Hautlence : The voice of reason

The 12th Art in action 

Epitomising the passion for time measurement (the 12th Art) cultivated by HAUTLENCE, the HL2 is particularly inspired by architecture (the 1st Art) and sculpture (the 2nd Art). In keeping with its philosophy of in-house movement design, the brand took over four years to develop and ensure the reliability of this new 552-part calibre serving to display the time via a chain that can be observed in motion. In order to supply the energy required by the mechanism yet without disturbing timing precision, a second barrel has been dedicated to powering the display, in parallel with a friction-based speed regulator controlling the speed of rotation and the quantity of energy (a device generally used in minute repeaters). The unidirectional automatic winding with off-centred rotor and the power-reserve display add to the complexity of the mechanism, which contrasts with the extreme simplicity of time read-off. Once again, the brand has focused on a global conceptual approach making no stylistic concessions and in which the display and the movement operate in a symbiotic relationship with the overall aesthetic, cleverly staged by a bevelled sapphire crystal carved from the block.


Avant-garde trilogy

Symbolising the new course charted by HAUTLENCE by setting up its contemporary watchmaking workshop at the heart of the watchmaking metropolis of La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Avant-Garde line unveiled in autumn 2012 retains the original brand DNA : the unusual approach to reading off time. Interpreted through three highly contemporary models in titanium, the collection is based on three-dimensional design. Framed by a monolithic black bezel and floating as if weightless between the dial layers, the apertures overlap and the variable-geometry hour-markers mark off the jumping hours, retrograde minutes and dragging seconds. The connecting rod/crank system devised by HAUTLENCE at the time of its launch and used to trigger its jumping hours is particularly beautifully highlighted in this model. Coupled with a choice of three versions, the unusual price positioning of this year’s limited-edition trilogy has what it takes to appeal to devotees of high-end watchmaking design. The harmony between the three-dimensional world of the dial and the curve of the sleek ergonomic case radiates a sense of subtle strength and serenity. When avant-garde meets retrograde …


Respect for roots 

Through an openworked time read-off providing a contemporary take on the great traditional classics of this genre, along with movements produced in an independent and innovative way showing profound respect for the Swiss Made philosophy, HAUTLENCE once again proves that early collectors were right to follow their instinctively passionate first reaction and to trust the brand. In a nod to its first patented HL calibre, the HLC 06 now features a round gold presentation box produced in a numbered 88-piece limited series such as already exists for the HL, HLS and HLQ lines. Beneath an elegantly destructured dial, the famous in-house movement has been rebuilt around the jumping hour and retrograde minute displays generously exposed across a semi-circular spread. Detail lovers will appreciate the Côtes de Genève decoration of the movement as well as the hand-bevelling on the bridges. And since refinement is not incompatible with pragmatism, the wristband is equipped with a spring-bar simplifying its interchangeability and enabling its owner to opt for contrasts with the predominant chocolate tone.

Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

Review overview