New and Reviewed: hands on with the Hautlence HL2.3 Punk

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Hautlence have always been the rebellious teenager in watchmaking. They have cultivated the art of breaking rules, mixing past with future while respecting watchmaking traditions, and yet circumventing them through offbeat interpretations. This year, the outdid themselves with both the HL Sphere 01 and this new HL2.3 Punk.

We spent some time with the new Punk at Baselworld, and was impressed with the liberty the Hautlence team took with the design. We had to keep silent until the embargo lifted last week to this review for you. Here is our hands on detailed analysis of the new HL2.3 Punk.

Hautlence HL2.3 Punk

Bold and in-your-face are the immediate adjectives which come to mind on the first encounter with the Hautlence HL2.3 Punk.

The case, dial and hands

The first impression that comes to mind is that the watch is a perfect foil to accompany a Christian Louboutin creation. Though in a conversation with Edouard and Bertrand Meylan, we were told that the inspiration was the legendary Perfecto leather jacket.

Matched with clothing of a similar ilk, the HL2.3 Punk goes rather well. Shown here on a petite lady’s wrist.

A total of 84 four studs in 14 different sizes have been added to the case to symbolically represent the punk ethos. The studs are rather sharp to the touch, and we reckon it may cause bruising if used as a weapon – knuckle buster style with the wrist. All the more supporting the punk vision.

The HL2.3 Punk is housed in the rectangular case of the HL2. The case construction is a laterally inverted, squared C in black PVD titanium making three sides of the case – the top, right side, bottom. This slots into three sapphire crystals cut from solid blocks to make the case. This construction allows light and visibility from 3 sides of the case. The upper sapphire, traditionally the dial side glass, is subtly curved in two dimensions, both laterally and longitudinally, giving the impression of a slight puffiness on the dial side. The dial proper is almost non-existant, reduced to indications for the jumping hour and an arc with a retrograde hand.

Right in the middle, where the retrograde minutes pivot on, is the speed regulator which ensures that the hours display changes smoothly via the half-trailing hours chain. In the standard HL2.0, the Moebius symbol, Hautlence’s logo, is engraved on the cover. But in the HL2.3 Punk, this is replaced with the Libertarian symbol of “Circle-A”, advocating absolute freedom and denying any principle of authority by rejecting all constraints.

The hour numerals are constructed as elements on a chain of 12 links and wraps around the upper part of the case interior. The hours are marked by arabic numerals set into each link. The minutes are displayed in a sector over 180° and operate in a retrograde fashion.

The movement wheel train are visible from the dial side on the left, and the spectacle of the 60° turn dance occurs every hour.

At the top of each hour, the chain advances by jumping one link. At the same time, the bridge-type movement rotates through 60°. A veritable spectacle with a practical advantage that it enables the escapement to compensate for the effects of gravity on the regulating organ.

The movement

The HL2.3 Punk uses the novel, but by now well tested and proven calibre HL2.0. This in-house developed and manufactured caliber combines the jumping hour, which is half-trailing, the retrograde minute – the brand’s signature – with a power reserve indication.

The entire movement, and the animation it makes every hour is a spectacle which can be viewed from the dial side. From the rear, the rest of the hour chain and a micro rotor system is visible. The rotor drives a double barrel system – one dedicated to the timekeeping functions, and the other to drive the display complication.

Movement finishing is judged to be fine, at haute horlogerie levels though falling slightly short of achieving the heights of the ultra high end stratosphere. We think this level of finishing is befitting of the punk ethos and status of the watch. The movement features finissage methodology like satin-brushed plates, hand-bevelled edges, charcoal grey ruthenium coating and mirror-polished steel elements.

Closing thoughts

The entire design cements Hautlence’s status as enfant terrible of watchmaking. It dares to mix genres to create a traditional watch, but yet one which proclaims and values an alternative individuality.

On my wrist, the large watch is not uncomfortable. But perhaps my sober shirting is not a suitable fit.

The final watch follows the design brief very well, evoking the feeling of rebellion and the punk spirit. The watch will carry a big presence on the wrist, proudly proclaiming its individuality and that of the wearer.

The HL2.3 PUNK is currently released as a unique piece which will be available in other materials.

Hautelence HL2.3 Punk Specifications

Model details

Hautelence HL2.0. in-house calibre including gear train and automatic winding system. Half-trailing hours displayed by a chain, retrograde minutes, mobile bridge-type calibre.

Display: Hours, retrograde minutes and power reserve indicator

Calibre: Self-winding HL2.0 mechanical movement. Mobile bridge-type calibre comprising the regulating organ and rotating through 60° at each change of hour.

Power reserve: minimum of 45 hours

Regulating organ: 18,000 vibrations per hour;

Number of jewels: 92;

Finishing: fine-watchmaking type (satin-brushed, hand-drawn, hand-bevelled, charcoal grey ruthenium coating and mirror-polished steel elements)

Case: Case middle and horns: titanium with black PVD coating; 84 steel studs in 14 sizes (1.75-5.75 mm) attached to the case middle.

Horn and case back screws: 4N rose gold.

Crown: Polished 18-carat 4N rose gold with micro-machined HAUTLENCE logo.

Glass: 3 three-dimensional sapphire crystals, scratch-resistant, produced by multi-axis grinding.

Dimensions: 50 x 42 x 17.8 mm

Dial: Sapphire dial: upper face with minutes and indices, white luminescent, or created using polished 4N galvanic growth. Lower face with brilliant 4N metallic finish, black semi-opaque zone and black PVD zone.

Hour indices: engraved brass plate with engraved and black luminescent 4N hour numerals.

Minute hand: 4N with white luminescent dot.

Power reserve hand: steel with white luminescent indicator.

Strap: Black Louisiana alligator strap, large square scales, hand-sewn rolled-edge. Interchangeability spring bar.

Folding clasp: titanium and 18-carat 4N rose gold

Water resistance: 3 ATM

Limited edition Unique piece


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