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INTRODUCING: HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda (Ref. H03236-A)

The HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda.

The high watchmaking timepiece gets glammed up for the summer.

If, like many of us, you found HYT’s T1 series a major departure from its typically futuristic designs, you would not be alone. It’s certainly important for the brand to translate its creativity to reach new audiences. Newly promoted CEO Vahé Vartzbed is set to lead this next phase of transformation; we’ll have to see what comes next.

The HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda in white ceramised titanium case, frame and grille.
The HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda in white ceramised titanium case, frame, and grille.

But for watch aficionados who appreciated HYT’s ultra-modern style, the brand still has plenty of ideas up its sleeves. The first summer launch for HYT is the Conical Tourbillon Panda, which offers a dressier version of this high-complication watch. Where the TRON-like original from 2022, in black with lots of luminous elements, looked almost intimidating, the Panda invites you to explore its detailed design.

A closer look at the conical tourbillon, designed by Eric Coudray and used in the HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda.
A closer look at the conical tourbillon, designed by Éric Coudray and used in the HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda.

Quick recap: the conical tourbillon is a design by Éric Coudray based on the inclined balance tourbillon produced by Walter Prendel. The only example of Prendel’s work was auctioned in 2021, which may explain the rise in interest in this tourbillon variant. Prendel’s work has a spring balance inclined at 30 degrees. Coudray further tilts the escape wheel and pallet to 15 and 23 degrees, respectively, in order to reduce system tension. Coudray’s conical tourbillon also runs a lot faster, clearing one revolution in 30 seconds, compared with Prendel’s six minutes. (Incidentally, Jaeger-LeCoultre also created its own conical tourbillon using a different technique.)

The only example of Walter Prendel’s inclined balance tourbillon in a pocket watch, auctioned off by Christie’s in 2021.
The only example of Walter Prendel’s inclined balance tourbillon in a pocket watch, auctioned off by Christie’s in 2021.

The details above aren’t important; rather, it’s the lovely ballet that the regulating organ does on the centre of the dial, accompanied by three spheres that turn at different speeds. In the Panda watch, HYT has given these 2.5mm diameter spheres an upgrade using white agate of exceptional clarity and added six small spheres in white and black that also rotate and animate. The 701-TC movement has a power reserve of at least 40 hours and can be viewed through both sides of the watch.

The white chapter ring and rotating spheres around the conical tourbillon are made of white agate.
The white chapter ring and rotating spheres around the conical tourbillon are made of white agate.

White agate is also used on the chapter ring of the dial, within which HYT’s iconic borosilicate capillary tube that marks the passing hours is positioned. The case and crown are in titanium with a white ceramic coating, and the frame of the watch and grilles are of similar material. With its monochromatic colour palette, the Conical Tourbillon Panda looks modern but in a retro-futuristic style – more 2001: A Space Odyssey than Blade Runner. The watch reminds me, for some reason, of the lunar landing modules used in the Apollo missions; in fact, the look of the watch as a whole has a Stargate vibe to it.

From the side, the HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda looks like an UFO making a landing. The conical tourbillon’s design is reminiscent of the Apollo lunar landing modules.
From the side, the HYT Conical Tourbillon Panda looks like a UFO making a landing. The conical tourbillon’s design is reminiscent of the Apollo lunar landing modules.

There are only eight pieces of the Panda available globally, retailing at CHF 355,000, excluding sales tax. It’s retailed at Sincere Fine Watches as well as SHH boutiques in Southeast Asia.

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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.