Hysek is one of the brands that appear to escape the grip of time. Ever since its founding, the firm that has now become an authentic integrated Manufacture has revelled in bucking trends. The vintage trend? It has chosen to ignore it. Austerity in a period of economic crisis? Such considerations have never cramped its style, quite the reverse. The oversize craze comes and goes? Possibly so, but if Hysek needs space to express its creativity, it takes as much as it needs. The Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark as the ultimate seal of excellence? Hysek has long since developed its own finishing standards that are at least as demanding and embody its own vision of haute horlogerie.
The latest models presented at Baselworld 2015 confirm this mindset. Once again, Hysek has even gone so far as to build its own pavilion on Messeplatz, showcasing the brand’s main collections – Io and Abyss – that account for most of this year’s new releases.
Io struts its stuff
The II collection is one of the brand’s most creative. Fully grasping it means casting aside the entire set of watchmaking clichés and conventions. Only then can the new Jumping Hours Tourbillon and certain other launches be correctly understood.
Its centre reveals the flying tourbillon, apparently suspended in mid-air. Arranged around it are two discs: one for the minutes and another for the hours, shown through a 12 o’clock aperture in a jumping-display mode, as its name implies. The various functions are driven by a self-winding Manufacture movement with a platinum micro-rotor, housed within a 45 mm pink gold case.
The second IO is a tourbillon chronograph model also specially developed for Baselworld 2015. While the association of these two horological complications is not a first in itself, Hysek gives it an inimitable twist in two key respects.
The first is the skeleton finish. The model is entirely bathed in light and its complete wheel train disappears beneath the complications. This ensures a light, airy effect that is all the more striking in that the 45 mm case is just 13 mm thick.
The second Hysek difference is more immediately visible: the arrangement of the complications. Their layout has always been a hallmark of the house style, which never takes account of prevailing norms, such as a tourbillon at 6 o’clock. It appears here at 10 o’clock, complemented by a chronograph counter at 3 o’clock and a micro-rotor at 6 o’clock. The entire mechanism is fitted on a mainplate adorned with the brand’s characteristic windrose motif that is visible through the sapphire crystal.
The third and last IO is a reinterpretation of an existing model, the Skeleton Tourbillon. Hysek now revisits it through two 88-piece limited editions featuring two dial variations and downsized from 49 mm to 45. The first version has no hour-markers at all, while the second bears Roman numerals engraved beneath the surface of the crystal. The IO Skeleton Tourbillon is now also enriched by a case-back sapphire crystal with a metallised decoration reproducing a sunburst guilloché motif. On a technical level, Hysek has maintained the properties of the original Manufacture movement. Calibre HW14 is manually wound, which dispenses it from the need for an oscillating weight that would have been a pointless encumbrance.
Abyss celebrates its 10th anniversary
The Abyss collection is the longest-running Hysek range, to which the brand pays tribute for its 10th anniversary by treating it to four new models testifying to a line of series-made chronographs that have successfully evolved with the times. It still comes in a 44 mm diameter, but clothed in various new finishes combining anthracite, black or gold-toned variations on a shared base pink gold and titanium base.
Abyss remains as distinctive as ever with its pivoting lugs, one of the technical signatures of the range. Hysek offers three types of wristband suited to all uses: leather, rubber enriched with a steel H insert bearing the Hysek logo, as well as a titanium and steel bracelet.
The Abyss line welcomes an all-new creation in the shape of the Abyss 44 mm Tourbillon Automatic. While its case has been updated, it remains driven by the HW03A movement that has been developed and manufactured in-house for the past five years.
This model features a half-dial, with the left-hand side opening directly onto the calibre. Once again, Hysek plays with the layout of its organs, since the tourbillon appears here between 10 and 11 o’clock. The power-reserve display at 7 o’clock deserves a closer look: its single hand with its unique openworked design testifies to the excellence Hysek strives to achieve in each and every detail. It also confirms that the brand, whose timepieces are designed for an informed audience, deserves to be examined with an expert and demanding eye closely attentive to these creations that remain resolutely off the beaten track.