Earlier this year in February, independent watch brand HYT made the announcement that they had successfully completed a round of private financing in conjunction with their sister company Preciflex. According to official sources, the initial target of achieving a CHF 15 million capital increase was eventually raised to CHF 23 million when investor interest proved stronger than expected. HYT and Preciflex indicated that these resources would be used to accelerate plans for the two companies to expand into new areas of speciality.

Now, exactly two months later, HYT and Preciflex are ready to release a number of new details regarding their plans. I was privileged to speak with the incumbent chief executives of both companies, Vincent Perriard (HYT) and Grégory Dourde (Preciflex), last week for this reason.

The proprietary fluid technology used in all HYT watches, stemming from an invention by HYT co-founder Lucien Vouillamoz and produced by Preciflex, is to be further developed and refined — particularly in the areas of precision and energy efficiency. These developments will then form the basis of a class of watches that are new to both companies — entry-level models featuring electronics-driven liquid indications and connectivity with personal smart devices.

Compared to HYT’s entry price of CHF 60,000, this new watch is projected to come in at about 0.6 percent of that figure. Yes, you read that correctly — 0.6 percent, or roughly about CHF 350.

Proofs-of-concept exist, as these plans have been in the pipeline for the last 18 months, and the project is expected to hit markets in 2018 or early 2019.

The collection that we are familiar with at HYT is also likely to undergo some changes as part of the increased research and development will go towards a powerful new base movement proprietary to HYT, which will be able to support various complication modules. This is targeted for completion in 2018. Currently all of HYT’s movements are created in conjunction with external movement suppliers (either Chronode or Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi). This is expected to lower the entry price for an HYT watch — early estimates target CHF 30,000 for an HYT watch with proprietary movement.

This ambitious plan of action comes hot on the heels of HYT’s announcement after Baselworld 2016 of their 19.4-percent increase in orders at a time when Swiss watch exports are falling, and an increased presence at next year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).

Corporate restructuring also comes hand-in-hand with these changes. Vincent Perriard will step back from his position as CEO of HYT, instead taking up membership on the board of both HYT and Preciflex in order to guide the market and product growth of the former and the commercial direction of the latter. Grégory Dourde will take up the chief executive seat at HYT in addition to his responsibilities as Preciflex CEO, a position in which we expect he will perform admirably with his extensive past experience leading a key supporting facility of the world’s most influential group of watch and watch-related companies.

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