Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 2 2017
Sold for £31,400
It’s fair to say that the launch of HYT back in 2012 prompted a fair degree of scepticism among traditional horophiles – after all, there’s no denying that a watch that tells the time with what the brand described as “an aqueous liquid filled with fluorescein” (i.e. coloured water) and a “transparent viscous liquid” (er, oil) by pushing them around a thin glass tube with a pair of piston-driven bellows is somewhat gimmicky.
It is said to have taken more than a decade of research and a team of 30 technicians to perfect the liquid display, which was first mooted by its inventor Lucien Vouillamoz back in 2002 and finally bought to market by industry veteran Vincent Perriard who, in his days as CEO of Concord, oversaw the creation of a watch with a simpler, liquid-filled power reserve display.
Five years on, HYT has proved that there’s a market for its imaginative watches that lend a whole new meaning to the words water resistant, with the brand even being accepted as an exhibitor at Geneva’s prestigious SIHH show.
Interestingly, HYT’s Skull watches are not even intended to be especially accurate since the moving, coloured fluid indicates only the hour and not the minutes, leaving the wearer to roughly estimate what the time is by means of its position between the markers. Released in 2015, the Skull models are now available in eight different variations (including a pocket watch) and this sale featured two examples – the Green Eye pictured and the Red Eye, which failed to sell.
And the fact that the Green Eye realised only around 50 per cent of its retail price indicates that buyers of new examples should be willing to leak more than a little cash in exchange for owning a watch that is, undeniably, one of the most unusual on the market.