Baselworld 2016: Presenting the new Hautlence Vortex Bronze. Hands-on Review, Live Pictures & Pricing.

For Baselworld 2016, Hautlence unveiled its fourth variant of the Vortex model, we are talking about the Vortex Bronze. Unlike most other bronze watches that come with a reasonable price tag, this exceptional piece of 'haute horlogerie' is as exclusive and pricey as it gets. The new Hautlence Vortex Bronze is the second model under the Concepts d’Exception collection and has made quite an impression through the combination of avant-garde watchmaking techniques and its futuristic design.

Ever since its foundation in 2004, Hautlence has been dedicated to bringing a new dynamic into the art of watchmaking, thus gaining the recognition of watch collectors and connoisseurs over the world. The brand has a portfolio of four calibres designed and manufactured in-house and relies on external partners for the movements of certain collections. Since 2012, Hautlence has been supported by MELB Holding, which has made its experience and network accessible to the brand with the aim of developing effective synergies between Hautlence and the group as a whole. The new Hautlence Vortex Bronze features a self-winding HL2.0 mechanical calibre with half-trailing hours displayed by a chain, retrograde minutes on the center of the dial and a power reserve indicator at 2 o'clock. The dial is composed of two sapphire discs, the upper one with the minutes and hour markers in white superluminova and a lower one with a black sticker to provide contrast.

The innovative titanium-cased Vortex model was the first of what is now a true collection. Following the red gold Vortex 02 and the Vortex Primary, a stained-glass window cathedral with three-dimensional windows straight from Eric Cantona’s mind, the new Hautlence Vortex Bronze joins the collection with a case sculpted in bronze —an alloy of copper and tin. This means that each of the 8 pieces in this limited edition will be as unique as it gets once the patina starts building up in its very own way depending on the owner's lifestyle. The case in bronze, measures 52 mm x 50 mm x 17.8 mm and features a crown in grade 5 titanium and six three-dimensional sapphire crystals. The case weighing only 75 grams, is done with alternating finishes that include sand blasting, satin brushing and hand polishing.

In order to tell time, this fascinating timepiece will have its cage of the regulating organ rotate 60 degrees every 60 minutes, turning on itself to avoid any lack of precision due to the effects of gravity. The revolutionary timepiece features three patents. Just as if the front of the watch wasn't impressive enough, turning the watch around reveals all the intricacies of the automatic Hautlence in-house calibre HLR2.3 composed of 552 parts, 92 jewels and which provides a power reserve of 40 hours when fully wound. This movement with half-trailing hours displayed by a chain, retrograde minutes is a mobile bridge-type calibre. The movement features two barrels, one for the going train and one as a complication barrel. While the hours are displayed by a 12-link chain hinged on a pallet system, the speed regulator ensures that the hour display changes in a controlled and jerk-free manner in 3-4 seconds instead of instantly. It completes 48 revolutions at each hour change. The mobile bridge-type calibre comprising the regulating organ, rotates 60° at each change of hour. The oscillating weight is off-centered and made of 18K white gold. From a horological standpoint, this calibre is a true feat of horology and a perfect example of 'haute horlogerie' from top to bottom.

The round out the rugged look of this new Hautlence Vortex Bronze watch, the timepiece is fitted with a brown Zora calfskin leather strap with black rubber lining. The strap looks very rugged and oily in appearance. Additionally, the watch is delivered with a black hand-sewn rolled edge alligator leather strap. The strap is fitted with a deployant clasp in grade 2 titanium. Honestly, the clasp should've been done in bronze matching the case, especially considering the price point. Just imagine the amount of patina that would've developed on it. The watch is water resistant to 30 meters.

On the wrist, this is one of the most unique watches one can wear due to its shape and case construction. The watch wears really big and with impressive wrist presence. In all, a true masterpiece of horology for the most discerning watch collectors and for those that already have it all. A beauty and a conversation piece for sure. A watch that needs to be seen in action to further understand its horological complexity. The new Hautlence Vortex Bronze is available in an ultra exclusive limited edition of only 8 pieces.

Sticker Price CHF 170,000 Swiss Francs —approximately $176,000 USD. For more info on Hautlence click here.