One of the most whimsical timepieces we saw at Watches and Wonders this year was the Hautlence Retrovision ’47. Presented as a pièce unique for the fair, this watch is far from your regular timepiece. The design takes direct inspiration from a late-1940s radio built by General Television & Radio Corp. from Chicago. It certainly brought a smile to the face of anyone who had a chance to check it out. Now Hautlence is introducing this remarkable watch as a limited edition of just 10 pieces. Seeing the watch again is a great reminder of its design’s brilliance combined with a stunning flying tourbillon movement. It’s time to remind ourselves that serious watchmaking can also be a lot of fun.

Let’s be honest here; one glance is more than enough to decide whether this Hautlence Retrovision ’47 is for you or not. My question is: how could it not be? It’s hard not to crack a smile once you see this radio for the wrist. As a big fan of anything related to audio equipment, I love the Retrovision ’47. As some of you know, along with watches, I have a great passion for music. With a father who always meticulously picked his hi-fi sets over the decades and a brother who used to be a proper audiophile, I grew up in a world where radios, record players, amplifiers, and tape decks were part of daily life. It’s easy to understand why the Retrovision ’47 immediately piqued my interest, then. It combines two of my passions in fun and exciting ways.

The story of the Hautlence Retrovision ’47

Following our coverage of Watches and Wonders, Thor wrote an article on the “ones that got away.” In it, he shared five gems you might have missed because it is hard to keep up with all the different watches that come out during the show. One of them was the Hautlence Retrovision ’47. As Thor explained, presented as a one-off unique piece, the watch quickly had people talking. In reaction to that, Hautlence decided to create a very limited run of 10 units that are for sale now.

Hautlence Retrovision '47

While Hautlence is known for having quite a few models with TV-shaped cases, calling this a “TV-shaped case” wouldn’t be accurate. Since the design takes after the General Television & Radio Corp.’s 5A5 AM radio, it should not be confused with a TV. Straightaway, I saw it as a timepiece modeled after a radio, and I love that.

In essence, Hautlence was inspired to create a watch that would answer the question of what the brand’s timepieces would’ve looked like in the 1940s. Channeling the 5A5 radio is a fun way of bringing that idea to life as it brings a lot of charm and steps away from Hautlence’s usually futuristic designs.

Hautlence Retrovision '47 and radio

Getting into the details of the Retrovision ’47

Hautlence has done an outstanding job of translating the classic radio design into an actual watch. It features a hand-painted Grade 5 titanium case that measures 44.4mm wide, 39.2mm long, and 12.1mm thick. Once the case has its layer of paint, it resembles the green Bakelite exterior of the vintage radio. Certainly, most watch enthusiasts will know Bakelite as the material that was used for bezel inserts in the 1950s. As the pictures show, the watches even feature the beautiful marbling that the radio has.

In the next step, the brand copied the layout of the front of the radio. The right window features a gold-plated brass dial with an embossed Hautlence Möbius pattern in the middle. The outer rectangle offers a 60-minute scale, and you will find small cutouts for hour markers next to the numerals. The Hautlence designers even used the style of the frequency indicator for the two hands.

Additionally, the titanium grille on the left side mimics the radio speaker. On the watch, though, it does not serve as a speaker but, rather, as a see-through structure you can peek through to see the one-minute flying tourbillon in action.

Hautlence Retrovision '47

Using the original details as watch parts

I love the fact that Hautlence turned the shape of the radio’s handle into the lugs that hold the red leather strap. The lug on the lower side protects the crown, which is engraved with the Hautlence logo. Overall, the Retrovision ’47 has a fairly clean design that borrows a ton of charm from the original radio. But if you zoom in, you will see that the watch is made with superb attention to detail. Two great examples are the engraved pattern and glossy black numerals that give the dial its character.

If you turn the watch around, you will see the in-house-created D20 caliber behind the display case back, which also takes after the design of the radio. On the sapphire crystal are several laser engravings referring to the details of the watch and the movement in the style of the radio. The automatic flying tourbillon caliber comprises 176 parts, operates at 21,600vph, and has a 72-hour power reserve.

Despite the abundance of info on the back, the magic of the watch is clearly to be found on the front. One of the details that I didn’t mention yet is that the numerals on the dial and the tourbillon rings are treated with Super-LumiNova. While reading the time in complete darkness will be challenging due to a lack of lume on the hands, at least the luminous numerals and “speaker” add to the whimsy.

Hautlence Retrovision '47 on wrist

Final thoughts on the Hautlence Retrovision ’47

I love seeing this Hautlence Retrovision ’47 come to life as a limited edition for the brand’s 20th anniversary. Although all 10 units have probably sold out by now, on the off chance they haven’t, I am certain they will soon, even with a price of CHF 60,000 each. The Retrovision ’47 certainly packs a ton of retro charm, and the design is a winner that evokes many positive emotions in fans.

Hautlence Retrovision '47

If anything, the reactions to the watch during Watches and Wonders were a good indication of that. Combined with the impressive movement, the Retrovision ’47 is a definite standout for the first half of 2024, and I’m sure 10 people will be extremely happy with it.

For more information, visit the official Hautlence website. And, as usual, let us your thoughts on this unique-looking timepiece in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Retrovision '47
2N-gold-plated brass with vertical satin finish, minute numerals in black Super-LumiNova, and embossed pattern of the Hautlence Möbius emblem in the center. Speaker: radio waves in gray Super-LumiNova on a black background
Case Material
Grade 5 titanium with green hand-painted top layer
Case Dimensions
44.4mm (diameter) × 39.2mm (length) × 12.1mm (thickness)
Case Back
Grade 5 titanium and sapphire crystal
Hautlence D20: automatic winding, 21,600vph frequency, 72-hour power reserve, 39 jewels, double-hairspring flying tourbillon
Red leather
Time (hours, minutes)
CHF 60,000
Special Note(s)
Limited edition of 10 pieces