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Timed to coincide with the start of the lunar New Year on February 1, Ulysse Nardin has launched a new black ceramic ‘Blast’ version of its Moonstruck astronomical complication.

The Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck

This newest Moonstruck is a direct descendant of the Tellurium moonphase complication watchmaker and engineer Ludwig Oechslin created for Ulysse Nardin in 1992 as part of a trilogy of astronomical watches. And like that watch and subsequent Moonstruck models, the new, very contemporary Blast Moonstruck is meant to depict the rotation of the sun and moon as well as related astronomical events and measurements such tidal times, world time and of course local time and date.

The new Moonstruck maintains the collection’s centrally located depiction of the Earth as seen from North Pole. But for this Blast version, Ulysse Nardin has micro-engraved the continents and set them inside a sapphire crystal box encircled by a rose gold ring. That ring is engraved with the thirty-one days of the month to indicate the days.

A hyper-accurate moonphase indicator, using a realistic depiction of the Moon, shows the Moon’s position in relation to the sun, which Ulysse Nardin artisans have created from bronzite, a mineral rarely used in watchmaking. Even more impressive, the Moon display changes to appear a little brighter or dimmer in line with the lunar calendar.

Pushers on the left-hand side of the case allow the user to adjust the main time display forward or back to adjust to another time zone.

Worldtime is indicated via city names placed around the dial, as is often seen in traditional world time watches. While the hands can indicate the local time, they can also be set to any other time zone or to any one of the twenty-four time zones that corresponding to the city noted on the fixed flange.

Not surprisingly, Ulysse Nardin allows the wearer a particular ease at changing time zones. For years, the watchmaker has utilized a mechanism for changing the hour hand on its dual-time watches via two-pushers, here located on the left side of the case.

Ulysse Nardin’s own dial-making division has created a night-sky for the Blast Moonstruck on a disk made of aventurine.

Ulysse Nardin explains that the watch’s myriad settings can be set and adjusted using the crown.

“Manufacture caliber UN-106 subsequently manages all the displays on its own as long as the watch is worn, “ according to the watchmaker. “And when it isn’t, it just needs to be put back in the box supplied, which contains an automatic winder designed to take care of the winding and keep its calendar information accurate.”

The Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck is a multi-level 45mm watch in black ceramic and black DLC-treated titanium. It can be worn on a black alligator, black velvet or black rubber strap. Price: $73,900 (limited production).

Specifications: Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck

(Reference 1063-400-2A/3A)

Movement: Automatic UN-106 Manufacture caliber, 335 components, 28,800 vph. Power reserve of 50 hours.

Functions and displays: Hours, minutes, date, moon phase indication, days of lunar month, tidal coefficients, worldtimer, dual time, positions of the sun and moon around the globe.

Case: 45mm black ceramic, black DLC titanium, sapphire crystal on front and back, rose gold oscillating weight, 30 meters of water resistance.

Strap: Black alligator, velvet, or rubber with folding clasp, black DLC titanium and pink gold clasp.

Price: $73,900 (limited production)

At the end of every issue of International Watch, we present a one-page item about a watch with a particularly handsome rear view. It’s a popular feature we’ve published for many years­– in print only and within our online full-on digital editions. 

If you’re not subscriber to our quarterly print publication, perhaps you haven’t seen this feature. If you haven’t, below we remedy that sad state of affairs with just a few of our more recent BackStory items.

Enjoy the view.

 

BackStory: Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance

Even from the back of this unusual 59mm x 43.4mm oval titanium case, Armin Strom’s Masterpiece Dual Time Resonance looks like no other wristwatch. While on the front you’d see a dual-time display, a 24-hour dial and two oscillators, from the back the view underscores that four barrels power these movements. As they delightfully unwind simultaneously, they become synchronized.

As a result of this resonance, a physical phenomenon, the watch creates a highly stable timekeeping rate that heightens overall precision. Resonance, a technically difficult (and hard to regulate) technique used by only a few other watchmakers, also means the watch is more efficient and is less prone to shock-inflicted error.

Indeed, Armin Strom say that its own laboratory testing has revealed gains in precision of 15-20% for two COSC chronometer-level regulated movements placed in resonance.

Armin Strom says that its Resonant Clutch Spring (which was initially developed for an earlier watch called the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance) can take up to ten minutes to synchronize the two systems. To further back its claims regarding the technology, the CSEM (Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique) has officially certified Armin Strom’s resonance system based on the clutch spring as being a true system in resonance.

As is evident in this back view, Armin Strom has underscored its technical proficiency with and equally impressive high level of finish on the Caliber 17 ARF bridges and plates.

The back of the Armin Strom ARF17 caliber.


The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance, pictured here with a titanium case, is also available with a rose gold and white gold case.  Armin Strom has also introduced the watch cased in a clear sapphire case.

