After a short hiatus, Hautlence resurfaces once again bringing dynamism and sportiness to traditional watchmaking.
Before they went quiet for a couple of years, Hautlence was a brand thriving with activity. There was a point where they even collaborated with the football legend Eric Cantona to create a series of art-inspired watches for collectors. The last we heard from Hautlence, they were still big on innovation with the launch of the HL Sphere 01 in 2019 and followed up with the HL Sphere 02 in 2020. Then, they went a bit quiet, until now.
2022 marked a brand-new chapter in the history of Hautlence. They announced a new structure in Schaffhausen where it can now get operational support from its sister company H. Moser & Cie. and more importantly is now headed by Samuel Hoffmann. Hoffmann brought with him a novel brand concept and product strategy, injecting a much-needed sense of dynamism and fresh ideas to ensure that Hautlence, the brand founded in 2004, will continue its upward trajectory as an independent watchmaker well into the future. One of the new concepts introduced in 2022 revolved around taking a more contemporary and sporty approach to their designs and thus, the Linear Series 1 was born.
The Linear Series 1 marks the first in a new collection for Hautlence and as the name indicates its unique feature is the vertical hours display that can be seen on the left-hand side of the watch. To achieve this, the watchmakers at Hautlence looked back to the very first movement designed by the brand in 2004 for inspiration. They borrowed a large but extremely slim linkage to allow the transference of energy from the mechanism on the right to the indicators on the left. Not only does the watch offer a jumping hours function, but as the hour indicator passes the numeral 12, a snail disengages a probe to release the accumulated energy, instantly flicking the indicator back to 1.
Adding on to this already complex function, Hautlence also decided to equip the Linear Series 1 with a flying tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position. Combining these complications resulted in a watch that comprises 239 components and offers a power reserve of 72 hours and beats at a frequency of 3 hertz. To achieve this, they worked with the independent movement company – Agenhor. Agenhor specialises in the creation of highly complex mechanisms and most recently in 2018, bagged an award for a watch featuring their central chronograph mechanism.
Putting all this effort into the movement would be a waste if the wearer was not able to marvel at all its minute details. Thus, for the Linear Series 1, the dial was constructed in true Hautlence fashion and separated into multiple levels. The retrograde minute indicator is put on a clear sapphire so as not to hinder the view underneath. The minute cam was deliberately made visible as it is an important element of how the linear hour indicators work. The cam, which is integral with the minute hand lifts the minute sector as the hour elapses, then after 60 minutes, the minute sector falls, driving the hour star which includes the hour cam. The multiple levels of dial construction extend to the tourbillon as well as it drops down into a recess at the 6 o’clock position drawing the viewer deeper into the watch.
The stainless steel case of the Hautlence Linear Series 1 may look like the signature TV screen shape that has always been used by the brand however upon closer inspection, the signs of its updated sportiness become apparent. First, the relief forms on either side of the case add volume and dynamism to the case while the fluted bezel is set with a rubber band that matches the colour of the rubber strap. The rubber strap has also been designed so that it can be integrated into the case and as part of the brand’s new sporty personality, the watch is also water resistant up to 10 ATM.
The Hautlence Linear Series 1, limited to only 28 pieces worldwide, undoubtedly heralds a new era for the brand. And for a company that was inspired by the birthplace of watchmaking art, the name Hautlence was derived as an anagram of the Swiss town, Neuchâtel, they are ready to continue pushing the boundaries of traditional watchmaking. Through the use of the latest mechanical solutions and borrowing from a near-unlimited universe of design inspiration, we are looking forward to what the watchmakers from this innovative brand will come up with next.