One of the most enjoyable watches I had the opportunity to handle in 2019 was the Hautlence HL Sphere 01. As mentioned, it was the HL Kinetic table clock brought to wrist size, displaying hours in a spherical ‘jumping hour’ and the minutes through a retrograde minute display. It was as fun ‘on the wrist’ as it was in photos.
The Sphere 01 had a skeletonised and rhodium-plated base dial and an intermediate dial of smoked metallic sapphire crystal, with applied diamond-polished rhodium-plated numerals.
Now, we have the new Sphere 02, also in a limited edition of twenty-eight pieces. This time the base dial remains skeletonised and rhodium-plated with engraved minute track, but the change lies with the second dial. It is now rose gold with a grained finish, atop which are the applied diamond-polished numerals with blue PVD treatment.
The hour indicator on the left remains the same – a blue PVD-treated Grade 5 titanium sphere. Comprising of two parts, it features twelve engraved numerals and rotates 450 degrees on itself courtesy of four conical gears that move around two crossed spindles (at 21 degrees) through three rotation axes to reveal the current hour. The numerals are laser engraved and filled with white lacquer.
On the right is the retrograde minute display, with a hand that travels along a minute track. The opening shows the gear train, which slows down the course of the minute hand when it returns to zero, regulating its speed so as to reduce impact forces. The differential and snail used to trigger the jumping hour can also be seen beneath the minute hand. The minute hands are satin-finished Grade 5 titanium with blue PVD treatment and white lacquer filling.
All this is powered by the manual-wind Calibre HTL 501-1 with 38 jewels, 21,600 VPH, and a power reserve of three days. The calibre is fitted with a safety mechanism that protects the movement during reverse time setting. The skeletonised balance bridge has a proprietary balance spring produced by sister company Precision Engineering.
The 18kt white gold case is the same size – 39mm x 46mm x 12mm, and is water resistant to 30m. As I mentioned last year, this is a watch for which you do ‘feel’ the size and heft, but for those accustomed to larger watches, it won’t be difficult. Not all ‘sizes’ are ‘created equally’ when it comes to watches – two cases with the same diametre can sit and feel very differently.
Coming on a blue Louisiana alligator leather strap with a titanium folding clasp, not only is the limitation number of twenty-eight pieces the same as the Sphere 01 but so to is the RRP of CHF 99,000/ EUR 97,800.
[Photo credit: Hautlence]