The Essentials

Movement: Armin Strom manufacture calibre ARF17 with manual-winding, frequency of 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph), patented resonance clutch spring, dual off-center time indications, 4 mainspring barrels, two independent regulation systems connected by a resonance clutch spring 419 total components, power reserves: 110 hours for each movement, 

Case: 59mm x 43.4mm x 15.9mm grade 5 titanium, sapphire crystal and case back with antireflective treatment, water resistance of 50 meters
Price: $169,000 (titanium case) to $268,000 (sapphire case)

 

BackStory: Greubel Forsey QP à Équation

Not long ago, Greubel Forsey debuted a red gold version of its QP à Équation, an exquisite ultra-complicated timepiece with complete perpetual calendar, tourbillon and equation of time function.

The watch, which was awarded the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award for the best Calendar in 2017, utilizes a type of ‘mechanical computer’ to manage all the changes in the displays.

This ‘computer,’ which is Greubel Forsey’s seventh ‘invention,’ is an entirely integrated twenty-five-part component composed of a stack of cams with movable fingers that shift the indications on the dial and caseback. The month’s cam changes the month (seen on the front of the dial).

The back of the Greubel Forsey QP à Équation

But at the same time, different cams within that stack moves the Equation of Time disc, the year indicator and the seasons indication disc on the back, which is the focus of this issue’s Backstory page.

With it color-coded indicators, the Equation of Time display is the most visible of the back displays. . Essentially, the Equation of Time is the conversion factor between solar and mean time. This still rarely made complication seeks to distinguish the difference between solar time and mean time, which can vary from a few seconds to as much as sixteen minutes during the year

Greubel Forsey’s QP à Équation makes these calculations internally. The watchmaker-led construction team created an easy-to-read, color-coded display of the results on the caseback. The red portion shows when the sun is ahead of the solar mean time while the blue means the sun is behind solar mean time.

On the number scale, you see how many minutes the time is behind or ahead. The other colors show the seasons, the months are indicated using letters and two semi-circles show the equinoxes. An also-rare four-digit indicator displays the year.

And finally, if you’re wondering how all these calculations are made, feel free to watch the ‘mechanical computer’ itself, which is visible directly below a sapphire disc.

The Essentials 

Case: 43.5mm by 16mm 5N ‘Rose’ Gold

Movement: 36.4 mm by 9.6mm, 624 parts total w/86 tourbillon cage parts, flat black-polished steel tourbillon bridges, 75 olive-domed jewels in gold chatons, two coaxial series-coupled fast-rotating barrels (1 turn in 3.2 hours), 21’600 vibrations/hour, with a power reserve of 72 hours, Phillips terminal curve, Geneva-style stud, nickel silver main plates, frosted and spotted with polished beveling and countersinks, straight-grained flanks, nickel-palladium treatment, 4 engraved gold plates, 
one with the individual number, synthetic sapphire mechanical computer bridge.

Price: $695,000.

 

The new Ball Watch Company Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps is actually a series of steel-cased 40mm or 43mm three-hand watches or GMT steel watches, also made in two sizes (40mm or 44mm). And while all the watches are designed to fit within Ball’s Engineer collection, this new iteration salutes the 245th Anniversary of the U.S. Marines with the Marine Corps emblem on the dial of each model.

The Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT.

Every watch of course features Ball’s well-known always-lit micro gas tubes on the markers and hands for high legibility in darkness. Within the tubes, molecules of H3 gas emit luminous energy for at least twenty-five years without ever needing any input from an external source of light or energy.

Ball 36 micro-gas tubes light up the dial of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT, available in 40mm or 44mm sizes.

The GMT Model, which also features a power reserve indictor on the dial, displays its dual time subdial at 12 o’clock and its 42-hour power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters thanks to its screw-down crown and is anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m. As an online exclusive, the Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT is limited to 1,000 pieces, each priced at $1,549.

The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, with steel TiC-coated black case.
The solid, engraved caseback of the Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps boasts about its strong anti-magnetic properties.
The Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, showing steel case and bracelet.

With all- black titanium carbide-coated 43mm cases and black rubber straps ($1,699, or $1,499 for the 40mm model w/steel bracelets), the three-hand models are more contemporary in style. Ball’s own Mu-metal shielding protects the automatic movement from magnetic fields up to 80,000A/m. This Ball Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps watch is also water resistant up to 100 meters, thanks to its screw-down crown.

 

Specifications: Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 40mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition of 1,000: Price: $1,499, or $1,279 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps, Black case
Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1103
15 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
Dimensions: 43mm
Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel or stainless steel with TiC coating case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap
Limited edition: Price: $1,649 or $1,399 with pre-order discount.
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available

Ball Watch Engineer II U.S. Marine Corps Power Reserve GMT

Automatic ETA-based Ball caliber RR1302
36 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
Dual Time display
42 hours power reserve indicator
Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and date
Dimensions: 40mm or 44 mm
Anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m
Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
Stainless steel case
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Sapphire crystal transparent case back
Screw-down crown
Black dial, stainless steel bracelet
Limited edition: Price: $1,549
Additional NATO, rubber and leather straps available