The launch of the HYT Skull was for me, the first instance of the very technical brand moving into a more philosophical as opposed to rational consideration of time. This was most obviously evident in its utilization of the Skull motif on the dial, which has over history come to represent the notion of memento mori; Latin for: “remember you will die”.
Placed on objects that were used in daily life, the Skull motif became the jumping point of reflection on one’s mortality and was used to prompt people to remember the truth of vanity in earthly life and the transient nature of earthly pursuits.
In the context of the HYT Skull, however, such remembrance did not come in the form of merely having a Skull motif as the dial’s main focus. Indeed, what we find with this watch is a brilliant utilization of the brand’s unique fluid technology, coming to add a further layer of meaning through the deliberate obfuscation of precision.
The capillary tube that we find in all HYT watches draws the form of the Skull through its journey over 12 hours, and with this we perceive the time where the fluid lands. We might know the hour, but we do not know the exact minute, let alone the exact second. Why this is important is because it makes a statement that transcends the notion of the HYT Skull as a watch. Yes, it might carry the parts that make up a watch, but as an object, it resists the temptation to embody this identity fully. Instead, it tells us with its design that knowing the time might be important, but be too precise with it, and the meaning of the whole is lost.
What are we to make of the new Skull Vida then, a watch with a dial material that embodies an even deeper extension of the idea behind the HYT Skull? After all, what could come to symbolize time and death as succinctly and as beautifully as the ivory from the long extinct Woolly Mammoth?
One of the last in a line of mammoth species that died out around 4,000 years ago, the woolly mammoth’s closest living relative is the Asian Elephant, though, it was bigger and similar in size to the modern African one. Adapted to the extreme cold with its long and thick fur coat, it grew long and curved tusks that were replaced 6 times throughout an indiviual’s lifetime, and were used not only carry and manipulate objects, but for fighting and foraging as well.
As a prehistoric animal, it is one of the few that lives powerfully in our imagination today, partly due to its similarity with its modern relatives, and partly due to the fact that we have been able to study it very deeply, due to the discovery of frozen carcasses in Alaska and Siberia. Such a wealth of material has come forth from this research into the past to illuminate our modern understanding and, of course, within the permefrost of the latter, the ivory that now comes to complete the dial of the HYT Skull Vida we have today.
We get more insights on the romantic piece from Gregory Dourde, CEO of HYT.