HYT ShowCase Action: The New HYT Hastroid
Davide Cerrato, CEO and Creative Director of HYT, presents the brand’s latest launch with our ShowCase
There’s only one watchmaking brand in the world that has mastered the art and science of combining fluids with micro-mechanics. HYT is back with a new watch, reworking the identity of the brand while still staying true to its roots. Recently appointed CEO and Creative Director of HYT, Davide Cerrato takes us through the just-launched HYT Hastroid.
You’ve been head of HYT since last summer. Tell me about your priorities, over your first months in the role.
My first priority was to rebuild the team. I decided to retain two of the watchmakers who were in place already, as well as the head of quality control, who had just joined. Everyone else was new blood. So we now have two-thirds talented youngsters with tons of energy, and one-third people with a great deal of experience in the market.
My second priority concerned the choice of suppliers. We needed them to be solid and reliable, because the timing was tight. There too, we found a good balance between existing contractors that were extremely sound, such as Pure TEC for movements, and new partners such as Efteor for the exteriors. They helped us a great deal with their time and energy. For a small, independent brand, it’s crucial to have good relationships within your network if you’re to move forward. All our partners at every level of our project are extremely committed and very enthusiastic, and that makes me very happy. My third priority was quality, which at times in the brand’s history has been something of a weakness. Everything has been put in place to ensure that is not the case with our new models.
Davide Cerrato, CEO HYT © HYT
You have just introduced the Hastroid – HYT’s first new-generation watch. That’s quite an achievement, in just a few months!
Yes, thanks in large part to the people I just mentioned! I should also point out that we are using the latest fluidic model developed by the previous team, which was almost finalised but never released. It incorporates all the improvements made as a result of ten years’ experience with the previous versions. Reliability is now optimal, and that includes the vacuum priming, a process in which material is deposited on the inside of the capillaries to ensure the fluid doesn’t stick to the walls. The diameter of the watch has been reduced, which makes the timepiece more ergonomic.
In terms of mechanics, we kept the movement created latterly by Pur TEC, which hasn’t been seen before. It uses a large cam on the back, which means the time can be adjusted hour by hour, ensuring perfect alignment between the fluid hour display and the rest of the mechanical time indication.
As far as the external components are concerned, there, too, we have invested in reliability, optimising the case with a modular approach that means we can make the most of its complexity (it comprises almost 50 components) to design bespoke pieces if we wish. Our industrial solution is highly efficient, but it also allows us to be flexible, agile and autonomous.
As a designer, which of the brand’s original codes have you retained?
I must point out that, when I arrived, I was astonished and delighted to discover that the brand had created an incredible emotional response and developed a privileged relationship with watchmaking aficionados. The first glimpses we teased on social media received hundreds of reactions that were very encouraging in terms of the return of HYT, which enjoys a high level of goodwill capital. Obviously, we’ve kept the fluidic aspect, and our aim is to find the best expression of the symbiotic relationship between the fluid and the mechanical. To gain a better understanding of the brand’s DNA, I met with many collectors and talked to HYT clients, to find out what they liked about the brand and what they didn’t. I also met with retailers. I got heaps of information, which was very useful subsequently.
I understood the role of the highly complex proprietary fluidic technology, which is rare and extremely expensive, and the need to be able to talk about it in a simple way. Our end customers are captivated by the concept of a mechanical movement, which operates a high-tech fluidic module with cutting-edge technology, providing a hybrid time display. We’ve defined this technology as “meca-fluidic” – and you can now see that term under the crystal. Mechanics are important to HYT – it’s no accident that the movement was designed by Eric Coudray – and we’ve worked very hard to improve its finish and performance.
HYT Hastroid Green Nebula © WorldTempus Brice Lechevalier
What has been your contribution to the first models of 2022?
HYT offers a unique, highly modern design that’s unlike anything else in existence. In the Astroid, we have a much more ergonomic, more slender piece, which is lighter and more wearable than previously. At the same time, we have substantially improved its legibility, with the ability to read the basic information directly. Also, the modularity of the design makes it possible to have some fun. As the name of this first model implies, we’re projecting the brand into the future (a big change for me, given that I’m known for my vintage designs!), and into space. Once again, people are fascinated by space exploration. Space flight is in the news, and HYT is celebrating the ‘Heroes of our Time’ such as astronauts, or visionary entrepreneurs like Elon Musk. Space is very much about avant-garde technology, a characteristic HYT shares, but it’s also distinguished by its transgenerational appeal. It’s a dream we all share.
Since I’ve been working on this project, I’ve begun to grasp its enormous, amazing potential. It’s certainly complex, but it’s unique. We have done a lot of work on the technology, and in finding the best way to tell its story. For example, to explain HYT’s innovations, we point out that the fluidic module is 10,000 times more waterproof than a dive watch. The volume of the fluid itself is 1000 times more reactive to temperature than a solid. And consider this: the thickness of the wall of one of the pistons is a quarter of the diameter of a human hair! The technological challenges are colossal.
Until now we haven’t seen any complications from HYT. Is that about to change?
Indeed, the technical performance of the fluidic display has been extremely well received, and at the same time, the watchmaking community has allowed its collective imagination to run wild, thinking of future complications – which never saw the light of day because of the enormous technical challenges. This spring we’ll change that by incorporating a new and completely different fluidic expression. At the same time, we’ll be differentiating our offer with the complications that will define our three new launches of 2022. Hastroid is showcasing the new face of HYT with this first 27-piece limited series. Two further models with complications will be unveiled at Watches & Wonders, and a grand complication will be released before the summer.
Have you also overhauled your distribution network?
Completely! 73 retailers have been dropped from our commercial network, which is now down to 25-30 around the world, split between three agents. We’ve kept only our most solid partners, with whom we will build a long-term relationship, with very clear rules for everyone (in particular: no discounts), and local after-sales centres to ensure a better customer experience. It’s genuinely heartwarming to see the managers of prestigious retailers grinning like children when they discover the latest HYT models. The watches are also available from our website, which includes a small selection of certified pre-owned models.
HYT is positioning itself as an haute horlogerie brand defined by uniqueness, innovation, a pioneering spirit, fun, entertainment, space and creativity.