Having spent the morning in the HYT laboratory in Neuchâtel to try to understand just how incredible their technology was, and having had lunch with the team, it then got to the juncture that I had been looking forward to more than anything else: finalising the design of the watch I will be wearing on the Gumball 3000 rally.
I met with their design team, headed by Franҫois, to discuss the ideas that had been suggested on our telephone call before Christmas.
They had produced three renders of the watch following our discussion. Firstly, I loved the way that The Peaked Lapel’s logo had been incorporated into the side of the case, symmetrically either side of the HYT logo, whilst doubling as indicators for the direction of the fluid. They had provided renders with a black DLC and pale gold dials and we quickly agreed that, because of the colour scheme, the pale gold worked the best.
Next, we discussed case colour. Initially proposed on black, the designers then suggested anthracite, which was a brand-new colour for the brand, might fit better with the aesthetic. Having seen this on one of their new pieces for SIHH 2019, I completely agreed as it would create a more cohesive look to the watch.
It was so easy to talk to the team; it was clear that we had similar views on what works best when coordinating colours!
Next we moved on to the sub-dial colours. Again, given the combination of gold and grey, we quickly agreed to use the grey as the central dial with red accents. I suggested that we might play with the combinations a little to provide a bit more depth to the look of the dial and so they agreed to send me renders with some alternatives.
Then we addressed the issue of the bellows and my request that they be red, like the plenum / camshaft cover in a Ferrari to provide a ‘motorsport inspired feel’. Unfortunately, given the delicacy of the bellows (their thickness is around a quarter of that of a human hair), they could not paint them red as this would affect their mechanics. Instead, they suggested red sapphire crystal with a much more aggressive, wider aperture than on any other H0, to give that impression the wearer is gazing into an engine bay. I immediately loved the idea!
Moving on, we discussed the engraving of the destinations. This was a difficult one… HYT initially suggested that, because one reads from left to right, they should be written anti clockwise. I thought that, given the coloured fluid works clockwise, the cities should follow it! Ultimately we decided to go with my suggestion and to follow the liquid around the outside of the case.
Penultimately, we talked about the case back. Initially they had provided a suggestion of engraving a map of the rally stages into the sapphire crystal. I loved this idea but, given the destinations were already on the side of the watch, I thought we should stick to my original idea of signatures as this would make it more personal.
The only remaining topic we had to discuss was the strap. Swiftly we unanimously agreed it should be grey to match the case with a matching deployment buckle. Given it’s to be worn all day in what will probably be very warm temperatures, again we agreed on rubber for the material, providing both comfort and a sporty aesthetic…
So there we were… What an insane experience! After almost four months of waiting, the final ideas for my collaboration with HYT on my personal Gumball 3000 watch were on the table. All I had to do was wait for the renders and decide which one was THE ONE!