Away from the vast industrial estates of watchmaking in Geneva, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Biel and even from the secluded Vallée de Joux, the Hysek brand, based in Lussy-sur-Morges, sets itself apart from the crowd geographically, as well as through its avant-garde designs.

Since the brand was established by Jörg Hysek in 1997, it has quietly grown into a fully-fledged “manufacture” in the true French meaning of the word, developing and producing its own movements and cases. The company is today split across two sites, the main head office in Lussy-sur-Morges and the machine park in an unassuming industrial building in Bussigny, on the outskirts of Lausanne.

 

Hysek Verdict Double Tourbillon

Hysek Verdict Double Tourbillon © Hysek

 

The fact that Hysek has achieved this status with such discretion is a reflection of its owner’s personality. Mr Akram Aljord, who took over the company in 2002, has an extensive background in luxury goods and has been a minority shareholder in Roger Dubuis ever since the brand took on the watchmaker’s name in 1999. He decided to set up Hysek’s in-house manufacturing capacity back in 2007.

“The brand was doing very well and our products were well received,” he explains, “but we felt the need to secure our supplies in order to give the brand more credibility among a demanding customer base of connoisseurs and collectors. It was therefore vital for us to start producing our own movements and we therefore invested in a state-of-the-art production facility that affords us greater independence in terms of our production and movement development.”

 

Hysek movement mainplate

The mainplate for a Hysek movement, cut in three dimensions from a solid block of metal. © Paul O'Neil/Worldtempus

 

The result of this investment is that Hysek is now completely independent and autonomous. All Hysek movements are designed and developed in-house and, since 2012, the company has even been making its own cases in-house, mainly in titanium but also in stainless steel. Most of the larger movement components, such as mainplates, are produced on a single 7-axis CNC machine, while a separate 5-axis CNC machine is used mainly for finishing and engraving. An automatic lathe is used for profile turning smaller components and a wire-erosion machine is used to cut out the smallest elements used in the manufacturing process.

 

Hysek IO skeleton tourbillon mainplate

The minimalist mainplate for the Hysek iO skeleton tourbillon. © Paul O'Neil/Worldtempus

 

With such impressive in-house production capabilities, Hysek is able to offer a level of quality that is the envy of its competitors. As the brand’s technical director, Sergio Sylva, explained to WorldTempus, the finished quality of the brand’s movement components is the same level as that required for the Geneva Hallmark. But since the brand produces and assembles its watches outside Geneva, this coveted label of distinction is out of the brand’s reach. To take just one example of the high quality of the brand’s components, the elements for one of its skeleton dials are cut out of a solid block of metal and slotted together. Few brands have the capacity to produce such components internally and an external dial supplier would most likely glue the individual elements together (see photo below).

 

Hysek dial elements

Individual Hysek dial elements. Note the dial base with its hour markers in relief, which is cut from a solid block of metal. © Paul O'Neil/Worldtempus

 

Such levels of quality take on an added importance when you consider that one of Hysek’s specialities is skeletonized movements visible behind sapphire dials and case backs. But the brand also offers much more accessible products, such as the Abyss chronograph collection, fitted with a Valjoux 7750 movement, which retails for a competitive 6,900 Swiss francs.

But whether you are buying the brand’s entry-level chronograph or one of its tourbillons for just under 92,000 Swiss francs, you are acquiring a timepiece of irreproachable quality that has a unique design.

“We always offer something different,” says Mr Aljord. “Each case is unique. We dare to be different and we are avant-garde. Our watches are recognisable at first glance. We are one of the few brands for which you don’t need to double-check the name on the dial for confirmation.”

Click on the image above to see a photo gallery of the Hysek manufacturing facility.