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Review: HYT H4 Alinghi: hands-on review with commentary, specs and price

by Peter Chong on November 5, 2015

HYT are of no strangers to groundbreaking, disruptive watchmaking. Their fundamental concept of using a tube of water as the mainstay in their watches fired a first salvo. The brand of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking is refreshing in this very old trade of making mechanical watches. Their latest watch furthers this by putting an LED lighting system in a completely mechanical watch. Yes, pure mechanical. No battery. Introducing the HYT H4.

 

HYT H4 Alinghi

 

We base our review here on the HYT H4 Alinghi, one of two first products to use the out-of-the-box thinking which went into the creation of the light module used to illuminate the watch.

 

HYT H4 Alinghi. The association with the Switzerland's sailing juggernaut is clear in the use of red and black on the design, and the Alinghi logo on the disc which also acts as a seconds hand. Case is 51mm in diameter and in 3DTP carbon fibre, with black DLC bezel.

HYT H4 Alinghi. The association with the Switzerland’s sailing juggernaut is clear in the use of red and black on the design, and the Alinghi logo on the disc which also acts as a seconds hand.
Case is 51mm in diameter and in 3DTP carbon fibre, with black DLC bezel.

 

The H4 Alinghi is produced to honor the special relationship with the eponymous team. The meeting of Alinghi and HYT is also interesting. Unlike past sponsorship arrangements with Audemars Piguet and Hublot, Vincent Perriard, CEO of HYT told us that this was not the regular expensive sponsorship arrangement. Indeed the Alinghi Team principal, Ernesto Bertarelli is a fan of the HYT watches, and wanted to do something together. He called Vincent for a meeting. And the rest, as they say is history.

 

The HYT H4 Alinghi is available in a carbon case, red liquid, white light, with the Alinghi team logo on the seconds disc and a strap made from sail canvas. 25 pieces limited edition.

The HYT H4 Alinghi is available in a carbon case, red liquid, white light, with the Alinghi team logo on the seconds disc and a strap made from sail canvas. 25 pieces limited edition.

We provide a 1920 x 1200 pixel wallpaper Watchscape image. By clicking here, you agree to the condition that the image is for your personal, non-commercial use only and you will not modify it in any way.

 

 

But first up, a refresher. The H4 is based on the same engine (created by Chronode)  used in the ground breaking HYT H1, with the now familiar double bellows arranged parallel to each other and taking pride of place at the bottom half of the dial. The same nicely decorated movement is visible through the case back, though it is now through a smoked sapphire glass. The case is enlarged somewhat, but still in line with the original H1. Indeed we have seen this case style in the HYT Skull. So essentially, the H4 looks like a version of the H1 in a Skull case. But wait. There is a second crown at 4:30. This is the first HYT to have a second crown. What does it do?

 

Let there be light: and there was light.

 

HYT H4 Alinghi with the LEDs activated, in the dark. The white light bathes the entire movement and the time can be read clearly. Not something which is easily done in the dark with the H1 as the liquid does not take to addition of a luminous substance. Note the light spill from the LEDs, creating a beautiful background for the watch. Very cool.

HYT H4 Alinghi with the LEDs activated, in the dark. The white light bathes the entire movement and the time can be read clearly. Not something which is easily done in the dark with the H1 as the liquid does not take to addition of a luminous substance.
Note the light spill from the LEDs, creating a beautiful background for the watch. Very cool.

Click here for a photo of the H4 Metropolis with the Light Module activated.

 

“The coherence of the idea seduced us “, explains Vincent Perriard. “Before HYT, we were
told that having a movement running with a liquid was simply impossible. Before the
H4, lighting up a dial was only possible with a battery. And, what is more, a liquid
must never be used in conjunction with an electrical current. But, evidently, we’ve done all
of those things. In reality, the only limits are those we set ourselves”.

 

Wind that crown, and it winds a miniature spring which is part of a mechanical dynamo system nestled completely within the space below the bezel . The system is complex, the light module comprises of an additional of 89 components squeezed in the small, curved space below the bezel. The spring is blocked by a finger which is released when the same crown is pressed. The spring then runs a miniature dymano (contactless, brushless generator) which generates the power to run two LED lights below the enlarged 6 marker on the bezel. The two LED lights does a magnificent job to illuminate the entire watch, giving the viewer a beautiful view of the skeletonized movement and the ability to read the time.

On a full wind, the spring carries enough power to power the two LEDs for about 12 seconds if the user keeps the crown pushed down. One push and release, the LEDs will light for about 5 seconds, and allow multiple discharges on a full wind. The concept is very cool. HYT found that for the red liquid in the Alinghi, a white LED is best. And in the signature green liquid used in the H4 Metropolis, a blue light is easiest to read, but also the coolest looking. LEDs come in an almost infinite variety of colors and there are even those which can change colors. So there is perhaps an infinite palate for HYT to play with.

 

HYT H4 Alinghi. The movement is the same as the one used in the H1 series, but skeletonized to show more of the movement, and cased in a larger 51mm diameter case first used in the HYT Skull.

HYT H4 Alinghi. The movement is the same as the one used in the H1 series, but skeletonized to show more of the movement, and cased in a larger 51mm diameter case first used in the HYT Skull.

We provide a 1920 x 1200 pixel wallpaper Watchscape image. By clicking here, you agree to the condition that the image is for your personal, non-commercial use only and you will not modify it in any way.

 

Concluding remarks

 

 

The watch as it was presented looked amazingly cool. The combination of the unique technologies viz liquid time indication and a mechanical light module is perhaps worth the price of entry. The design and execution is very well done. But the we return to the concept, which remains amazing. Refreshing. And totally mind blowing. Trè cool.

The Alinghi is available now at a retail price of S$136,000 and the Metropolis is also available now at a retail price of S$127,000, both inclusive of GST.

 

HYT H4 Alinghi Specifications

Case : 3DTP™ carbon
– diameter: 51 mm
– height: 17.9 mm
– rubber-clad screw-down black DLC titanium crown at 2:30 and a red crown at 4:30
– black DLC titanium and red numeral lacquered dome at 6 o’clock
– convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the dial side
– screw-down sapphire case-back
– water resistant to 50 metres.
Functions : retrograde fluidic hours; minutes, seconds

 

HYT H4 Alinghi back, with the smoked sapphire glass allowing a peek into the Chronode designed and manufactured movement.

HYT H4 Alinghi back, with the smoked sapphire glass allowing a peek into the Chronode designed and manufactured movement.

Movement : skeleton mechanical hand-wound movement, HYT exclusive calibre
– 28,800 vib/h, 4 Hz, 35 jewels
– bridges hand-bevelled and micro blasted, rhodium-plated bellows
– 65-hour power reserve.
White light mechanical module :
– rewinding and push-button system with a crown at 4:30
– the dynamo works when the crown is compressed at 4:30. As soon as the button
loosens the light stops working until the full decompression of the additional barrel
spring.
Dial : unstructured, fluid hour display
– sapphire minute, seconds and power reserve dial
– black minute indexes and luminescent numerals
– black hour dial with white numerals
– luminescent black minute hand
– regulator at 12 o’clock
– small seconds wheel with the Alinghi logo at 9:30
– power reserve indicator at 2:30
Strap : black rubber base with integrated silver canvas and red stiching. Black DLC
titanium folding buckle
Ref : 515-CB-03-RF-RV; 25-piece limited edition

 

 

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