Exclusive Interview with HYT’s General Manager, Mr Vahe Vartzbed

HYT

CONTENT: Yiew Kai Jie

In the dynamic world of luxury watchmaking, HYT has a reputation for its daring and innovative approach to horology, merging traditional watch craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. As HYT celebrates its 12th anniversary in 2024, the brand is poised to mark this milestone with a revolutionary collection: the T1 Series.

With a smaller 45mm case, the T1 series stands out as a more wearable and ergonomically refined timepiece.The brand’s fludic technology, which involves the use of colored and transparent fluids to indicate the hour, requires meticulous precision. The challenge of housing both a mechanical movement and the fluidic module within such a limited space was daunting, but HYT’s team overcame it with their unparalleled expertise and innovation.

HYT’s focus on ergonomics is evident in the T1 series’ innovative design. The octagonal case structure, free of lugs, ensures that the strap falls straight down on the wrist, providing unparalleled comfort and wearability. The interchangeable strap system, which took a year to develop, allows for easy customization, further enhancing the watch’s versatility and appeal.

The T1 series represents a new chapter in HYT’s history, blending advanced fluidic technology with a refined, compact design to set a new standard for comfort, elegance, and technological excellence in the world of luxury watches.

T1 5N Gold_back

We had the opportunity to speak with Vahe Vartzbed, the General Manager of HYT, to learn more about the inspiration and challenges behind the T1 Series.

Luxe Society Asia: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what are your responsibilities at HYT?

My name is Vahe Vartzbed, i’m the general manager of HYT. I joined the company in August 2023. I was born in Geneva and also grew up here. I’m the grandson of a former watch retailer, so that’s why I also fell into the watchmaking industry. I did 15 years in sales, specializing in luxury watch brands like Roger Dubuix, Girard-Perregaux, and Greubel Forsey. And ever since then, I took up the role of HYT’s General Manager, so it was a very interesting opportunity to enlarge and help make the watchmaking company’s vision come true.

Luxe Society Asia: What was the main inspiration behind the T1 series and how does it differ from previous HYT models?

At HVT, our motto is “challenge the norms”- we like to challenge everything. And we wanted to propose something, as you mentioned, a bit different. We listened to our retailers, we listened to our collectors, and they were all expecting a smaller case size. Our timepieces from previous generations were known to be daring, outstanding, thick, heavy and large. So the challenge was to propose the most comfortable, ergonomic timepiece ever and for the first time, a timepiece that pays homage to our traditions but with a modern “closed eye” design.

Luxe Society Asia: What were the biggest challenges in integrating HYT’s fluidic technology into a more compact 45mm case?

Yes, so that’s a challenge and it’s a good question because most of the time people forget that we have to cope with very little space in the watch and integrate two movements to work as one. On one side, the upper side of the timepiece, the mechanical movement, similar to any kind of mechanical timepiece, and something that is unique is the fluidic module. So we had to fuse the two movements harmoniously inside a very limited space. That was a challenge, but our team has been able to overcome it to make it work for the T1 series.

Luxe Society Asia: How did you decide on the neo-classical color spectrum for the T1 series?

We aimed to make this collection appealing to a broader audience while embracing a more classical approach in terms of color and design. For our clients, we introduced three distinct color dials for the titanium version. Initially, we chose silver and slate grey, but then we decided to add a touch of color with a subtly beige salmon-colored dial. Each dial also features sunburst oscillator elements crafted using a secret in-house technique.

HYT

Luxe Society Asia: How does the T1 series reflect current market trends, particularly the shift towards smaller watch diameters?

Since I joined, our product development strategy has focused on enhancing and improving our timepieces. We aim to consistently offer our clients more intricate and refined watchmaking elements. This commitment led us to introduce higher levels of finishing on our movements and the intricate decoration of our dials.

In 2022, we began incorporating small complications such as moon phase, date, and month. Last year, we took a significant step by introducing the conical tourbillon, our first tourbillon in 11 years. This is a testament to our dedication to watchmaking content.

Looking forward, we are developing new movements and functions, alongside an innovative approach to displaying time. This new direction will enable us to create timepieces with reduced case sizes, possibly targeting 39 or 40 millimeters.

The T1 series marks our first step in this new chapter. We utilized our advanced technology to create a smaller case size while maintaining comfort and ergonomics. We always encourage our collectors to try it on, ensuring the strap fits perfectly and falls naturally on the wrist. This holistic development is all about creating more wearable and enjoyable timepieces.

Luxe Society Asia: How has the response been from your brand community and long-standing retailers to the T1 series so far?

The response was very positive. We displayed the first prototypes since Dubai Watch Week back in 2023 last year. And I’ve been to all of the major markets around the world to introduce and to showcase what the future of HYT watches would look like. And their feedback was also positive and it was what they expected in line with market trends- a smaller, yet comfortable timepiece. And that’s how we also expand our partnership with Sincere, not only in Singapore, but in Malaysia, Thailand, and even Taiwan. So now we are present in all SHH stores.

Luxe Society Asia: With the Olympics happening in July, are you showcasing any special watches for the Olympics?

Not for the upcoming Olympics. But I can hint that we are in discussion with some athletes or artists to make some special editions. I cannot reveal too much now, of course, but it will happen soon.

Luxe Society Asia: If you could sum up the new T1 watch series in a word, what would it be?

Comfort