Ulysse Nardin: Blast Moonstruck2 February 2022
As a new lunar year starts today, Ulysse Nardin presents the new Blast Moonstruck 45mm in black ceramic and black DLC- treated titanium. Descended from the trilogy of astronomical watches created nearly forty years ago by the master watchmaker Ludwig Oechslin, the Moonstruck offers aficionados a new celestial odyssey, with reinvented watchmaking mechanics reproducing as faithfully as possible the sun’s visible trajectory and the lunar cycles.
“I am delighted that my watches and astronomical clocks enable people to think about their position in the universe and perhaps realize that we are not the center of the world.” Ludwig Oechslin
The Blast Moonstruck reproduces the moon’s rotation, the apparent movement of the sun around the globe as we observe it from Earth and a tidal chart. Designed to make this dance between the sun and the moon intelligible and intensely poetic, the geocentric display of the Blast Moonstruck is easy to understand, even for a beginner with no knowledge of astronomy.
Like all watches incorporating elaborated astronomical information, the Blast Moonstruck seeks to be a miniaturized extrapolation of the turret clocks constructed towards the end of the Middle Ages by towns of consequence. Thanks to its sophisticated mechanism, it assures the display of the time in a place chosen from among the 24 principal time zones that the world has been using since the Washington Convention of 1884. By means of pushers located on the left-hand side of the case, it is possible to put the main time display forward or back in leaps of one hour to adjust to another time zone. The watch is also fitted with a moon phase complication of precision, which, combined with the complication that allows real-time following of the sun, adds relief and life to the dial.
MAN AT THE CENTER OF HIS UNIVERSE
Designed to follow in the footsteps of the fabulous trilogy devised by Ludwig Oechslin from 1985, the Blast Moonstruck puts aside the Copernican representation of our solar system in favor of a geocentric approach that is easier to read and understand.
To accentuate this sensation of being at the heart of the universe based on observation of the watch, the designers chose to place the part of the northern hemisphere seen from the North Pole at the center of the instrument’s sapphire crystal. To increase the impact of the 3D effect, the domed crystal, with the land masses micro-engraved on the inside, is set in the protective sapphire crystal box encircled by an 18 ct rose gold ring engraved with the 31 days of the month, which has for a pointer a small triangle loaded with luminescent material.
In addition to the time display observable against a background of the night-sky portrayed by a disk made of aventurine, times around the world can be read with the aid of the fixed flange bearing the names of cities and the rotating disk on which a sun in relief and the time indications appear at 12 o’clock. The watch also has a Dual Time mechanism. This allows changing of the main display in leaps of full hours with the aid of the two pushers located on the left side of the case middle to show the time in a given country on the dial while keeping the initial time alongside the reference city. This highly efficient watch also possesses an aperture that, showing the phases of the moon in a realistic manner, associates its course with a three-dimensional representation of the sun located at 12 o’clock on the time display for the reference time zone.
Ulysse Nardin chose to provide a representation of the moon phases in a round aperture located at the apogee of an ellipse portraying its orbit. This aperture, carried by a disk, is associated with an elaborate gear train. It causes the moon phase indicator to make one complete rotation per day to follow the course of the sun, the source of the moon’s brightness, and also causes it to make a full circle of the dial in 29 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes and 9.3 seconds, representing the duration of a lunar month, also known as a synodic rotation, which has an astronomical duration of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.9 seconds.
To conserve its accuracy, the aperture showing the representation of the moon retreats every 24 hours on its circle of revolution by an angle corresponding, in degrees, to 1/29.53 of a lunar month to occupy a new position in relation to the sun. At the same time, the representation contained in this small mobile aperture also evolves to appear a little brighter or dimmer in line with the lunar calendar.
When a portion of the moon is visible in it, the aperture conserves an identical position in relation to the sun, here reproduced in relief and made of bronzite, for 24 hours. This rare and precious mineral of the pyroxenes family presents a golden surface punctuated with dark patches intended to reproduce those observable with a telescope on the mantle of the star around which, in reality, the earth gravitates.
The moon phase display, described as being “of precision” because it will produce a divergence of one day only after 40 years of working, is associated with markings of the ages of the moon on the ellipsis intended to represent the revolution of our natural satellite around the earth.
Complex in appearance, it is easy to read and also easy to adjust, as all the information can be set from the winding crown. A little concentration when correctly positioning all the useful information, from the reference city to the local time and date, suffices to ensure that the complication built into the automatic Manufacture caliber UN-106 subsequently manages all the displays on its own as long as the watch is worn. 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.
Produced in a limited edition (number of pieces not specified), the new Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck is combined with a black alligator leather, velvet or rubber strap with a black DLC and rose gold titanium folding clasp. (Price €. 71.300)