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INTRODUCING: The Hautlence Retrovision 47 (Ref. ED20-SP00)

The Hautlence Retrovision ’47 Ref. ED20-SP00 in titanium.

From concept to production, it took Hautlence less than a year to realise the Retrovision.

At the Watches and Wonders Geneva fair this year, Hautlence casually offered up a concept watch in a design that can only be described as ‘vintage tech high watchmaking’. From what we understand, it started at the brand’s annual global meetup as a fun brainstorming activity. The question was, how would each team re-imagine Hautlence’s TV format case based on a cultural product from the same era as the CRT television?

The General Television and Radio Corp. Model 5A5 “Jade Green Marbled Swirl” from 1947.
The General Television and Radio Corp. Model 5A5’ Jade Green Marbled Swirl’ from 1947.

In fact, the winning team comprised members from Hautlence’s SEA distributors, Pacific Time. Retrovision ’47 is based on a vintage radio – specifically, the Model 5A5 radio broadcast receiver that was made by General Television and Radio Corp. (GTRC), originally from New York and established later in Chicago. The design of the tabletop tube radio reflected television sets of the era – this was when mass production of televisions had just begun, and manufacturers dreamed of putting one in every home.

Hautlence’s Retrovision ’47 is placed side by side with the GTRC Model 5A5 for easy comparison.
Hautlence’s Retrovision ’47 is placed side by side with the GTRC Model 5A5 for easy comparison.

Quite the Retro Vision

The GTRC Model 5A5 had a rectangular bakelite case with rounded corners, with a display split between the analogue tuner and speaker grille. The lines and curves have an evident Art Deco influence, and the pop colour combinations echoed the late-Dada-early-Pop-Art style and fashion of the era. Hautlence chose a particularly special design from 1947, known as the ‘Jade Green Marbled Swirl’, to emulate in its watch.

The dial of the Hautlence Retrovision ’47 ED20 in brass and gold.
The dial of the Hautlence Retrovision ’47 ED20 in brass and gold.
You can just about make out the tourbillon under the titanium grilles of the Hautlence Retrovision ’47.
You can just about make out the tourbillon under the titanium grilles of the Hautlence Retrovision ’47.

It’s pretty easy to see how they’ve translated one to the other, with noticeable differences. Rather than white bakelite, Hautlence is using polished grade 5 titanium for the case, lugs/handles, grille, and watch display frame. The marbled green swirl effect is hand-painted, and the dial is in brass and 2N gold, with an embossed design of the brand’s Möbius emblem. The hour and minute hands are in bright red, matched by the calf leather strap. (We kind of wonder if Hautlence tried materials other than calf leather for the strap.)

The Hautlence Retrovision ’47 in the dark reveals plenty of SuperLumiNova below the grille design.
The Hautlence Retrovision ’47 in the dark reveals plenty of Super-LumiNova below the grille design.
A clearer view of the Calibre D20 and its tourbillon can be enjoyed through the caseback of the Hautlence Retrovision ’47.
A clearer view of the Calibre D20 and its tourbillon can be enjoyed through the caseback of the Hautlence Retrovision ’47.

The left side isn’t just for show. Hidden within the titanium grilles is a one-minute tourbillon that’s just about visible. However, you can always flip the watch over for a complete view of the Calibre D20 through the sapphire caseback. Here, Hautlence has kept the design similar to the radio, with two plates on each side and the ‘Model ED20’ in stencil-style font engraved on the sapphire crystal. The 3Hz flying tourbillon movement uses double hairsprings to further boost accuracy (technology shared from sibling brand H. Moser & Cie.) and has a 72-hour power reserve. A full-sized and partially skeletonised oscillating rotor keeps the mainspring wound efficiently.

On the wrist, the Hautlence Retrovision ’47 is just as easy to wear as its other models.
On the wrist, the Hautlence Retrovision ’47 is just as easy to wear as its other models.

There are just 10 pieces of the Model ED20 available, and they’ve probably been snapped up well before we even had a whiff of the news that the Retrovision ’47 would go into production. But it doesn’t hurt to ask your nearest retailer (Cortina Watch, Sincere Fine Watches, or their subsidiaries). This is special in more ways than one – Hautlence rarely issues limited editions in round numbers. It’s fun and a clever remake of vintage tech in a sophisticated way. What’s not to like?

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.