Too Complicated to Use?

Watchmakers clearly enjoy their craft, and adding new features to any watch is something that a craftsman looks forward to doing.  The more complex, the better, but sometimes, one cannot help but wonder if a watch that is overly complicated is really good for the wearer.

ulysse nardin executive moonstruck worldtimerA good example is the recently introduced Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer watch by Ulysse Nardin.  This company has been making elaborate watches with celestial complications for decades, and as time goes on, they seem to get more and more elaborate.

This isn’t a problem, since you’re unlikely to end up owning one of these watches by accident.  For starters, Ulysse Nardin is only going to make 100 of the Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer, so unless you are rushing out to buy one, you likely aren’t going to find one for sale.

Furthermore, the watch, as you might expect from this company, is not inexpensive.  The watch is available with a case in rose gold, for $75, 000, or in platinum, for $95,000.  That means, as we’ve already mentioned, that you aren’t going to come across this watch by accident.  If you end up owning one, it’s because you want one.

And want one you very well might.  It’s a horrendously complicated automatic watch that offers world time and the date, and a clever pair of buttons at 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock allow you to quickly advance the time ahead or back one hour, making it very simple to adjust your watch if you happen to be changing time zones.

ulysse nardin executive moonstruck worldtimerThe watch depicts a world map, as seen from the north pole.  Greenwich Mean Time is indicated at 6 o’clock.   Three concentric discs rotate this map of the world throughout the day.

The Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer also shows you the phases of the moon, the position of the moon and the sun in relation to the Earth, their respective gravitational strength, the status of tides, and, for those who need something more normal in their watch, the date.

The watch has a 46 mm case, making it a bit large, but not excessively so.   Ulysse Nardin says that this watch, despite a mechanical movement, is accurate to 5.7 seconds per day.

Obviously, very few people are going to actually need such a watch.  Few people need to know the position of the tides.  Even fewer people need to know the relatively positions of the sun and the moon to the Earth.  So why put such complications into a watch?

Because they can. Beyond a certain point, adding complications such as the state of tides is simply the designer of the watch showing potential buyers what is possible.  It’s one thing to come up with a device that can track such things, but it’s something else again to put it in a wristwatch and have it work in harmony with a mechanism that needs to keep accurate time.

That, you may recall, is the reason that most people buy a wristwatch in the first place, but allowing everything to work together and fit in a case that’s still small enough not to be a nuisance is what makes the Ulysse Nardin Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer a piece of art.


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