Horage Yi – Diamonds with a conscience

Embarking on a number of projects to highlight their independence, Horage is putting their best foot forward as the youngest movement manufacture in Switzerland. Mission Independence represents the brand’s next step in establishing their position in the rarefied world of luxury watches, with three distinct projects that place Horage squarely in the realm of a sustainable watch manufacture. As part of Mission Independence, the new Yi Diamond Watch is Horage at its most luxurious, but with as much thought given to the origin of its gem-set case, as well as its manufacture movement. 

Nature provides the luxury industry with gold, iron, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, pearls and diamonds for the maisons to produce their exceptional creations. However, mining for these materials can cause significant damage to the environment, with large pit mines pockmarking the landscape. Lab-grown diamonds represent a way to enjoy these gemstones, without the geological damage that comes with it. Horage made their discovery of lab-grown diamonds when they were searching for a company to diamond-coat their movement components, which landed them at the Nano Energy Technology Centre (NETZ in the local German parlance).

Not only was Horage able to work with NETZ in creating a hard-wearing component with a diamond coating, but they were also able to create a gem-quality diamond through Chemical Vapour Deposition. Structurally identical to diamond with its Carbon-based cubic lattice atomic layout, lab-grown diamonds were ruled as real diamonds by the FTC in 2018 – Cubic Zirconias (CZs) differ from these as they use Zirconium Dioxide in the crystalline structure of the stone, making them chemically different. 

The lab-grown diamonds used in the Yi are graded in the same way as naturally-occurring stones, with 17.48 carats of diamonds used, falling within the D-G colour grades, and IF-VVS clarity gradings. In total, 100 of these stones are used, and are invisibly set into a square 18k white gold case. Measuring in at 36mm x 35mm, the square is an unusual choice, but to highlight the baguette cut diamonds, it works for this watch.

The diamond setting also extends down to the lugs, giving the watch an air of Art Deco. 

The dial features applied Arabic numerals and white gold hands that are also set with diamonds 6 diamonds – two for the hour hand, and four for the minutes hand. It also features a nano-rainbow dial accentuated with a vertically brushed finish. The watch is delivered on an interchangeable eel leather strap – another unusual choice for the watch, but one that is rooted in the pursuit of sustainability.

Housed within the diamond and white gold case is the K1 movement, which has been mainstay of the Horage collections since its introduction in 2015. Made visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, the movement has been kept simple in its display – while the K1 movement is capable of 18 different configurations with different combinations of complications, the Yi only displays hours and minutes.

The K1 beats at 3.5 Hz, has a 65 hour power reserve, and houses a silicon escapement for a prolonged service interval and increased reliability of the movement. Its rotor is decorated with the molecular structure of diamond, along with a humpback whale, signifying Horage’s commitment to sustainability. The caseback ring is engraved with the message “With our love, we could save the world.” – fitting for a watch that is aimed at changing the way that watch enthusiasts perceive luxury.

For a watch named after the Chinese Book of Changes, the Yi is certainly a watch that encourages watch enthusiasts to rethink the way they think about luxury watches – from the origin of its gemstones, down to the components of the movement. Whilst unconventional in its presentation, the Yi does signify that Horage has its heart in the right place – to do good whilst creating watches according to their codes and the path they set for themselves as a manufacture. Horage now joins a rarefied stratosphere of brands that have truly put their money where their mouth is in the realm of sustainability by making the jump to lab-grown diamonds with the Yi, which also goes to show where the thoughts of the management team at Horage is at. It’s clear that Horage has the makings of a brand with transparency in mind, and the Yi is certainly a watch that displays this philosophy to the watch community – we hope to see more of this accountability by the brands in the not-so-distant future.

Technical Specifications:

Case: Invisible fancy baguette diamond setting on 18k White Gold

Dimensions: Diameter of 35mm x 36mm

Crown: 18K white gold

Crystal: Domed and beveled sapphire with multiple anti-reflective coatings

Case Back: Sapphire crystal with multiple anti-reflective coatings, printed with „With our love, we could save the world.“

Dial: Vertically brushed with nano-rainbow printing with applied Arabic numerals

Hands: White gold diamond inlay hour and minute hands 

Bracelet/Strap: Interchangeable eel bangle or leather strap with buckle

Movement: K1 automatic, 3.5 Hz / 25,200 VPH, silicon escapement, 65-hour power reserve, 22 Jewels, chronometer accuracy (-4/+6 seconds per day) 

Rotor: Gold rotor finished with a laser design of a diamond‘s molecular structure, oceans and the earth

Water resistance: 3ATM (30 meters)