HD3 is part of a new creative movement in an industry undergoing immense change and reaching new audiences, given carte blanche to influence what is going to happen tomorrow. The brand has taken the opportunity to create futuristic complications that are odes to modernity, time machines for the wrist. The maverick is crafting the art of today infused with furious doses of foresight and individualism. Together with talented designer Fabrice Goner and now joined by Hysek’s son, Jorg Hysek Jr, they have cultivated a symbiotic hotbed of creativity, where varied concepts are brought to the table and all shared in a benevolent, non-competitive and forward-thinking spirit. As designers in the world of horology, their role is to bring something new and beautiful to each creation, all while playing with the technical and mechanical constraints of the job. It’s also having a futurist vision of the product and transmitting a type of dream through the designed timepieces stamped with their own brand of exclusivity and individuality, which are essentially objects that anticipate the advances of our age. HD3 is a vehicle for expressing, unhindered, creativity that knows no bounds.
Jorg Hysek says : “This challenged many of our conventional ways of operating. We also felt, at the time, that it was difficult to bring anything really new to the industry. So I went back to one of my sketches featuring a square case with a screen that modulates according to the time and the user’s needs and wishes – a whole new approach to the Swiss watch ! Our out-of-the-box thinking let us to envisage a timepiece that would not require a “physical movement”, but would remain a Swiss watchmaking product in terms of craftsmanship and display. That is how we created the first timepiece animated by a virtual movement, which can be personalised.”
New virtual mechanisms for the Slyde are currently being developed in HD3’s Swiss workshop located in the village of Luins, at the heart of the winemaking area of the Vaud Riviera, in a winegrower’s residence surrounded by vineyards and ideally situated on the loping hills along the lake between Geneva and Lausanne. The beauty of the environment provides a rich source of creative inspiration. The innovative modules will be officially launched at Baselworld 2012. While Hysek himself will design many of the dials, renowned guest designers from the Swiss watch industry will also be called in to conceptualise modules, which will be brought to life thanks to 3D imaging.
All the technology used by the Slyde is internationally patented. There are two main inventions: one concerns the navigation, which is very specific to it, where there are neither icons to be selected nor a menu – just one level of navigation. The second creation concerns the virtual movement, the principle of which is based on a microcontroller that calculates and projects between 30 and 60 pictures a second to recompose the movement in real time, which is unique to HD3. Other challenges included the miniaturisation of the time modules and the development of the software.
The touch screen is novel too, as Hysek elaborates, “The screen of the refined, no-frills square case is a total innovation. Never before has anyone produced a domed glass coupled with a touch screen. Plus ours had to be sapphire, of course! The development of this special component took us about 18 months. Its functioning is very intuitive. It moves vertically and horizontally and recognises different gestures : a “tap” to light up the piece of animate a module, and “sliding” or “scrolling” to navigate amongst the two display axes. Finally, the “press” touch – which makes the setting screens appear – allows you to set up the time modules directly on your watch (hour, date, time zone, timer, chronograph, etc.). This revolutionary display means that, by simply sliding your fingers across the watch screen, the user can generate an unlimited variety of timepieces on the wrist.”
The Slyde incorporates avant-garde technology from the home automation and multimedia sectors. Hysek remarks : “the development process actually took less than two years, from sketch to delivery of the finished product. On one hand, we had to develop the “motor” inside the watch, its operating system and its content. Simply put, it is a Swiss timepiece with the first virtual mechanical movement ever designed and displayed in real time, thanks to a microcontroller processing 30 images per second. Some of our suppliers, who also supply the biggest players in the telecommunications industry, accepted to supply small quantities of components (with regards to the orders they normally receive) because they loved the project! A touch screen domed sapphire glass was also developed for the first time ever! After this came the virtual modules, elaborated in 3D, and finally the software enabling home automation and personalisation. The final result is a piece that will evolve constantly thanks to interventions by designers and users, so the process will never actually end!” Hysek has also managed to merge Swiss craftsmanship and advanced technologies, while presenting classical complications in a modern way. He discloses: “When one buys a luxury timepiece, it is not so much a question of functionality but of emotion. I have always kept that in mind. The SLyde is definitely a new-generation Swiss watch, but made with the same care as the complicated mechanical timepieces HD3 is used to designing, in terms of high-end materials and finish. Over and above that, even using new technologies, it was essential that we maintained high-end watchmaking standards. This being said, I also consider it to be a “non-identified” time object. The Slyde combines the measurement of time with a highly personal conception of this reality. I think we have found the way to total freedom of creativity.”
There are no physical buttons of any kind on the watch, just four battery power reserve indicator blue LED lights and a light sensor on the side of the case, with all functions controlled via taps or slides on the touch screen. The timepiece comes with black straps in printed alligator leather or rubber, which are neither wild nor too basic looking.
Moving from mechanical to electronic watchmaking – does this represent the way of the future for HD3 ? Hysek replies : “HD3 has always stood out from the traditional watchmaking crowd by creating modern timepieces that combine modern aesthetics and mechanical complexity. We are designers and our freedom of creativity has always been a hallmark of our difference. The new alternative we have created now with the Slyde is completely in line with this philosophy, but it is a big step forward! Our quest for a future in motion continues, but nothing has been put to rest, not even the mechanics, because you never know what might happen.”
What’s fascinating and unique about the dials is that HD3 can offer things that the usual mechanical watches don’t allow. Anything and everything is possible in the virtual world, which is only limited by one’s imagination. This revolutionary display enables the owner to generate an infinite variety of customised dials for private events, personal fancies, special occasions or just about any purpose. Users have total creative freedom and can customise their watches in the way they wish, as often as they wish, without needing to ask HD3.
The Slyde “enables an infinite variety of virtual mechanical movements without being subject to the constraints of real-life production. In fact, it is one of the craziest watch projects of the decade. For Fabrice and I, both designers, being good means being forerunners, and keeping one step ahead of the game. That is what we are trying to do. The result features a blend of leading-edge technology and watchmaking artistry thereby spanning a massive divide in a manner that has never previously been attempted in this luxury industry!” exclaims Hysek. By inventing the Slyde, HD3 has effectively become the first luxury horological brand to bridge high-end Swiss watchmaking and intuitive advanced technologies.
The Slyde isn’t a gadget giving the time. It is a groundbreaking concept never before seen combining an haute horlogerie watch with the world’s first virtual mechanical movement. Hysek says, “The HD3 concept appeals both to devotees of fine watchmaking and to fans of cutting-edge technologies. We have retained the essence of what makes a watch tick: The ability to transmit emotion!”
While HD3 had quietly developed the Slyde for almost two years before telling anyone, since its presentation in Geneva in January 2011, the watch has received a very warm welcome, and the first pieces were delivered in October 2011.
- CLT electronic movement.
- Vertical – 38.54mm. Horizontal – 35.09mm. Thickness – 7.32mm.
- 3.8V lithium polymer, capacity of 250 mAh.
- TFT 232×240 pixel, 28 x 29mm active zone.
- Touch sensor
- Titanium full black PVD.
- Width – 47.71mm. Length – 57.84mm. Thickness – 17.53mm.
- Domed sapphire touchscreen.
- Blue LEDs
- Battery power-reserve indicator.
- Shotpeened, polished.
- USB socket connector (for charging the battery or communicating with PCs or MACs).
- WATER RESIST:
- 30 metres.
- Supplied with one black rubber strap.
Optional alligator-patterned black leather strap.
- Exclusive HD3 pushpiece-operated folding clasp.
- Travel box
- Black polyurethane with watch compartment and charger.
- USB cable charger
- For PC or MAC connexion plus main adapter. For transfering data and charging the battery.