HYT Conical Tourbillon Black Eklipse: A Potent Hallucinating Horological Trip

Being part of the world of watches, as an enthusiast, journalist, or (experienced) collector, is sometimes like you are on drugs. Seeing something new and/or extraordinary can trigger a wide variety of different emotions that perhaps can be compared to a ‘good trip.’

This is all hypothetical as I do not have a whole lot of experience with addictive substances. Other than very moderate consumption of alcohol and caffeine, I haven’t used anything else. This is a good thing because that means I can fully indulge in the addiction called watches.

HYT Conical Tourbillon Black Eklipse

A potent drug

When measured in kicks, not all watches rank the same. This is often a combination of the watch itself and personal preferences, but sometimes a watch ranks so high in wow factor that none of that matters. You are bound to go on a horological trip, and such a watch is the HYT Conical Tourbillon.

While this watch is much, much more than just a tourbillon, it literally holds center stage and cannot be ignored. A tourbillon like this can only be the child of Eric Coudray, the Master-Tourbillon-Maker-Extraordinary, who is also behind Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Gyrotourbillon, Purnell’s Escape II, and the MB&F Thunderdome, just to name a few.

For the Conical Tourbillon, he channeled the work of Walter Prendal, who, in 1928, came up with an innovative solution to make the performance of the tourbillon more stable by using an inclined balance.

Coudray wouldn’t be Coudray if he didn’t play with the original concept and made it his own. Instead of only inclining the spring balance at 30 degrees, he also placed the pallet at 23 degrees and the escape wheel at 15 degrees, and as a whole it makes a full rotation in just 30 seconds. 



A multi-layered trip

While most watch brands would leave it at that, for HYT, this is only the beginning, as they also include their ‘liquid hour’ indication. Here a glass capillary tube is connected to two bellows, with colored liquid indicating the hours.

HYT Conical Tourbillon Black Eklipse

Once six o’clock is reached on the scale, it takes about a minute to reset itself for the next round, making it in essence a retrograde. A triangle indicator runs around the central section of the tourbillon, pointing at the minutes. 

The tourbillon and the two bellows operating the liquid hours display need quite some space. Leave it up to HYT to turn even that into an attraction. They use carbon and titanium to keep the weight down while making the Conical Tourbillon look cool. 48mm in width and 52.30mm in length sounds enormous, but as the design lacks lugs, it sits surprisingly well, even on even a modest size wrist like mine.

HYT Conical Tourbillon Black Eklipse lume

This is not a watch that slips under your sleeve. It can be done, but then you need to ask your tailor to cut it quite generously, as the height of the Conical Tourbillon is 25.15mm. Again, a number that sounds enormous, but is mainly due to the heavily domed sapphire crystal that protects the tourbillon, fluid hour indicator, and the incredible looking honeycomb structure on which the Arabic numerals are attached. 

The Conical Tourbillon is also not a watch you want to (or can) hide. In fact, I would always prefer short sleeves when wearing it, not to show off, but to be able to freely indulge in this horological drug.

Like other types of drugs, this would mean that I can’t operate any heavy machinery or drive any vehicle, but that leaves all the more time and opportunity to focus on the Conical Tourbillon.



The coolest thing is transparent

While the Conical Tourbillon has much to offer, one of its most remarkable features is transparent, although HYT brings it into the light. Around the tourbillon, three spheres rotate at different speeds. While the Conical Tourbillon might look very high-tech, it is crafted in a very traditional way.

HYT Conical Tourbillon Black Eklipse

These spheres measure only 2.5mm in diameter, yet they are made individually by a glass blower. This requires tremendous skill, as the walls are very thin and have very narrow tolerances. HYT fills them with a luminous fluid to stay true to their DNA. Again, it is a process done by hand (and mouth) and requires an incredible amount of skill and precision.

In essence, a watch like the HYT Conical Tourbillon makes no sense. It is an over-the-top celebration of high-end watchmaking, taking an incredibly complex route for something that is relatively simple. They could have made a nice three-hander, but then it wouldn’t be a HYT, and most certainly not the horological trip that the Conical Tourbillon is.

This timepiece is an example of why watchmaking is still popular when there is no need for it. While you could easily call the Conical Tourbillon fuzz for the fuzz, it is a sophisticated declaration of love for the mechanical watch’s past and future, and that’s something I love to get high on!

For more information, please visit www.hytwatches.com/models/black-eklipse

Quick Facts HYT Conical Tourbillon Black Eklipse
48 x 52.3 x 25.15mm, carbon fiber, and black DLC-coated titanium

Indications: liquid hour indicator, minutes
Movement: manual winding caliber HYT 701-TC, 40-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph/3Hz, 30-seconds inclined tourbillon, chaotic animation
Limitation: 8 pieces
Price: CHF 335,000

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