-conductor industries.
Time is created by merging a haute horologerie mechanical movement with two bellows connected to a 0.8mm thin glass capillary tube. The capillaries’ coating is one of the most expensive elements and not only provides full transparency of the tubes, but also allows perfect flow of the fluids.
A full year was spent perfecting the technique of filling the tube, as even a tiny air bubble could prevent keeping accurate time.
Looking at the HYT H2O “Time is Fluid” in a display cabinet, it really does look massive, but once on the wrist the size is less concerning. It is well balanced and considerably lighter than I had expected.
As with all HYT watches, the H2O is a bit eccentric looking and I do like that. There is so much to look at and I would consider it not only a mechanical/chemical masterpiece, but also a work of art; certainly a piece I would like to have hanging on my wrist!
If I was going to be picky, there are 2 things that I could note as negatives for me personally. Firstly, the thickness of the watch means that it would likely irritate me whilst wearing any long sleeved clothing. I suppose it does look “Summery” anyway, so no sleeves required. The other being that I am not a fan of rubber straps, but we all know a friendly strap maker and I usually end up going with bespoke straps anyway.
There are 2 versions of the H2O Time is Fluid, both being limited to 20 pieces. This one reviewed here is stainless steel with black fluid and available at 115,000 CHF, the other available is in gold with red fluid and available at 125,000 CHF.
As always, I’m very interested to see what experiment comes out of the HYT lab next.