Class is just that, and the Hautlence Destination 04 is simply packed with it. Coming in as the 4th installment to the now iconic Destination series, this model stands as possibly the most luxuriant looking. Hautlence is one of a new breed of watchmakers that has drawn inspiration from Art Deco constructs and has added to them with a design style that is all its own. Hautlence is an anagram for Neuchatel – a famous watchmaking village in Switzerland.
The Destination 04 retains the case dimensions of its predecessors, which are 37mm X 43.5mm (height and width respectively), and 13mm for the case height. The majority of the case is made from brown PVD Grade 5 titanium. The main crown, bezel, 6 screws, and lugs are made from 5N 18kt red gold. The two metals are quite close in color but work well together on this watch. Naturally, the strap chosen is brown Louisiana alligator, fitted with a classic pin buckle made from rose gold PVD titanium.
The case back also features brown Grade 5 titanium with the usual smattering of information and branding. The case back also features an aperture revealing the oscillating weight and balance wheel. The water resistance on this model is 30 meters or 3 ATM. At this rating, it is advised to not get this watch wet outside of light hand washing.
Protecting the dial is a scratch resistant sapphire crystal. This dial features exactly the same complications as in prior models like the GMT and Day/Night indicator with blue and green Super-LumiNova for quick referencing. The dial is opaline brown vertically brushed with a ‘Clous de Paris’ hobnail motif in the center. The hour markers float above the dial for an aesthetic that is unseen in any other design available on the market today. The hands used to indicate the hours and minutes are rose gold toned with a coating of lume for legibility at night.
This model is driven by the SOPROD 9351/A10-2. This self-winding movement carries an autonomy of 42 hours and beats at 28,800 VpH. Finishing the movement is a Côtes Circulaires design on the oscillating weight.
Design-wise this is a tremendous model but Hautlence runs the risk of falling into the trap of only updating the aesthetics. In my experience, regardless of how great the design leap, consumers want to see updates to the movement even if the changes feature simple things like an increase in power reserve or an additional complication. I would be very surprised (and mildly disappointed) if I saw a Destination 05 with nothing new being brought to the table except new case materials.
Do you agree with my assessment? We’d love to hear from you.
TAGS: Automatic Watches, Destination 04, Exhibition Case Back, GMT, Haute Horlogerie, Hautlence, Leather, Mechanical Watches, Men's Watches, Power Reserve, Rose Gold, Sapphire Crystal, Selfwinding Watches, Swiss Made, Titanium Watches, Water Resistant