We reviewed the earlier two versions of the HYT Skull. Each more menacing than the other. And now, for release in BaselWorld 2016, HYT unleashes its creativity and created a third. The HYT Skull Bad Boy.
Preliminary information: We introduced the first generation HYT Skull here. And our hands-on detailed review here. And a Maori Version which we adored. And then this.
HYT Skull Bad Boy. Bad to the bone
Certainly the watch looks like its namesake. Tough. Dark. Mysterious. Bad. Bad to the bone. The skull imagery itself is already heavily suggestive of its bad boy image, but to that the opaque black look, including the deep dark black liquid display which took 12 months to develop. Like the other four colors developed by HYT, black has its own chemical properties. The attributes like viscousity, expansion coefficient and UV resistance is unique to itself, and needed to be catered for in its use to indicate the passage of time in a precision instrument.
Impossible to read in the dark
The black liquid presented another difficulty. Other colors reflect all or some of the light it receives. Black reflects nothing. The inevitable result is the legibility in the dark takes a back stage. In fact, it is impossible to read.
“It was a deliberate decision”, explains Vincent Perriard, CEO of HYT. “There were other
solutions which would have made the piece visible at night. But if we wanted to play with
the darkness inherent to the Skull Bad Boy, we had to go all the way. Night is part of the
world of shadows and darkness. Perfectly in tune with the spirit of the skull”.
Apart from the new black liquid, the appearance of the dial is also interesting. Damascus steel is used. This kind of steel is typically used in knives and swords. The steel is characterized by distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water. Such steel is reputed to be tough, resistant to shattering and capable of being honed to a sharp, resilient edge.
Although the skull is not made of Damascus steel, the actual production technique of Damascus steel is lost, though modern reproductions are available. For the Skull, HYT went to a foundry in the Neuchâtel region to create the raw matrial: multiple layers of steel and carbon, folded on to themselves repeatedly. A total of 256 times. And this material is cast in batches of 5 skulls. The banding and mottling is visible on the skull. And as each is different from the other, each watch is in a way a piece unique. We think the way it looks is certainly fitting.
The Damascus steel skull sits on a plate with two half moons decorated with Clous de Paris stud pattern. The indices are in Gothic font. The design is cohesive, and highly suggestive of the bad boy image.
The 51mm diameter case is in microblasted DLC titanium attached to a new buffed aligator strap with hints of slate grey. A velcro closure system is provided so “it can be adjusted to fit on a leather biker jacket”, says Vincent.
The movement is based on the HYT H1, and the same as the ones in the other Skulls. Finishing is very nicely done with all the traditional watchmaking points nicely addressed. This side of the Skull Bad Boy is utterly traditional, and in line with fine watchmaking.
Comparisons? Well, simply none. No other watch even comes close. The HYT Skull Bad Boy is not for everybody. Certainly not for the classical watch collector. Nor the faint of heart. It is too big (51mm diameter, though it fits the Editor’s wrists nicely). It is too dark. Cannot be read in the dark. Heck, even in light, legibility of the time is not good. But the prospective buyer will not care. What matters is is the bad boy looks. The daring, dark, brooding visual. The imagery is powerful. And will attract collectors with the mindset. We can see it being worn by a tough (but gentleman) cookie, in leather jacket, leather trousers, and a big bad, loud Harley Davidson. Perhaps with dark sunglasses, even at night, so his eyes cannot be seen. If he wears a helmet, it will be one of those WWII German styled helmets, but sans swastica. Because though he is bad to the bone, he is not a Nazi…after all he is a gentleman.
Skull Bad Boy Specifications
Case: black DLC titanium with microblasted finish
– Diameter: 51 mm
– Height: 17.9 mm
– rubber coated screw-down crown
– black DLC titanium 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: black retrograde fluidic hours; seconds
Movement: Mechanical with manual winding, exclusive HYT calibre
– 28,800 Vph, 4 Hz, 35 jewels
– bridges hand-bevelled and adorned with Côtes de Genève, rhodium-plated bellows
– 65-hour power reserve
Dial: unstructured, rhodium-plated with Clous de Paris stud pattern, hours indicated by a
– skull made from Damascus steel
– black hour dial, grey numerals and offset black indices
– seconds disc (left eye)
– power reserve indicator (right eye)
Strap: buffed slate grey alligator, velcro clasp with keeper
Ref. : 151-DL-43-NF-AS, limited edition of 50 pieces