Let’s take a look at at an haute horlogerie piece from Neuchatel, Switzerland-based HAUTLENCE, the HL 2.0. This watch was officially presented in 2011, but a video recently released by the brand prompted me to action. First, though, let me rewind a bit — in summer of 2009 I wrote a flattering article about HAUTLENCE (HAUTLENCE Watches – the Epitome of “Cool Luxury”) but I have not written about the brand since. Founded by a group of ambitious watchmakers and designers, the brand set out to make highly original, exclusive and sophisticated watches, with a name that is an anagram of the famous watchmaking city of Neuchatel. For reasons unknown to me, the partnership experienced some turbulence, and I am fairly certain that Guillame Tetu is the only remaining original founder (according to industry reporter Europastar, Tetu’s co-captain, Renaud de Retz, gave in to the siren’s song and left the watch industry for the music field in 2011). Management issues aside, here we are today and you can see that HAUTLENCE is still pushing out some remarkable timepieces. Read on for more…
HAUTLENCE HL 2.0 Watch
Limited edition 28 pieces in each of white and rose gold
50mm x 44mm case (11mm thick), automatic mechanical manufacture Hautlence caliber (double barrel)
The new HL 2.0 is unusual and slightly intimidating from the first look, but it doesn’t take long to warm up to the timepiece and appreciate its ingenuity. Exactly how the HL 2.0 works is presented very well in the video below. In short, the hour is indicated at the top of the watch via a moving set of chain-links; the minutes are marked via the arrow that sits along the semi-circle of numbers on the right side of the movement — it is actually a retrograde mechanism. The watch is built around a large amount of sapphire crystal which makes its intricacies fully visible and thus enjoyable by the wearer and curious bystanders. As such, the watch fetches a hefty price — last I saw you are looking at about $200,000 in red gold, $219,000 in white gold.
Note the generous use of sapphire crystal throughout the watch, providing for maximum visual enjoyment
The most remarkable part of the HL2.0 is that the complete escapement system, including the plate, bridges, and wheels move to a new position each time the hour jumps, making four complete 60° rotations every single day — to counter balance the debilitating effects of gravity on precision, HAUTLENCE has made the entire mechanism move; a first in watchmaking history (conceptually, similar to a tourbillon but on a larger scale).
The HL 2.0 is exudes originality through and through — there really isn’t anything else quite like it. This is high horology at its finest. Read on for more, and then check out more at http://www.hautlence.com.