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Moon Phases

Laurie Kahle
From the Print Edition:
Stanley Tucci, September/October 2013

At once permanent and ever changing, the moon has captivated man for eons, guiding our rituals and daring us to dream. As the basis of our calendar, the moon naturally drew the interest of ancient clock and watchmakers who devised systems for tracking its waxing and waning phases throughout its 29.53-day cycle. While traditional moon phases use a painted disc that turns through a dial aperture, some watchmakers are rethinking this ancient and romantic complication for modern stargazers.

“It’s really meant to be a piece of art with the engraved moon and rich guilloché dial,” says Sebastien Chaulmontet, head of movement development at Arnold & Son (and its parent company, movement maker La Joux-Perret) about the boutique brand’s new HM Perpetual Moon. Blending decorative arts with technical mastery, the HM Perpetual Moon is one of the most alluring and accurate moon-phase watches of the year. The oversize moon-phase aperture that spans from 10 to 2 o’clock on the dial reveals a large-scale (11.2 mm) three-dimensional sculpted moon for a dramatic effect in stainless steel ($15,300) and two gold versions, ($27,845 and $28,585).

The 42 mm HM Perpetual Moon is also a technical tour de force with its mechanical hand-wound movement delivering a supremely accurate moon phase that deviates only a single day every 122 years (the push of a button recalibrates for the next 122 years). Rather than use a module, the moon-phase function is fully integrated into the movement, which is showcased through the sapphire crystal case back that also shows a second moon-phase display with a user-friendly setting device for better precision. Bulgari’s new Diagono Moonphase ($45,600 in 18K pink gold with an alligator strap), limited to 199 pieces, presents an original patented display with an arc of five different moon phases—from new to full—at 6 o’clock on the champlevé enamel dial. A pointer moves forward and back in sync with the moon’s waxing and waning, and a small arrow above the semicircle points left for waning and right for waxing cycles. Day and date are indicated with retrograde hands at 9 and 3 o’clock respectively.

For more value-minded traditionalists, Frederique Constant offers the classical 42 mm Slimline Moonphase Manufacture ($3,550 in stainless steel, $12,500 in rose gold), with an elegant design that allows you to wind and set the time, date and moon phase with a single crown. Five variations are available in different metals and dial colors, including a fashionable midnight blue. A new laser ablation technology was used to create a beautifully detailed rendering of the moon, bringing a state-of-
the-art touch to an ancient timekeeping concept.

Visit arnoldandson.com, bulgari.com and frederique-constant.com.

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