Davide Cerrato has been at the forefront of the Swiss watch industry for years. He started his career at Panerai before overseeing the launch of the original Heritage Black Bay at Tudor in 2012. He then went on to Montblanc, inheritor of the Minerva legacy of fine watchmaking dating back to 1858. There he furthered the integration of the historic Minerva into the Montblanc brand and championed a vintage aesthetic.
The 51-year-old industry veteran’s current assignment is about as different as can be. As the CEO and creative director of the recently revived HYT, Cerrato is giving new life and direction to what was once among the most exciting independent watchmakers in the world, known principally for its highly technical use of liquid to tell the time.
But as fast as HYT’s ascent was, so was its fall. Founded in 2012, it crashed during the pandemic, filing for bankruptcy in March 2021. With Cerrato, HYT has brought in a big name associated with critical successes at Tudor and Richemont.
For his first new HYT watch, the Hastroid, Cerrato found inspiration in a most otherworldly and, paradoxically timely, activity: space travel. “Space is a fantastic metaphor to say high-technology without needing too much explanation,” Cerrato says. “Because, by definition, everything that goes into space is highly technological.”
Now with private citizens going into space, sometimes with watches, Cerrato’s vision of a revived HYT, starting with the Hastroid, feels very much of the moment. “In spacecraft and space ships, you always have very organic, fluid shapes,” he says. “And that’s exactly what we have achieved here.”
Cerrato recently showed us a mood board assembled to inspire the new HYT Hastroid in its initial HYT Hastroid Green Nebula color. The Hastroid is a totally redesigned and more compact package for HYT’s famous liquid time-telling technology, and the first new watch to come from HYT since the company’s bankruptcy woes. It will be limited to just 27 pieces.
Here is a look at three images from the mood board, and Cerrato’s explanations of how they translated into HYT’s newest watch.
The watch is unmistakably an HYT Hastroid Green Nebula , a brand known for creating watches that functioned unlike any other mechanical watch thanks to a display that was easily recognizable from across a room.
The Hastroid features a redesigned case that is about 13mm thick and is made with carbon fiber and titanium for a light-on-the-wrist feel. The movement is the caliber 501-CM designed by Eric Coudray.
Cerrato found inspiration for the watch’s affichage, or display, imparting information on layers of sapphire. There’s the curved outer sapphire crystal, but there is also, below it, the sapphire dial. “The glass is cut around the large central bridge, as much as around the hands for the small seconds and the power reserve indicator.”
Though there is really nothing quite like HYT, the brand’s logical competition would seem to come from other high-end, creative, and expensive independents that aren’t afraid to find inspiration in realms far away from traditional centers of Swiss watchmaking. While Cerrato is certainly very much of the traditional watch industry, he’s viewed as a creative executive within that context.
To those who follow watches, his notable past accomplishments came when referencing watches of yesteryear. Think of the Tudor Black Bay or the Heritage Chrono. And while HYT’s design is more future-forward, Cerrato’s experience within Rolex, bookended by two stretches at Richemont, provide supply-chain, production, and quality-control bona fides that will serve him well as he seeks to build upon HYT’s highly technological time-telling platform.