Imagine if the Star Wars galaxy’s “long time ago” was in fact the Steampunk age, and that the spaceships were small enough to wear on your wrist. Then you’re somewhere close to how Hautlence feels. This Swiss atelier’s watches (if you can call them watches) are highly contemporary, daringly conceptual takes on horology, where the mechanics themselves take centre-stage – architectural, modernist, yet steeped in the traditional craft of Swiss watchmaking’s cradle, Neuchâtel (“Hautlence” being an anagram of the lakeside city, if you hadn’t already realised).
Since 2004, the upstart brand has adopted a thinktank approach not only to imagining but developing and creating daring new calibres – the majority in-house, it should be said – with surprising and sometimes unprecedented ways of reading the time. The launch model, HL, still forms the core of Hautlence’s collection, with its signature jump-hour display and retrograde minutes hand driven by a huge articulated lever visible dial-side.
“Hautlence has modernity and cutting-edge design at the epicentre of its culture. When the company first revealed its HL model back in 2005, it resembled nothing-else on the market with its novel case shape perfectly suited to today’s so-called “television loving” generation.” Escapement
“The company’s avant-garde approach has added something new to the luxury market, providing a younger connoisseur group adequate access to the world of fine watchmaking with its design.” iW
“Hautlence is a brand producing incredibly complicated and unique wristwatches unlike any other. The production numbers are quite low – under 100 per year – and the following dedicated.” Hodinkee