The Hautlence HL Sphere is the manufacturer’s eighth caliber made in- house in Neuchâtel.
As well as presenting an innovative way to display time, the HL Sphere could also be considered a piece of art, with the time displayed on a spherical hour and retrograde minute on a 180 degree indicator track.
Hautlence themselves provide a simple explanation to what this timepiece is really all about:
Hautlence is reconnecting with its original identity by going back to basics and offering an innovative way to display the time.
Face & case
A satin finished, white gold case frames the inner workings, all arranged beneath a domed and bevelled extra hard sapphire crystal face.
At 46mm wide and 36mm high, the HL Sphere is a large watch and is effectively split in 2 vertically down the middle.
The hour sphere sits on the left, encapsulated by a sapphire dome; which on first glance looks as if it is not attached to anything, due to the void surrounding the majority of the sphere. The sphere made up of 2 polished grade 5 titanium cases with blue PVD treatment and laser engraved numerals. The sphere rotates on itself through three rotation axes to reveal the new hour. This is achieved by four conical gears that move around two crossed spindles inclined at an angle of 21 degrees, where the 2 cases sit on the differential to create the sphere.
On the right, the skeletonised movement, including gears and part of the balance, is pearing out from behind a 180 degree engraved retrograde minute track, which runs in a half circle from top to bottom. The hands are satin-finished titanium (with blue PVD treatment) and white lacquer fills. Polished numerals to the outside of the minute track indicate only 10 minute intervals from 00 to 60. When the new hour occurs, the minute hand jumps back to 00 at the top.
The crown is in polished white gold with the Hautlence logo engraved.
The case back is transparent; showing off the intricate workings behind the caliber under an extra hard sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment.
The Hautlence HL Sphere features an HTL 501-1 hand-wound mechanical movement, with unique spherical hour and retrograde minute on a 180° sector.
Featuring 38 jewels, the caliber regulates at 21,600 vibrations / hour.
Expect at least 3 days power reserve.
The strap is a Blue Louisiana alligator, which matches the colour of the sphere and features quick release spring levers, in case you wish to swap straps quickly.
Fitting is by a folding clasp made of grade 5 titanium with satin-finished steel plate.
The watch is noted as water resistant to 3 ATM, which in theory is 30m, but suggest this is more likely to be splash resistant, rather than suitable to go swimming in. (my opinion and could be wrong!)
Did you know that “Hautlence” is an anagram of “Neuchâtel”, the
birthplace of the watchmaking art?
The Hautlence HL Sphere is a work of art, and definitely on the top 3 of watches I would choose to add to my own collection from the showcase reveals at Baselworld 2019.
I would consider the concept/design conservatively eccentric, as although it is not a “traditional” looking watch, it’s not overly “in your face”.
The size of the watch should make it cumbersome, but it sits so well on the wrist, you barely notice its there. In addition, its only 13mm deep, so no fighting with shirt cuffs!
Priced at 99,000 CHF, this piece is limited to only 28 pieces, so the likelihood of seeing one in the wild (or me owning one) is highly unlikely.