Insider: HYT H4 Alinghi Limited Edition. Hands-On with our Favorite Piece from the Hydromechanical Horologists.

Innovation within tradition, the DNA of haute horlogerie, the movement heritage, and so on: forget it all. HYT does things its own way, and discards these received ideas. Need a known quantity to hang on to? Good news: the H4 Alinghi tells the time. As for the rest, you will need to forget anything that has been seen, designed, or even imagined before now. Nothing has changed, except the essential. The chassis is a familiar beast. Since the start of the year, the H4 has had more ink in publicity than it has in its capillary. It is based on the same movement architecture as the H1, HYT's inaugural piece, which has been completely skeletonized. With a 65-hour power reserve, it unveiled its sculptural mechanism for the very first time and opened up a new creative universe for HYT. One so appealing that the brand decided not to meddle with it: the new H4 Alinghi is virtually a carbon copy of its big brother but with a big surprise under the hood.

The Dial

The HYT H4 Alinghi limited edition is equipped with an unstructured dial with the traditional fluid hour display. The dial features a sapphire disc regulator with applied markers and numerals indicating the minutes at 12 o'clock, a power reserve indicator at 2 and the iconic red Alinghi spiral logo as the seconds indicator at 9 o'clock. This Alinghi logo became very popular when Alinghi started a partnership with Audemars Piguet in 2002 and then with Hublot in 2009 after parting ways with AP. Now, Alinghi comes back with this partnership with the hydromechanical horologists from HYT. They say third time is a charm, and for all that we know, this should be a long lasting partnership.

The Case, Rider & LED

The HYT H4 Alinghi is fitted with a 3DTP carbon case measuring 51 mm in diameter and 17.9 mm in thickness. The watch is equipped with a convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the dial side and screw-down sapphire case-back. Water resistant to 50 meters, the rider at 6 o'clock holds the light surprise right underneath. HYT has concealed two LEDs under the rider. Once activated, they flood the entire dial with white light. At night, the red fluid is energized by this light source, becoming perfectly visible. At the same time, the wash of light flows into every nook and cranny of the calibre, literally bringing this skeleton architecture to life, and defying the laws of watchmaking. The LEDs are activated by a mechanical dynamo generator. If you look closely at the second image below, you will see the two LEDs under the rider. The rider at 6 o'clock is made of black DLC titanium with a red lacquered numeral.

The Crowns

This time the brand has applied a radiant idea, as brilliant as it is difficult to spot at first glance. Only eagle-eyed enthusiasts will have noticed an intriguing detail on the HYT H4, the presence of two crowns. One for the movement and the other to activate the mechanically activated LED lights under the rider at 6 o'clock. Clever, indeed, difficult to execute, very. The screw-down crown at 2 o'clock is black DLC titanium with black rubber clad ring and is used to wind the watch and set the time. The titanium crown with red rubber clad ring and lightning bolt engraving located at 4 o'clock, is actually a pusher and crown that is used to wind the generator that has been nestled between 4 and 5 o'clock. This generator is invisible and is activated by pressing on that red rubber clad crown. The process is broadly that of a dynamo, converting mechanical power into light energy. Once activated, the two LEDs bathe the Alinghi in a soft white light. This illumination is possible for a maximum of five seconds, after which the mechanism must be reinitialized. No battery is needed for this process, which is fully mechanical. Three factors made it so tricky to develop: the extreme miniaturization, the curved shape, and the fact, once again, that no development of this type had ever been achieved before in the horological world.

The Strap

The strap on the new HYT H4 Alinghi is simply perfect and very comfortable. The strap is made of black rubber and is lined with a silver sail canvas from the Alinghi team with a nice red contrast stitching. The clasp is a black DLC titanium folding buckle and the strap is equipped with two black rubber keepers. Overall, the strap is very unique looking and complements the watch extremely nicely.

The Movement

The beating heart inside the HYT H4 Alinghi is the skeletonized mechanical manual wound movement, exclusively developed by APRP —Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi— for HYT with 35 jewels and which provides a power reserve of 65 hours when fully wound while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph. Equipped with a white light mechanical module with rewinding and push-button system with a crown at 4:30. The dynamo works when the crown is compressed at 4:30. As soon as the button loosens the light stops working until the full decompression of the additional barrel spring. The calibre is fully visible via the display case back fitted with a black smoked sapphire crystal.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and extremely large —even when our wrist is 7.25" in circumference. Regardless, this is the type of watch that once you try on, you hardly want to take it off. Its wrist presence is unparalleled and its red accents against the silver strap and black carbon case are just out of this world. The new HYT H4 Alinghi is only available in a limited edition of 25 pieces.

Sticker Price $99,000 USD. For more info on HYT watches click here.

Posted on November 6, 2015 and filed under HYT.