Review: Hautlence Vortex Primary designed by Eric Cantona

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Hautlence are known for timepieces with unique dial construction and case shapes. Unlike conventional round or square watches, Hautlence watches have abstract eye-catching forms which encourage a second glance. The latest Hautlence Vortex Primary is no exception.

Eric Cantona, famous French footballer, actor and current brand ambassador for Hautlence gave design input previously on the Hautlence Invictus Morphos Limited Edition which we reviewed and quite liked.   The Hautlence Vortex is a model which stands out with its case shape and time display system.  As Monsieur Cantona is also bona fide art connoisseur; a talent he duly demonstrated with the Morphos Limited Edition with designer patterns and colours. We take a closer look at the new Hautlence Vortex Primary designed by Eric Cantona.


The Hautlence Vortex Primary designed by Eric Cantona

The Case, Dial and Hands

The rectangular case and lugs are made from grade 5 titanium and treated with black PVD. While case dimensions are 52 x 50 x 17.8 mm are physically huge, on the wrist, it sits relatively flat and downplaying its large structure. That said, most are distracted from its imposing physicality by its angular lines adding depth to its overall look.  It’s a timepiece where size belies its weight, thanks to titanium case construction it only weighs in at 48 grams!  Technically, there is no “dial” in the conventional sense as the front part of the watch is made up of various panels (must be a challenge for the guys in-charge of making the watch water resistant).

In terms of aesthetics, what immediately catches the eye are the different coloured sapphire crystals reminiscient of Piet Mondrian’s De Stijl Dutch modern art movement (specifically Composition II for those artsy types) .  There are 19 transparent coloured panels in total and they are also located on the sides and back of the watch for better viewing of the movement.

Hours are displayed via track system on the left and hourly transitions occur in a smooth 3-4 second slide process rather than an instant jump.  Retrograde minutes take centre-stage with high contrast white markers printed on the sapphire crystal, an important triumph for legibility considering there’s a lot going on with the watch; especially when one considers that the track system for the movement has been coloured red, yellow and blue. The power reserve indicator hand is steel with a red tip.  As you can see in the photo below it is located in between the 40 and 50 minute markers.  Unlike the previous Vortex models there is no printing to indicate what level of power reserve is left, fully wound the power reserve indicator will be at the position shown in the photo below. As the power reserve decreases it will move down and to the right.  Adding to its avant garde design is a titanium knurled crown positioned at 12 o’clock.


The watch is very colourful with 19 sapphire crystal panels.

The Movement

Powering the watch is the in-house HL2.0 self winding calibre with hourly rotating mechanism for the bridge housing the escapement. Rotating 60 degrees each hour, it serves a secondary function as a tourbillon type mechanism. The watch has two barrels, one for the entire power reserve of the watch including power for the second complication barrel.  The second barrel is for the rotating complication.


The clear sapphire crystal panels on the side, allow for the wearer to view parts of the movement.

The movement beats at 18,000 vibrations/hour and has a power reserve of 40 hours. It has been finished with a combination satin-brushed, hand-drawn, hand-bevelled, black rhodium coating and mirror-polished steel elements. The oscillating weight is 18 carat white gold.  Found on the back of the watch is the thumbprint of Eric Cantona which acts as his signature for the watch.


Seal of Approval: Eric Cantona’s thumbprint has been placed on one of the back sapphire crystal panels.

Concluding Thoughts

The Hautlence Vortex Primary by Eric Cantona is an 18 piece limited edition and will retail for S$298,000.  This is charged at a higher premium than the previous edition of the Vortex also made with titanium but had a production run of 88 limited pieces. What makes the Vortex Primary special is that Eric Cantona has added his own personal touch.


Le King: Eric Cantona, former Manchester United striker and noted art connoisseur with the first Hautlence he designed on his wrist.


The Hautlence Vortex Primary on the wrist.


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1 Comment

  1. A triumph of gimmickry over aesthetics, functionality and taste. Stick to the poetry Eric!