Who' Who , HYT


They are both as unpredictable and unruly as each other, and never happier than when the entire industry voices its doubts about their choices. In the end, what brings together Vincent Perriard and Laurent Picciotto is perhaps their insatiable curiosity, taking them where no-one else has even dreamed of going. Not simply out of a desire to be provocative, but more fundamentally, due to a constant yearning to liven up the art of watchmaking.

While it’s always better to appraise a brand over time rather than judge it on the basis of a one-off, the reach of its ambition can nonetheless be gauged by its first timepiece. At HYT, Grégory Dourde formed the opinion that traditional watch mechanisms might be all well and good, but fluid mechanics were even better. This led to the idea of displaying the time using a liquid.

“Right from the start, when Vincent came to see me with this somewhat crazy idea, I found the approach to be very ingenious,” recalls Laurent Picciotto. “But I lost no time in warning him not to indulge in a merely stylistic exercise without any real future; he needed to display the genuine art of watchmaking – the only thing that could win him the acclaim of his peers.

For the co-founder of the up-and-coming brand, the practical outworking of this advice was the development of a purebred watch mechanism – a genuine in-house movement that added the full weight of credibility to the liquid time display.

I must admit I still had some reservations – until I finally saw the movement that was to support the concept,” says Laurent Picciotto. And that’s when all doubt was dispelled – completely new mechanics, a view from the back displaying two incredible pistons, and a front face revealing traditional watch architecture.

Did that provide enough reassurance for knowledgeable watch-lovers? Definitely. But the retailer was looking beyond that. “I also took the teams and their backgrounds into consideration. What I saw at HYT was people from the world of medicine, researchers, committed guys who were keen to do things properly,” continues Laurent Picciotto. “I’m confident about the way they see things. They have the right resources – and the right methods”.

As 2012 drew to a close, the first HYTs naturally found a home at Chronopassion – for a very short space of time, given that demand quickly outstripped supply. However, the last had not been seen of the brand by any means. “HYT will find its cruising speed and make its mark in the long term. It’s also a brand that’s likely to become a source of inspiration for many other independent watchmakers,” concludes Laurent Picciotto.