We take a closer look at the new(ish) HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue which was released earlier this year as part of the revamped lineup, now under the leadership of Davide Carato.
We have always been bullish about HYT. In 2012, they burst into the scene with great energy, enthusiasm and vigour and attempted to change the way we tell time. Their use of water in capillary tubing is novel, and perhaps a poke at the old adage that watches and water only mix in dive watches. Over the next few years, they emblazoned their bold technology and vision on the relatively unsuspecting watch collecting public. With somewhat mixed success. Their H1, H2 were hailed as innovative, leading edge watches which push the envelope. The H1 was based on a Chronode movement, while the H2 featured a rather more expensive movement sourced from Renaud et Papi (now known as Audemars Piguet Le Locle). Then came the mind blowing H3, which was perhaps too far ahead of its time. Then came the H4, which was essentially a H1 with an innovative lighting strategy. We reviewed many of these early watches, including some artistic pieces like the Skull. We know many of our collector friends who sprang to own the H1 and H2 watches. We are not sure how many H3s were eventually delivered, and what were the issues of the day, but their innovation streak seemed to quell after the introduction of the H4. A change of management then saw them back track on the premium pricing strategy and released an “entry level” watch in the form of the H0. While described by HYT as entry level, the price (SGD 55k) was anything but. At the same time frame, they continued to release the H20, which was H2 movement but cased differently. Then in March 2021, the company filed for bankruptcy. However, in November 2021 under new ownership with Davide Cerato at the helm.
In the short span of taking over the company, Davide, formerly of Panerai, Tudor and Montblanc, have revamped the collection, and have introduced new models since early 2022. The new Moon Runner is one of the new pieces created, together with the Hastroid (review of the Hastroid Green Laser coming soon). In Singapore, Sincere Fine Watches continued to retail the watches from the early days and remain today.
HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue
Retail price of the HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue Ref H02758 is set at SGD 195,170 inclusive of GST, available at Sincere Fine Watches. Limited Edition of only 27 pieces.
We managed to spend some time with the new Moon Runner Supernova Blue at the Sincere Boutique recently and present this review. The watch is essentially the same case structure and base movement as the Hastroid series, but with a new 3D moon phase display right in the center of the dial. The display shows the lunar phases and is flanked by day and month indications. Around the center is the hours in the standard HYT style of indication via a coloured liquid in a capillary tube.
The new models will replace those released earlier. Currently on the HYT catalog, only two model families remain – the Hastroid and the Moon Runner.
The case, dial and hands
The case is large. There are no two ways about it. It measures 48mm from 3-9, 52mm from 12-6 and some 21mm thick. The case shape is new, and does very well to hide its bulk visually. The smooth, curved lines are rather sensual, oozing of sex appeal. The case is made of sandblasted titanium with a grey and blue coating, the blue peeking out from within the dark grey exterior. The finish is matte, with a very cool frosted finish which is smooth to the touch. The case design is very clever, and good use of pierced cutouts and open worked panels to reduce its apparent mass and reveal the secondary blue. And looking at the watch without a scale reference, it does not look its size. This is a testament to the eye of the designer who has chosen the correct proportions to enable this visual effect.
The dial is also in two shades, as with the rest of the watch – grey (very dark) and blue (very neon bright). The dial is anodised in these two shades and made of aluminium.
The front sapphire glass is a large dome, which is convex and curves over the 3 dimensional moon phase display which takes center stage right in the middle of the dial. The moon is depicted by a rotating titanium sphere with half in a brilliant, almost neon blue, and the other half in a dark grey to represent the light side and the dark side of the moon. As it moves, a loop indicates the phase of the moon. This loop is attached to a curved bridge which swings in from the 12 o’clock position. The bridge, or technically cock as it has only one point of attachment, is reminiscent of the curved bridges used in many MB&F LM models.
Two matte black titanium donut shaped discs orbit the Moon sphere and this displays the date and month. The correct day and month is indicated by a pointer at 6 o’clock. The third disc with blue segments is set at a lower level, and a luminescent triangular hand rotates above it to indicate the minutes track divided into 5-minute white segments. Although the Moon and calendar display somewhat obscure the central bellows that pump the liquid around the capillary, they can be seen below the apertures between the discs at 6 o’clock.
