Astronomical watches date back to the Chinese Song dynasty when Su Song, a Chinese horologist, astronomer, and mechanical engineer created a water-driven astronomical clock for his clock tower of Kaifeng City in China. These ethereal creations display a variety of information related to the movement of the moon and sun and can be quite astounding not only to look at but also for simplification of the complexity they seek to display. Something Ulysse Nardin's new timepiece, the Blast Moonstruck (Ref 1063-400-2A/1A) achieves.
Both technicalities and aesthetics of the Blast Moonstruck are something to admire. From a mechanical perspective, the Blast Moonstruck tracks the moon's movements, the position of the sun (as seen from the Earth) and moon globally, days of the lunar month, a world timer in all 24 timezones, a second timezone, a date indicator, and a tidal chart. In spite of all these complications, it is a fairly easy watch to read, with only two hands that keep a track of time.
The dial of the Blast Moonstruck is a series of concentric circles and ovals (axes to be precise), and sports a domed sapphire crystal globe at the centre, featuring the Earth from the North Pole with engraved landmasses. Immediately around it is a rose gold date ring, with a pointer equipped with a luminescent triangle to indicate the present date. The background of the aventurine depicts the sparkling night sky.
The Blast Moonstruck is also fitted with a moonphase complication of precision. An aperture shows the phases of the moon in real-time and associates its course with a three-dimensional representation of the sun located at 12 o’clock for the reference time zone. When a portion of the moon is visible, the aperture conserves an identical position in relation to the sun, made of the rare and precious mineral, bronzite, for 24 hours. As the Sun completes one revolution, it passes by the 24 cities printed on the outermost flange adjacent to the ring depicting the 24-hour day/night indicator. The watch also has a dual time mechanism - all the wearer has to do is change the home time using the pushers on the left side of the case; the top pusher adjusts the hours ahead and the bottom pusher moves the hour backwards.
The Ulysse Nardin's Blast Moonstruck is powered by an in-house UN-106 Manufacture caliber automatic winding movement with a 4Hz frequency and a 50-hour power reserve. The 45mm watch gets a black ceramic, black DLC titanium sapphire crystal case and an open caseback made of sapphire crystal and black DLC titanium with a rose gold oscillating weight, and a 30 metre water resistance. The watch comes in a black alligator strap with velvet, or rubber strap as options and a SYNC folding clasp with black DLC titanium and pink gold.
All images: Courtesy Ulysse Nardin