Featured Hands-On Hautlence Watch talk

Hands-On: Hautlence HL Vagabonde 03

Hautlence has been slowly firing up its Vagabonde series of haute horlogerie timepieces. When we sat down with them at SIHH2019 we had the opportunity to be presented with a buffet of their latest creations.

Hautlence to me is one of the haute horlogerie brands that adds a playful twist to keeping and reading time. What all their watches have in common, is that they all look as if they came straight from the future. They look nothing like a traditional watch. And the Vagabonde is no different. Everything on display deviates dramatically from the norm of what a watch ‘should’ look like. 

We were introduced with a tasting of several Vagabondes. But let’s perhaps start with the ‘least’ complicated (yet still very complicated) HL Vagabonde 03 with its fantastic blue honeycomb minute dial and the laser effect on the blue outer dial. It is visually quite spectacular while at the same time surely also a polarizing design. 

Hautlence always seem to play with how we actually read time and therefore also with how their watches display time. And this is very much the case with the Vagabonde series as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Looking at the above dial, it displays time as 09:32 – can you see it? The minutes are displayed on the central disk, and the hours are displayed through 3 apertures surrounding the minute disk. A little arrow next to the hour points to the minutes. With every passing hour, the hour is displayed in the ‘next’ aperture, dancing around the dial as time passes by. Wandering hours, hence the name ‘Vagabonde’. Check out the brief ‘live’ look at this concept as filmed by Hautlence: 

Moving away from the face of the watch, let’s discuss the case here for a minute. You’ll have noticed the TV shaped case (39x46mm) of the watch. The case is made from Grade 5 titanium resulting in an overall very light wristwatch. But how does it wear? As can be seen on the shot below the watch remains wearable. Does it fly under the radar? No it does not. But why would you want a Hautlence to fly under the radar…

The Calibre under the hood is the HTL 205-1 movement based on the HMC 200 (bidirectional) self-winding mechanical movement by H. Moser & Cie. Looking at the below shot of the movement, anyone familiar with Moser’s calibres will surely notice more than a few similarities on display here. Not surprising of course, as the sister brands combined efforts to see the HTL 205-1 come to life. What I should say about this particular movement is that it actually is quite deceptive when looked at. At first glance, it appears to be a pretty straightforward automatic movement, but as we’ve seen by now it is anything but straightforward.

Taking up the Haute Horlogerie factor a notch or two, there’s another Vagabonde in this series worth a look if you want to take it a step further: The HL Vagabonde TourbillonTourbillon A tourbillon is a complication in a mechanical watch that is designed to improve the accuracy of the watch by compensating for the effects of gravity on the balance wheel and escapement. It consists of a rotating cage that holds the balance wheel and escapement, which rotates on its own axis once per minute. This rotation helps to average out the positional errors caused by gravity, making the watch more accurate [Learn More]

The HL Vagabonde Tourbillon adds a flying tourbillonFlying Tourbillon Like the classic tourbillon, its purpose is to counter the effects of gravity on the rate of the watch (rate deviances). It tries to achieve this by rotating the escapement and balance wheel in all possible directions. The balance, anchor and escape wheel are positioned in a cage, which rotates 360° in one minute. With the Flying Tourbillon this complex construction is anchored on one side only, which lends the complication its apparent weightlessness, enables increased precision and gave rise to its name. There is no bridge obstructing the view, giving the appearance that the tourbillon is indeed flying. [Learn More] and a case made out of red gold. The calibre again made in-house, with its sister companies. Powered by the self-winding calibre, the HTL 405-1, developed from the HMC 804 movement created by sister brand H. Moser & Cie. The one-minute flying tourbillon with double hairspringHairspring The hairspring is a thin spring in a mechanical watch movement that is connected to the balance wheel. The balance wheel oscillates back and forth at a consistent rate, and the hairspring helps regulate these oscillations. The hairspring works by applying a restoring force to the balance wheel, which helps to keep the balance wheel oscillating at a consistent rate. The hairspring is also known as a balance spring. [Learn More] has been developped with its other sister company, Precision Engineering AG.

Assembly of the dial. Image courtesy Hautlence.

Hautlence being Hautlence, the brand also launched a pièce unique. One that you can’t ignore even if you tried to. It is essentially an iced out version of the HL Vagabonde 03 with Tourbillon. It is the exact same concept and tourbillon as the above described piece with one big difference. The dial here consists entirely of blue sapphires and the edge is finished by means of pavé diamonds, because everyone deserves a little bling in his or her life…

No wristshot with this one I’m afraid. Not sure my insurance would have approved. 

For more info, please visit www.hautlence.com

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