I was a little incredulous when I was first confronted with a watch based on a yacht (it was an Omega Aqua Terra with a teak dial designed to look like a hardwood deck). I wasn’t sure the connotations would speak to watch lovers, but it turns out I was wrong. I hadn’t realised how many fans of high-end watchmaking also like to drool over high-spec boats. This realisation occurred years ago; since then, I’ve seen this obsession with watches and yachts countless times, and similar associations of luxury even more often.
It follows logically that many of watchmaking’s better-heeled followers have a huge amount of surplus income available to spend on other luxury items. Houses, cars, watches, art, wine, yachts… Simply put, there aren’t so many categories of things that can deplete your wealth.
If you’ve a proven track record of lusting over micromechanical marvels, it makes perfect sense that you’d fawn over the latest engine from Mercedes, or the quality of finish displayed on the dash of this season’s Sunseeker.
HYT Take Fluid Fascination to the Limits
We’re more used to watchmaking collaborations with car manufacturers than we are to their seafaring counterparts. While luxury yacht manufacturers themselves may not be willing to break these boundaries, their crews and the organisations that host competitions between these futuristic wave riders are certainly willing to dive into the deep end.
HYT, the avant-garde Hydro-Mechanical Horologists from Neuchatel, Switzerland, have always been willing to go the extra mile to provide something tailor-made for their demanding clients. Fittingly, they were offered the chance to become the official timekeeper for the RC44 Regatta and promptly provided the global competition with a flagship piece that sent pulses racing at a rate of knots.
Sponsors Offer a new kind of Luxury
We’re used to seeing limited editions by many brands. We’re used to hearing about a small batch of watches made by established brands for specific companies. What we’re less used to seeing are watches inspired by, and presumably made for ‘private’ teams or institutions that are then slotted into a collection available for general release.
Ostensibly this piece was created for Team Alinghi – a famous yachting crew – but 25 pieces of this watch are on general release (priced at $99,000), offering a rare opportunity to own something that evokes not just a passing interest in a parallel field, but an artefact that suggests active involvement in it to boot.
Hot on the heels of the initial Team Alinghi special, an H1 version followed. Priced at $65,000 entry into Club Alinghi is not cheap, but it’s a sure fire way to feel closer to the action, and to express an appreciation of watches and yachts and sport and technology that few will ever match.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.