Swiss workshop HD3 has been making high-complication timepieces since 2004, but has taken a new cutting-edge, though risky, direction in the world of luxury watches this year. Moving from mechanical complications to a new world of their own: A digital touchscreen complication. Their previous mechanical pieces were already ultra-modern in appearance, with industrial forms and varied styles of complications, dials and materials. Their last such example is the Black Pearl, show below. It features a PVD titanium case, bi-axial tourbillon, hours shown on dual-wheels, minutes on the small dial and a power indicator in the top left.
HD3 Black Pearl Complication
HD3 “Sylde” Digital Complication
For this new concept piece, HD3 had broken the barrier between high-end mechanical watches and the digital world. I know this sounds like a bad idea on paper, but HD3 took a risk and have produced a luxury watch category to fit in the digital era. It takes the principles of a modern smartphone and combines them with the aesthetics of haute horology, resulting in the first true luxury digital watch.
The HD3 Slyde models all comes in the same clean case, with options of materials and finishes, such as PVD, titanium, gold and platinum. The curved sapphire crystal works as an tactile touch screen that adjusts its brightness to the light. This means there are no buttons, just battery indicator lights on the right side.
The watch comes with various ‘engines’ installed, which offer the features of an digital watch, but in an mechanical-inspired HD package. With your finger, you can rotate between the engines, from the hour-minutes, chronograph, timer, date, calendar, moon phase and timezone selector. This is to cover all forms of time, past, present and future in one watch. There are options to personalize the engines or add your own images. Like mobile apps, new engines will be released in the future, with other Swiss watchmakers acting as guest-designers for some. Only time-related functions will be allowed for engines, with no telephone, games or accessories to be offered. This is to keep the watch true to it’s horological roots. It comes with a rubber strap and optional alligator strap and is water resistant up to 30 meters. The HD3 Sylde has just started to appear in select retailers, between $5000-$6000 USD.
We will have to wait and see the sales figures if this piece is welcomed into the marketplace. Do you think this watch is just a fad or do you think it will start a trend of luxury digital watches?
To see the actual HD3 Slyde watch hands-on, please view the video below, courtesy of aBlogtoRead.com: