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Hysek - Hysek announces its first base calibre

Hysek Hysek announces its first base calibre

Hysek has announced its first base movement, on which the brand intends to build a competitively priced in-house range.

The ways of the watch world are often inscrutable. Some brands start out with an “accessible” range and go upmarket from there, at the risk of disconnecting from their historic base who can’t afford to follow.

Hysek announces its first base calibre

IO Automatic Manufacture © Hysek

Others do the opposite. They make their name in the ultra-premium segment, but one day produce a bottom-rung range in a bid to expand their customer base. Their risk is correspondingly inverted: the danger is that they weaken the brand image and lose their seasoned collectors, whose expectations are no longer met.

A manufacture movement at under CHF 10,000

It’s this second path that Hysek is now attempting to navigate. The manufacture is a master of unusual construction and extreme skeletonisation, and occupies a unique position in the watchmaking landscape. It is one of the last remaining 100% independent maisons; it is almost 100% integrated; it has a very strong identity and a rare willingness to push the technical envelope. Hysek made a splash at Baselworld with the Colossal. This perpetual calendar with its roller display and over 1000 components represented the kind of world first that many watchmakers continue to angle for.

Hysek announces its first base calibre

The Colossal © Hysek

The IO Automatic Manufacture goes to the other extreme: it is the first base calibre signed by Hysek (translation: an in-house three-hand movement). It will serve as a base for Hysek: a technical base for future models, and a financial base on which to build an affordable watch range. How affordable? Under 10,000 francs for the very first model. But what about the most important factor – is this affordable movement still driven by the Hysek spirit?

High added value

The watches won’t be available until the autumn, but the first glimpses are encouraging. The movement is unquestionably developed and produced in-house. It has 145 parts. Apart from the rubies (of which there are 29), which no brands produce internally, only two components in the HW31 calibre are outsourced: the barrel and the escapement (pallet and hairspring). Hysek clearly doesn’t have the economic footprint to make these in-house – only a few watchmakers do (Swatch Group, H. Moser & Cie, Montblanc through its Minerva manufacture, among others).

Hysek announces its first base calibre

HW31, the first base calibre by Hysek © Hysek

Another notable feature is that the movement is wound with a micro-rotor. It is an ambitious and costly solution. Lebeau-Courally tried it, with limited success. Hysek, however, is a master of this technology and has considerable experience (see the Verdict, Furtif and IO collections). The brand is bringing all its expertise to bear on a proven technology that produces a slimmer calibre, thus creating more room inside the movement. This free space can subsequently be utilised to accommodate integrated or modular complications (date, chronograph, moon phases, etc.).

Hysek announces its first base calibre

Small seconds © Hysek

Another feature to the HW31’s credit is a small second at 6 o’clock. There is nothing technically exceptional about it, apart from the fact that, if the aim was to reduce costs and thus components, a central second would have been a more obvious choice. But because Hysek considered it a more convenient feature, they decided to go the extra mile.

Movement and dial on the same level

A look at the dial suggests that the first model driven by the HW31 calibre has all the Hysek features. There are the broad luminescent spear-shaped hands, and indices at 1, 5, 7 and 11 in meticulously figured Arabic numerals, applied to a dial with an elaborate graphite-inspired design.

Hysek announces its first base calibre

Zoom in on the dial © Hysek

Hysek was drawn to the alveolate structure created by the hexagonal molecule, connected in its centre by a three-branched axis. Again, the manufacture could have taken an easier route (flat sunburst dial, standard, non-skeletonised hands) but has succeeded in producing a far more sophisticated design while containing costs. If the movement finishes are to the same standard, there is no doubt that the IO Automatique Manufacture will be among the most competitive “affordable manufacture” options out there.

Hysek announces its first base calibre

IO Automatic Manufacture © Hysek

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The company's founding principles are a combination of the unconventional with technical prowess. Each new timepiece is not simply the modification of an existing aesthetic model, but is completely designed from scratch. This perpetual calling into question leads to the creation of audacious timepieces that are not afraid to surprise.

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