Watches: Hysek IO 49mm Skeleton Tourbillon (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on May 20, 2014

In a building of its own just next to the turmoil of the Palace where most of the independent watchmakers were exhibiting, the Manufacture Hysek created a beautiful muted space with large glass doors to allow visitors a welcomed view of the outside (it is such a rarity at Baselworld!) and air conditioning (another rarity there!) to be as comfortable as possible while discovering the new collection.

There, far from Baselworld’s general chaos, it became clear from the start that this relaxing stage in our hectic day would first and foremost be a horological delight. Refined cases in precious metals, a plethora of tourbillons, skeletonized movements, superlative finishing and original designs: every single piece we saw ticked all the right boxes to be regarded as outstanding examples of fine watchmaking.

I will definitely discuss several models from this productive brand in the forthcoming weeks but for today, let me kick off these presentations by the timepiece that impressed me most: the IO 49m Skeleton Tourbillon.

Unlike most collections from this brand, the IO line showcases an almost classic round case with a gently bevelled and highly polished bezel that enhances the dial aperture. However, the unusual grooves on the side of the lugs and the large cylindrical and highly decorated crown bring an extremely contemporary touch. So does the extremely unconventional (for Haute Horology) and yet perfectly appropriate (what better way to highlight the movement) case size: 49 mm in diameter!

Very cleverly, the brand contrasted this imposing frame made of rose gold with the most aerial and delicate movement possible: a splendid in-house skeleton calibre. Thanks to its unique construction, the main barrel, the gear-train and the flying tourbillon all seem to float between the sapphire crystals with only three small ties at 3, 7 and 11 o’clock.

Four rose gold numerals (the 1, 5, 7 and 11, all important to the brand) jut out from the edge of the case. They overhang the black flange set with brilliant-cut black diamonds and enhance the feeling that everything here is simply suspended in air. As a nice addition, every time the crown is wound up, the flange rotates giving life to the diamonds.

If the incredible lightness and transparency created by this amazing calibre produce a design that feels too uncluttered for your taste, the brand offers a playful alternative with the IO 49mm Skeleton Tourbillon Diamond Dust. Apart from a more cluttered hours and minutes ring (which was unnecessary in my opinion), this model is aesthetically similar to the IO 49mm Skeleton Tourbillon in all aspects but one: the three transparent segments left between the three-pronged calibre are now filled with black diamond dust that floats freely with your wrist’s movements.

Although I find it truly mesmerising and utterly interactive, I can't help but feeling it is a shame to obstruct this amazing dial. This movement is not simply skeletonised: it creates transparency and the IO 49mm Skeleton Tourbillon remains the best way of showcasing it for me. Whatever your preference though, there is no denying these are High Horology at its best.

Both models are mounted on a black alligator strap with a rose gold folding buckle and will be limited to 8 pieces to make sure that such outstanding examples of high-end watchmaking also remain extremely exclusive.