The hours are indicated in a retrograde format by the blue fluid within the capillary tube, as is the norm for HYT. This can be seen as the outermost of the concentric displays. The hours are luminous arabic numeral appliqués which sit over a black honeycomb like structure. The lume is also rather interesting as it uses Lumecast, a technology owned by RC Tritech, and very similar to the Trigalight used in Luminox watches. The luminous structures can be shaped into almost any desired form. In this case, the HYT logo and pointer at 6 o’clock, and the arabic numerals. The luminous Lumecast is also used on the back of the capillary tube to provide a bright contrasting glow to the water and oil in the tube, so the hour indication is superbly legible in the dark. Absolutely stunning.
The movement: Caliber 601-MO
Thorough the case back, we can see the movement revealed. Though the two bellows acting as push-pull fluidic reservoirs are very similar to the Chronode developed H1, we were told that the calibre HYT 601-CM is an entirely new movement, developed by Eric Coudray, who was also involved in an earlier version introduced with the H5 in 2019.
No doubt, Eric used the Chronode H1 base movement as a starting point, but introduced his signatures on the watch. The main technical evolution is in an intricately shaped cam to synchronise the hour and minute indications with precision. The cam works in conjunction with a long, curved feeler-spindle enabling the orchestration of the mechanism – in particular of the bellows driving the two immiscible fluids. To give an idea of the precision required, HYT mentions that “a one-minute progression of the liquid inside the capillary equals a 1.5-micron move of the active element below“.
The added complication to the base 501 is the addition of the 3 dimensional moon phase display, one which Eric has earlier also introduced in his work at Cabestan Terra Luna. The movement is hand wound, and beats at 28,800 bph with 72 hours of power reserve. Of interest, we point out that the HYT literature does not mention the accuracy of the moon phase. We believe this to be the standard high precision moon phase display of 1 day error every 122 years, but have no further information.
Movement finishing is judged to be very good, with excellent attention to detail. And though we have not had the watch on extended periods to test reliability and accuracy, we know Eric Coudray’s work very well, and are sufficiently confident that it will do exactly as it says on the tin.
This is a tough one. We searched our collective minds. Over and over again. But we ended up empty. We cannot think of another watch with this combination of unique technology. The use of a fluid to indicate the passage of the hours is unique. Truly unique in the industry, where perhaps almost everything has been done before, and though the concept of a water clock is as old as time itself, the engineering is novel. The movement, though a redesign based on the Chronode H1 by none other than Eric Coudray, is greatly improved and sufficiently modified with the addition of the 3D moon makes it unique as well.
But we cannot ignore the price tag. At SGD 195k, it is no small change. And in exchange for this cash, there are numerous options. Including the Patek Philippe Ref. 5236 Perpetual Calendar (SGD 179k), the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar (SGD 171k in platinum), or at a stretch, the Greubel Forsey Signature 1 (CHF 155k in SS) among many others. The HYT does not offer a perpetual calendar or a tourbillon like these options, though as said, it provides the unique combination of the fluidic time indication in combination with the 3d moon phase and clever use of lume.
The HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue is not a small watch. The case measures a huge 48mm in diameter and 21.8mm thick. So it is no surprise that smaller wrists will have difficulty carrying it off. Having said that, wearing large watches is more about attitude than absolute fit. I can wear the watch on my flat 7.5 inch wrist, and it feels reasonably comfortable. But kid yourself not – this is not going to fit under your slim cut shirt cuffs, unless you have had them bespoken for the huge watch and in so doing may destroy the elegant lines. The overall look of the watch is perhaps more suited for a more relaxed, outfit than the traditional formal suit.
Once the size hurdle is overcome, the rest of the watch is easy to love. The display is intiutive to read, even though it still is a rather novel idea. The watch functions as it should, with no obvious quirks, though one has to take care not to move too quickly when setting the time, and allow enough time for the liquid to move between its reservoirs. But even this quirk is easy to get used to, after which it is second nature.
We think for those who look for an interesting or unusual watch, a conversation starter, the HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue ticks many many boxes very well. And if the SGD 195k price tag is not a hurdle, then this is a magnificent watch for those so inclined.