As the news of Dominique Renaud joining HYT reverberates through the industry, Deployant seizes the opportunity to do the first interview on the new partnership, and explores what is special about this announcement.
Some background. Dominique Renaud set up Renaud et Papi with Guilo Papi in 1986 and Renaud Papi Claret (now Manufacture Claret) in 1989. Dominique sold all his shares in Renaud et Papi in 2000 and more or less retired to the South of France. In 2013, he was still brimming with ideas on horology and started to itch to return to watchmaking. He re-established a company called Swiss Innovation Lab with a partner and began to put into projects some of the ideas he had in his 13 years of retirement.
Considered by many to be a genius in watchmaking (together with his former partner Gulio Papi who is also considered an icon in modern watchmaking), it was a considerable coup for HYT, a small startup company with big innovative ideas and huge plans for disruptive technology to have him join the team.
Vincent Perriard, CEO of HYT tells me that working with Dominique Renaud was an old dream of his. “I had the chance to work with him almost 20 years ago when I was in charge of Audemars Piguet international marketing. So when Patrick Berdoz, Chairman of HYT, who was in touch with him in late 2013 called me and asked me: “Hey Vincent, do you know Dominique Renaud? Because he wants to get back to business and he has a lot of great ideas; are you up for a meeting?”, he said… I said, “Are you kidding me!!?? Of course I want!!”. The rest as they say is history.
So what will Dominique do in HYT? Well as a start, he will lead a 5 people team, all watchmakers. The first watchmaker (after Dominique) has been hired and started on October 1. This is the beginning of a new phase for HYT with the integration of Assembly, After Sales Service and soon Movement manufacture.
Dominique, on the other hand told Deployant, “To tell the truth, I did not go into “retirement”, but I simply had a break to take things into perspective and to move forward on different projects I had. I have always knew I will return!”.
We queried him on what he sees as values he shared with HYT, considering that he was a old school mechanical genius, and HYT is a young, upstart disruptive watchmaker specializing in liquid technology.
He replied, “My values are very similar to the HYT team ones. We are here to develop groundbreaking innovations, with a dynamic team spirit. This team has a fantastic and cutting-edge know-how. HYT will take advantage of my expertise in the mechanics of watchmaking and I will benefit from its communication and marketing strenghts.
“My immediate plans for HYT are :
– to lead the introduction of watchmakers integration within the company,
– to go beyond by creating a movement 20 times more powerful than the actual one. It will allow us to inculde Great Fluidic Complications inside HYT watches.”
Interesting indeed. When pushed on specifics, Vincent has this to say, “That’s top secret. What I can confirm is that we will develop very soon fluidic complications and that a watch will not only display hours with the liquid but many other things. We are building a new movement – as we speak – that will develop up to 20x more energy than any other movement in the industry. This will enable us to add complications and multiply fluid pistons. And soon, we will have liquid to improve the watch itself… not only to display time…”
And Dominique offered a bit more, if albeit not exactly clear…”You can expect a unique escapement that will neither disrupt the balance spring amplitude nor the proper functioning of the watch.”
So how will this new relationship affect the existing one with APRP? To which Vincent replied, with a characteristic grin and a glint in his eye, “Things will evolve, yes. But on a mid term basis, we have signed with APRP to develop the H3, and will continue our excellent working relationship with APRP. Working with both Guilio and Dominique is a dream come true! Who else can claim the same?” Who else indeed.