Classicism is spreading like wildfire throughout the luxury watchmaking industry. Much was made of the return of restraint at Baselworld 2016 and this writer assumes the trend will continue in earnest when March arrives once more. We’re exiting an age of excess. Watch design is starting to catch-up with general feeling of austerity that has permeated all other fields of fashion. We want something simple; we want something serious; we want something sensible.
Except we’re not all part of the same ‘we’…
Thankfully some brands are still either churning out or working on watches conceived to excite our mechanical and mercurial appetites. Few demonstrate more proficiency in this field than Neuchatel-based Hydro Mechanical Horologists HYT.
HYT have just released the ‘Colorblock’ watches. With palettes, more befitting a Swatch collection than timepieces retailing for more than $50,000. But that’s kind of the point. This collection will rankle HYT’s detractors, which only serves to widen my smile. This is a joyful array of watches, created in the true spirit of watchmaking. The endless innovation of HYT and its sister company Preciflex is jaw dropping. The Colorblock collection adds three new references to the now vast H1 range.
And now the HYT faithful have the chance to purchase a brightly coloured luxury watch. Will it catch on? Is the marriage of primary colours and preeminent technology a happy one? That depends on personal taste, but it certainly does work. Our enjoyment of bright colours is a primitive one, rooted in the simplicity of childhood. You’d be hard pushed to find a kid whose favourite colour is grey, but walk into a bar full of 40-something men and you might well overhear an in-depth discussion not just on how much they love grey, rather how many types of grey there are.
A Colourful Perspective
Bright colours make us feel young. They make us feel happy. And that’s why there are more companies working away behind the scenes to bring their voracious supporters something new.
The use of vivid colours in luxury watchmaking is catching on, which is good news from an investment perspective. The normalisation of a trend may number its days in the sun, but it also provides the context that will ensure these pieces become collectable.
It’s an old adage in dial design that you should always find a way to get a bit of red onto the display. Nowadays companies are more will to take risks to pique our interest: Look at Dietrich’s electric green, NOMOS Glashütte’s neomatik neon orange, Hublot’s banana yellow-accented Ferrari Ceramic Carbon.
It’s cool and it’s a thing. That means it’s collectible. That means you’re not crazy to buy one. If you were looking for a justification for making a somewhat sideways investment, you’ve got it right there.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.