The “hydromechanical horologists” at HYT unveiled their first skull-themed timepieces in 2015. Next week, in its second year as an exhibitor at the SIHH watch salon in Geneva, the indie brand introduces the Skull Pocket, the first HYT watch to combine the skull motif with the mechanical light-source technology developed initially by the company for last year’s Metropolis model. Here’s a look at the new model, starting with the promotional video below:
The face of the HYT Skull Pocket has two LEDs positioned underneath the rider at 6 o’clock and activated by a generator that has been integrated into the case. The module in the watch converts mechanical power into electricity. Turning the dedicated crown at 4:30 loads a barrel spring; pressing the push-button in the crown then releases this spring, which turns a micro-generator at very high speeds to create the electricity that activates the two LEDs. The result is a soft blue light — suffusing the watch’s face and imparting a fluorescent green glow to the liquid-filled tubes — which lasts for about five seconds.
In keeping with HYT’s philosophy, the process is completely mechanical, with no batteries or electronics required. Developing this patented assembly, which comprises no fewer than 82 components, was a major technical challenge for HYT’s watchmakers due to its extreme miniaturization and curved shape. As in previous HYT watches, the motion around the skull dial of the colored liquid is controlled by the expansion and contraction of two vertical bellows in the movement, which are visible above the 6 o’clock position. (For a detailed explanation of HYT’s timekeeping technology, click here.)
The case, measuring a stately 59 mm in diameter and created specially for this watch, is made of titanium and black DLC titanium, with an exclusive cover system, in place of lugs, to protect the dial. The cover is hinged at 12 o’clock and triggered by the rider at 6 o’clock, one of the brand’s aesthetic hallmarks; it has an engraved pattern with leather inserts and, HYT says, can be fully customized.
Pressing gently downward on the rider releases the cover, revealing the dial’s skull rendering, which features, for the first time in this model, a contemporary, faceted design that subtly reflects the light and is designed to harmonize visually with the Clous de Paris stud finish that surrounds it.
At night, the light emanates instantly, flooding the case and causing the colored liquid in the capillary that defines the border of the skull, charged with fluorescent dye, to react. The time can be read intuitively around the circumference of the skull, via indices with Arabic numerals filled with Super-LumiNova. The skull’s “eyes” serve as indicators for the seconds (left eye) and the 65-hour power reserve (right eye) in the same manner as they do on the HYT Skull wristwatches. The HYT Skull Pocket is attached to a specially designed titanium chain whose faceted structure, with alternating polished and satin finishes, was designed to echo the look of the dial’s skull. The watch will be limited to just eight pieces worldwide; the price of one watch is $115,000.