One could be forgiven for supposing it’s just another haute horlogerie watch; that’s generally the prevailing mindset at Baselworld, where brands attempt to match each other in creativity. But Hysek’s IO Squelette Tourbillon really is different: it’s the genuine product of a manufacture.
Hysek was not always a manufacture. Whereas many firms create a fake centuries-old backstory for themselves, Hysek has always sought to be completely transparent about its unique history. It was in 2007 that the brand truly began to become an integrated manufacture. Since then, it has been producing its own calibers and complications independently. Crowns, cases and hands are also made in-house, at Lussy sur Morges.
This process makes Hysek one of the last remaining fully-independent Swiss manufactures. And the IO Squelette Tourbillon is no accident in that respect; it is most probably the watch that best embodies this state of affairs thanks to which Hysek is able to design and produce all its parts with complete freedom in terms of decision-making and management strategy.
A truly in-house caliber
Pride of place goes to the manufacture’s caliber. In this respect, again it is not rare for movements that are merely designed in-house to be referred to in this way, even if they are actually produced by others whereas the HW14 caliber really is conceived, designed, developed, assembled and fine-tuned in-house, as are almost all of its 164 parts.
Experienced connoisseurs will have no problem in recognizing this particularity: for instance, the HW14 cogwheels feature a very special profile to be found only at Hysek, with sculpted arms that bring to mind graceful insects’ legs. Similarly, the tracery on the tourbillon wheel was designed and manufactured in-house, and can be found nowhere else.
These highly distinctive feats are the shared result of Hysek’s in-house design office and the knowhow in cutting and rolling acquired by the manufacture over the past year.
“While some may inevitably see these wheel profiles as an insignificant detail, for others, they embody the genuine identity of a creative, independent manufacture.”
The IO Squelette Tourbillon has also gone down the road of the skeleton watch. Right from the outset, Hysek has opted to promote its capabilities as a manufacture with constructions that are daring, risky even. The IO Squelette Tourbillon offers two examples of this.
The first is the skeletonized nature of the watch. The unfinished plate, not fashioned in this approach, weighs 75 grammes. After the skeletonization process, it weighs just 6 grammes – 92% less.
Hysek’s invisible accomplishment
The second, even more compelling example is the crown wheel. It connects to the crown at 3 o’clock, measures 39 mm in diameter and is concealed beneath the bezel. The result is a part with an extremely large diameter that is nevertheless extraordinarily slim and narrow.
In technical terms, this is one of the most breath-taking components of the IO Squelette Tourbillon: a part that is extremely difficult to machine without warping, finished at just 3/10ths of a millimetre. The component is both very thin and very wide – and also needs to be extremely strong, being a critical functional element of the IO’s winding mechanism.
At the apogee of fine watchmaking standards
Alongside these specific developments by the Hysek manufacture, the IO Squelette Tourbillon meets all the standards of fine watchmaking effortlessly: pearled, angled, openwork bridges, added horns (the most difficult type to make), alternating satin and mirror finishes, and more besides.
For some details, the IO Squelette Tourbillon features the firm’s own, unique decorations. This is the case for its metal-coated back, lighting up the base of the watch with a unique motif. Drawing inspiration from the traditional Swiss sunray decoration, it has been used here to highlight the transparent nature of the piece whilst concealing the contact with the wrist.
The IO Squelette Tourbillon, limited to two editions of 88 pieces each, has now arrived in Hysek stores.