HYT and the billionaires Set a course for the RC44
The timekeeper for the carbon fibre yachts of sporty billionaires sees a turning point on the horizon.
Eleven of the twelve owners of the RC44 that were competing in Cascais (Portugal) over five days of gentleman regattas are billionaires. This championship series featuring identical boats of 44 feet (around 13 metres) was created by multiple America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts, hence the name RC44. The circuit has allowed the owners to compete this year in Cascais, Malta, Porto Cervo and even the British Virgin Islands. And it has also allowed HYT to show off its fluorescent yellow and invite its customers, partners and press. The spectacle is fantastic and the VIPs are even invited to come aboard the monohulls inspired by America’s Cup if the wind conditions are reasonable. You could, therefore, find yourself almost shoulder-to-shoulder with Torbjörn Törnqvist, co-founder of Gunvor, a passionate yachtsman who is also the head of the Swedish challenger Artemis for the 35th America’s Cup. For this series of racing yachts and for their billionaire owners that Vincent Perriard meets at these events, HYT has created a limited series of 22, the H1 Air RC44. The CEO of HYT keeps this exclusive circle informed about the brand’s plans, since as opinion leaders with a global audience, their support can be very useful.
In the wake of Alinghi
Another type of yacht and another billionaire, but the same official timekeeper: HYT is also a sponsor of Alinghi in Switzerland, its birthplace. “Everyone knows Alinghi,” Vincent Perriard enthuses, “which gives HYT great credibility. Ernesto Bertarelli would not have partnered Alinghi with HYT if he didn’t believe that our team and our products were interesting. It was not, of course, a question of money but a question of feeling. We met in Gstaad and he though the concept was great!” This notoriety comes from the public at large but also from HYT global retail network, which followed the rise of Alinghi in the America’s Cup first with Audemars Piguet and later with Hublot. For the effervescent boss of HYT this means that the three letters of his brand are now part of this saga of successful brands.
The turning point?
Vincent Perriard is optimistic as far as the gloomy outlook in the watch industry is concerned, citing past problems: “we can see in the export statistics from the Swiss Watch Industry Federation that exports double every ten years, with a decline every five years for around 18 to 24 months. I hope that we are reaching the trough of the wave and that we will start to see things pick up over the winter.” The CEO of HYT claims to be investing a lot in R&D and promises a new milestone, synonymous with light, for mid-October. To reassure aficionados of the hydromechanical horologists, this innovation will not be exclusive to yachtsmen or billionaires.