HYT Watches Has Special Technology Built By Preciflex That’s A Game-Changer

HYT’s fluidic module is simple in concept—two immiscible (non-mixing) liquids in a capillary tube, one coloured and one not, controlled by a pair of bellows and with the boundary between the two liquids (the meniscus) as the hour marker—but its development required solutions to problems most are unaware of. In fact, it took an entire scientific R&D company to develop it. This company is known as Preciflex, and is the sister entity to HYT. Both are housed in the same manufactory in Neuchatel, Switzerland, and of the 45 or so people that work there, only about five are watchmakers. The rest largely consist of scientists and engineers, experts in fields such as electronics, micro-mechanics, optics, chemistry, and fluid mechanics. Preciflex specialises in micro-fluids, the behaviour and application of liquids at the very small scale and was trailblazer in this respect. Many of its practices, tooling and industrial processes had to be developed from scratch since it started in the early 2000s. Today, its technologies have applications in fields that are functional, such as medicine and automotive, and more aesthetic, such as jewellery and, of course, watches.

Learning about some of the technical hurdles that Preciflex had to overcome greatly heightens the appreciation of a HYT watch. As it turns out, liquids can be quite stubborn. Finding two liquids that do not mix is relatively simple; finding a dye that colours one of them and that will not migrate to the other despite temperature fluctuations is harder. Another issue is that liquid tends to stick to glass—as such, for the interior of the capillary tube needs to be coated with a repellent layer. Developing this coating, and developing the way to get that coating evenly inside the tube took Preciflex’s in-house chemists months of work.

There is still a good bit of handiwork involved with the assembly of the fluidic module, largely with specialised tools that Preciflex had to develop themselves. The level of precision required is phenomenal, and beyond the usual watchmaking. A human hair is 70 to 80 microns thick, less than one-tenth of a millimetre; the metal used in construction of the bellows is 23 microns thick and hence extremely fragile. A minute’s worth of indication in the capillary needs about 1½ microns of mechanical action—this is the extraordinary level that HYT has to work at. The capillary itself is bent into the perfect round shape using a machine of HYT’s own invention, as they could not find a pre-existing method that would achieve the required results. Each module is also vacuum-tested for waterproofness, and owing to their temperamental nature each needs to be calibrated for an accurate readout. Only after this procedure can the module be attached to a more typical mechanical movement that powers a HYT watch.

Ultimately, the mentality and appeal behind a HYT watch and a traditional watch is not so different. Both require exacting standards, great precision, and innovative problem solving. But thanks to Preciflex’s technology, HYT stands alone in the watch world with an ingenuity totally its own.


Sign up for our Newsletters

Stay up to date with our latest series