Luxury Swiss watch maker Hot lens Originally started in 2004, but has gone quiet over the last few years as the operation seems to have slowed down a lot. Owned by the same people who own it H. Moser & Cie. In Schaffhausen, Hotlens never really went away, and today, the company is re-emerging with a new look and new leadership. The brand is now run by a watchmaker (as opposed to a businessman) and I think that decision makes a lot of sense for a brand like this. I haven’t corresponded with him yet, but in the near future, in 2022, the recently appointed Mr. I look forward to interviewing Samuel Hoffman. For now, let’s take a look at one of the brand’s new limited-edition pieces: the Hotlens Linear Series 1, which features a one-of-a-kind jumping hour mechanism, as well as a flying tourbillon.
Let’s start by talking about the movement, because almost all HotLens watches have novel displays of the day and focus on those kind of unusual takes on traditional mechanical watchmaking. The Linear Series 1 features a movement that will, without a doubt, make it into future HotLens watches called the Caliber D50. The movement was designed in collaboration with Geneva-based Aghenor and combines a distinctive time display with automatic winding and a flying tourbillon-based control system. Tourbillon System H. Moser & Cie. Looks like the ones in the watches, so I don’t think Aghenor does all the moving. Instead, I believe that the specialist company is probably more involved in the time display system, built on the base that Hautlence’s industrial base can produce.
The D50 movement is an interesting system and has the advantage of not having to be too compact, making some of these more intuitive display concepts possible. The movement consists of 239 parts and operates at 3Hz with a power reserve of 72 hours. You can see part of the movement and the large automatic rotor through the sapphire crystal window on the caseback. On the front, the time is displayed by hours and minutes, while the seconds are indicated by a spinning tourbillon. The linear Series 1 dial represents the minutes in a relatively traditional manner via a circular dial, the jumping hours mechanism is where things get interesting and reveals how this model hearkens back to the original Hotlens concept from nearly two decades ago. Hours are indicated vertically by a linear jumping marker scale. A small white marker sits next to the current hour and jumps to the next full position when the hour changes. In the center of the dial you can see the blued steel arm that moves the marker, which moves up and down throughout the day.
I love the dial layout and how the minutes are indicated on a special sapphire crystal semi-circle ring with clear white minute markers. However, the absence of markers about 1/3 of the way around the ring with the tourbillon window hurts my eyes a bit. I think the same visual effect could be achieved with a transparent disc on the tourbillon window as well. Gone are the days when tourbillon mechanisms were as important and exotic as they once were, and with the watch hobbyist community interested in how much they value horological effectiveness, I think it’s a smart move to implement a hotlens full minute-marker display. Maybe it will show up in Hotlens Linear Series 2 or Series 3.
Another feature that typifies past Hautlence watches is the “TV screen-style” case shape. It is also back, but in a more modernized form that is very comfortable on the wrist. The steel case is quite wide at 50.8mm, but not too “tall” at 43mm lug-to-lug. The case itself is 11.9mm-thick and feels pretty thin on the wrist (all things considered). I appreciate the 100m water resistance and the use of a nicely shaped sapphire crystal with beveled edges on the dial. Although the case is quite wide, it still has the trendy “side bezels”, which look like a minute repeater slider on the left side of the case but are just a decorative element.
On the wrist, the heft of the Hautlence Linear Series 1 isn’t too bad if you wear it against your body, which is possible with the very high-quality integrated rubber strap (blue here). But the strap was a bit long for me and I couldn’t get it to fit securely. Hautlence probably has shorter straps for people like me with smaller wrists, so if you’re interested in this piece but are concerned about ensuring a good fit, ask the company about it.
It would be nice to see HotLens back on the scene with some updated brand character. The company always strives to be the most modern/futuristic face of H. Moser & Cie and it will be interesting to see how it develops. At the moment, I think most watches are high-end and exotic. It feels a bit like when Angelus Restarted under La Joux-Perret. I look forward to seeing where the high-end Swiss brand goes today. This special version of the Hautlence Linear Series 1 is called the reference AD50-ST00 and is a limited edition of just 28 pieces. There is a retail price $64,900 USD. Learn more on the Hautlence watches website here.