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Editorial - The Sky On Your Wrist

Editorial The Sky On Your Wrist

It’s the best time of the year for amateurs of astronomical horology

Winter is definitively upon us, here in Geneva. Whilst being pelted with bits of frozen water is not exactly my idea of a good time, there are a few advantages conferred by the lower temperatures. Lower temperatures mean lower humidity, leading to clearer skies. On a dry winter’s night, the firmament becomes a treasure house with all its celestial jewels on display. If you have the right watch on, stargazing can become one of those pastimes that unites a love of the natural sciences with a passion for the mechanical arts.

When is a star map not a star map? When it becomes the key to a special moment in your life, as represented by the Trilobe Secret watches. The idea behind these watches, whether in the Les Matinaux or Nuit Fantastique collections, is to customise the watch dial with a star map corresponding to a moment of your choice. Of course, this special moment could be at any time throughout the year, but a cold clear night will allow you the finest appreciation of the concord between what’s above your head and what’s on your wrist.

Le ciel à votre poignet

Nuit Fantastique Secret © Trilobe

What about something a little more visually stimulating than a static dial decoration? Moonphase display it is! While you have plenty of choice when it comes to moonphase watches, there’s nothing that comes close to the aesthetic spectacle of a three-dimensional moonphase display. De Bethune recently launched the DB25QP, a model intended to replace all other perpetual calendar references in their collection, and their 3D spherical moon takes up a key position on the dial. You might even combine the spherical moon with a customisable star map, if you choose to go with the DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky.

The Sky On Your Wrist

DB25QP © De Bethune

High-complication astronomical watches are a favourite with traditional haute horlogerie brands, with one of the most celebrated pieces of this genre being the Patek Phillipe Grand Complication Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 6002. If you own this watch, however, this article doesn’t really apply to you, as you’re probably in the kind of income bracket that means you don’t have to wait for winter to come to you — you go to winter, a simple matter of getting in your private jet.

The Sky On Your Wrist

Grande Complication Sky Moon Tourbillon réf. 6002 © Patek Philippe

The astronomical watches of Ulysse Nardin are some of the most revered (and difficult to grasp) of all time, which is why you regularly see them appearing at auction. Not everyone knows what to do with watches such as the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei; it’s not a watch for the insecure collector. If you own any of the pieces from Ulysse Nardin’s Trilogy of Time, or perhaps their Moonstruck timepiece, you’re either confident enough to feel comfortable wearing a watch that’s smarter than you, or you are an actual genius.

The Sky On Your Wrist

Astrolabium Galileo Galilei © Ulysse Nardin

Jaeger-LeCoultre makes a number of astronomical timepieces, with various esoteric indications (such as sidereal time and the equation of time) appearing in their creations. The undisputed highlight of Watches And Wonders 2021 was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Quadriptyque, uniting the indications of the synodic cycle, draconic cycle and the anomalistic cycle for the first time in a wristwatch. The weather may be sub-zero, but the passion and creativity imbued in this watch is definitely white-hot.

The Sky On Your Wrist

Reverso Hybris Mechanica Quadriptyque © Jaeger-LeCoultre

For those who wish to gaze a little further out into our solar system, the Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium (created with master watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw) features miniaturised planets revolving around a golden sun on an aventurine dial. This winter, it’s time to grab your watch and your telescope, wrap up as warmly as you can, and go on a horologically-assisted extraterrestrial adventure.

The Sky On Your Wrist

Midnight Planétarium © Van Cleef & Arpels

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

6 December 2021
Olivier Olivier
On pourrait ajouter l astroluna de vicenterra...

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