Hautlence Stages a Comeback with the New Vagabonde Series 4
This is the The Hautlence Vagabonde Series 4 by Hautlence, the innovative Swiss watch brand known for its unusual and eye-catching time displays, sticks with the brand’s roots of telling time differently through a creative wandering hours complication.
Table of Contents
An Introduction to Hautlence
Founded in 2004, Hautlence made a name for itself early on by breaking watchmaking conventions and relying on innovative constructions and retrograde displays to capture the imagination of watch collectors.
Some of Hautlence’s most interesting watches include:
- HL Ti – Featuring a jumping hours and retrograde minutes display spread over two separate axes
- HL2 – With a micro-industrial chain trailing hours display
- HLRQ – Equipped with a jumping hours display on a rotating sphere
The Origins of Wandering Hours
The wandering hours complication, also sometimes called the satellite hours, has its origins in the 1600s. It was first developed by Italian clockmakers, the Campani brothers, for a silent clock commissioned by the Pope.
The key features of a wandering hours display are:
- A single numeral indicating the current hour, which “wanders” along a path
- As the hour changes, the numeral “jumps” to the next position
- The wandering hour is often paired with a minutes subdial
This type of display relies on a satellite gear system hidden beneath the dial to function.
While the wandering hours concept dates back centuries, it remains a novel and intriguing way to show the time in modern wristwatches. Hautlence itself first incorporated a wandering hours display in its 2018 HL Vagabondage 01 model.
Other high end watch brands like Audemars Piguet, Arnold & Son, Parmigiani Fleurier, and Harry Winston have also produced contemporary watches featuring satellite hours over the years.
Introducing the Hautlence Vagabonde Series 4
As its name indicates, the Vagabonde Series 4 is the fourth generation of Hautlence watches equipped with a wandering hours complication.
- 43mm x 50.8mm stainless steel case
- Bevelled sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- Innovative new calibre B30 movement developed jointly with H.Moser & Cie
- Frosted silver-hued dial
- Rotating sapphire crystal disc displaying minutes
- Jumping satellite hours visible through 3 cutouts
- Blue stripes marking the hours satellites
- Arrow-shaped minutes pointer
- Contrasting blue rubber strap
- Limited edition of 28 pieces
- Retail price – CHF 30,000 (~$32,000 USD)
On the outside, the Series 4 case retains the now-recognizable Hautlence “TV screen” shape. It combines satin brushed and highly polished finishing beautifully.
The watch sits comfortably on the wrist thanks to its integration bracelet-style rubber strap and manageable dimensions.
Calibre B30 Movement
Inside the Vagabonde Series 4 beats the new B30 movement, designed and produced jointly by Hautlence and H. Moser & Cie. It is based on Moser’s existing HMC 200 movement with several modifications and improvements.
This self-winding calibre consists of 197 components and 34 jewels. Notable features include:
- Oversized central winding rotor with Hautlence infinity logo
- Enhanced finish on movement plates and bridges
- 72 hour power reserve
- Modernized wandering hours satellite module
- High tech star wheel system driving the hours satellites
The exhibition caseback provides a window onto the beautiful finissage of Calibre B30 including Geneva Stripes, blued screws, and beveled edges across all bridges. This level of finish was previously unseen on Hautlence movements.
A Sophisticated and Sporty Look
From the frosted dial to the polished steel case, everything about the look of the Vagabonde Series 4 straddles the line between refined and athletic.
The dynamic wandering hours display constantly in motion adds even more visual intrigue. It remains highly legible despite the unconventional indications thanks to key elements like:
- Clear differentiation between hour numerals and minutes track
- Bold arrow pointer highlighting the current minute
- Sparse dial devoid of extraneous markings
When reading the time, your eye naturally follows the “jumping” hour as it progresses along its path.
The transparent sapphire disc providing a glimpse at the wandering hour satellites every 60 minutes injects a subtle high-tech accent.
Depending on the lighting conditions, the dial radiates a range of muted metallic tones from silver to gray to bronze. This further adds to the upscale yet relaxed appearance.
Strapping the Vagabonde Series 4 on your wrist has the dual effect of making a fashionable statement while also sparking interesting watch conversations.
What Does the Future Hold for Hautlence?
Hautlence’s CEO Samuel Hoffman promises the Series 4 and the recently launched Linear Series 1 only hint at the innovations soon to come saying:
“Both watches reconnect the brand with its tradition of telling time differently while also providing a glimpse of the future evolution of Hautlence.”
If early reactions are any indication, the future looks bright for this disruptive watchmaker. The Vagabonde Series 4’s elite blend of cutting-edge mechanics, fashionable styling cues, and limited availability are already garnering substantial interest.
For the 28 lucky owners, it represents a chance to own an unconventional timepiece from an independent brand again pushing boundaries and forging new paths in watch design.
While only time will tell exactly what Hautlence has up its sleeve next, one thing seems certain – more surprises that challenge watchmaking’s status quo lie ahead.