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Take a Peek at Celestial Objects from Astronomical Watch

An astronomical watch captures the surrounding celestial scenery.
Jan 26, 2022

In ancient times, humans could only gaze upon the objects of the day and night sky. The mystical phenomena even aroused our predecessor's curiosity to observe, predict, investigate and worship certain surreal happenings. With advanced technology and science, now we can put celestial objects near our surroundings. The observable universe is presently within our grasp, within an astronomical watch.

Astronomy is the study of everything beyond the Earth: the sun, planetary systems, stars, comets, moons, and more. The combination of horology and astronomy is the main point of astronomical watches. These kinds of watches are exquisitely made to represent the happenings beyond the Earth in the form of miniatures. Now, we can own an astronomical watch that shows a regular moon phase calendar up to elaborate planetary systems.

Astronomical watches are one of the most complex watch complications. As it combines the mechanism of time telling and the science of astronomy, it needs intense detail and works to make both functions work precisely. No wonder, it sits at the front liner of the most sought-after watches among zealous watch collectors.

Talking to the moon

For an astronomical watch, the simplest complication is the moon phase calendar. Moon phase complication in a watch presents the observable lunar cycle during the 29.5 day period. It shows the illuminated portion of the moon within the watch's dial while using a window to hide the non-luminous portion. The designs of moon phase complications vary in number yet they exhibit the similar 4 significant patterns of the lunar cycle (New Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon, and Waning Moon) that repeats once every 29.5 day period. 

There are two types of moon phase complications: Bosom and Radial moon phase. The bosom moon phase is the most common type. It has a crescent-shaped window that shows the 4 phases of the moon. The radial moon phase uses a hand as an indicator to locate the current phase of the moon.

If you want something that keeps the simplicity of astronomical objects, a moon phase astronomical watch is a great choice. Moon is also the symbol of the night, and Ball Watch Co. Trainmaster Moon Phase reflects the almost identical scene of the night. The black dial on the watch highlights the moon as its center with silvery stars near the moon. It's as if the guilloche pattern on the dial illustrates the radiance coming from the center of the moon. Also, the use of tritium gas tubes on the watch elicits a constant emission of light for better night legibility.

Ball Watch Co. Trainmaster Moon Phase

One with the simplest yet most accurate 3D moon phase watch comes from Christiaan van der Klaauw Real Moon Joure collection in 2012. van der Klaauw founded his company, Christiaan van der Klaauw Astronomical Watches in 1974. Since the earliest year, the company has had a sole focus on creating hand-made astronomical watches. The Real Moon Joure CKRJ3366's accuracy of the moon phase is so on point, you only need to adjust the watch once in 11,000 years. It has Roman numerals of hour markers, the brand's logo of Sun with 12 Claw, and a 3D miniature moon phase on the dial.

Taking a step further, A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna gives us a whole view of the orbital moon phase on the case back. Now, that's an interesting idea. On the watch dial, it has 3 subdials of hours, minutes, and seconds. While the minutes' and seconds' marker uses Arabic numerals, we can see the classic Roman numerals of its hour markers. It doesn't stop there. The dial is busy yet it shows the information within cleanliness. It divides the complication of perpetual calendar with each is in the subdials. Plus, there is a power source indicator at the bottom of the dial.

With how packed the watch's dial is, the graphic orbital moon phase complication is seen through the sapphire crystal on the case back, right on the watch's movement. This astronomical watch, Terraluna, gives birth to an identical miniature of the orbital moon phase through a high level of precision. It takes 1058 years for a correction of a one-day error. The moon phases change based on the phenomenon of constellations relative to the earth and sun. The watch shows how the people in the northern hemisphere will view the current phase of the moon.

See also: Sailing Time: Top Yachting Watches for Your Next Regatta

The Lilliputian, midnight planetarium

A planetarium is a sky theatre. It expresses the scenes of celestial objects and the night sky. To create a replica of such scenes is no small feat. Yet, Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planétarium has successfully brought the said scenes into a tiny space of a watch in 2014. This astronomical watch was a work of collaboration between Van Cleef and Arpel and Christiaan van der Klaauw, who is the king when it comes to astronomical watchmaking. He developed this watch in Switzerland within the span of three years.

This breathtaking horological timepiece depicts the universe with near-complete solar systems. The replica puts the sun, six planets' orbit, and stars on display. The starry night sky of the dial further brings out the beauty of the tiny celestial objects. To tell the time, there is a pinkish shooting star that will slowly fly around the small universe. The six planets orbit the sun based on their real-life rotation time. In other words, you can see the six planets move in line with the day of a specific date.

Another pick of a beautiful planetarium is from Jacob & Co. Astronomia Solar Planets Jewelry. The timepiece comes with intricate complications of the solar systems, Chinese zodiac calendar, and flying tourbillon. The Astronomia JCAM19 movement makes the four planets' orbit possible to be as close as the real rotation. The Earth's globe is made of blue magnesium while the other three planets are from gemstones. The dial background is the aventurine Skylayer that rotates widdershins contrary to the planet's orbit. The view of these moving objects gives another pleasure to the eyes.

An astronomical watch is, without a doubt, pleasing one's mind and eyes. It offers the artistic beauty of the moon, planets, stars, and the rest, with the basic function of telling the time. If you're one of the celestial lovers, this type of watch is worth being in your personal collection.

You might also like: The 10 Most Spectacular Steinhart GMT Watches Under $1000

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