The Ulysse Nardin Moonstruck watch makes its return, now called the Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck. Completely redesigned, more complicated, more nuanced and badass all around, the Moonstruck is rare in that it is an intimidatingly cool watch that is nevertheless ideally suited to wear all day, all year. There is a lot to unpack.
"It was a challenge for me to find mathematical solutions of a different form. The new Moonstruck has a lot of readable displays that invite you to take a closer look and engage with it. Today, I know how it works, and I can make it myself — and it’s still an absolute bomb." – Ludwig Oechslin
Here’s how the Ulysse Nardin Moonstruck works. The watch places the earth in its center and simulates the rotation of the moon around the earth, along with the apparent “movement” of the sun around the globe.
Beyond reading the prevailing moon phase in relation to any location in the world, the Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck also allows the wearer to predict the dates of the spring tides at a glance by observing the sun and moon aligning on their respective ellipses.
According to the manufacture: “For Ludwig Oechslin, the 1980s designer of astronomical wristwatches among the most complex ever produced, and for Ulysse Nardin’s development team, the Moonstruck was not intended to be an unnecessarily complicated watch, but a timepiece with a sober and efficient display, capable of rendering the celestial mechanics comprehensible to everyone.”
Without question, reading the various displays of the Moonstruck takes a bit of time getting used to – unless you are a hobby or professional astronomer – but at least there is more to wrap your head around here than the way a steel bracelet integrates with a steel case.
Two pushers, a setup familiar to many Ulysse Nardin owners, are set into the left side of the case. These allow for the instantaneous advancement or retardation of the hour hand in one-hour increments, on the fly. This comes in handy when traveling – and also when switching for daylight savings time – because the hours of the main time display can easily be adjusted for the traveler’s current time zone without upsetting all the other indications. There also is a city ring and a 24-hour display to function as a world-time display. This remains unchanged when using the pushers to jump the main hour hand.
Animating all this celestial madness is the Ulysse Nardin UN-106 manufacture movement. A self-winding caliber with 50 hours of power reserve, running on 4 Hertz – a more modern frequency more ideally suited for accuracy throughout daily wear and so a good match for such a watchmaking exercise. The UN-106 caliber comprises 335 components and 42 jewels.
There is a very positive and powerful sense of monumentality and horological intimidation radiating from the proportions and color scheme of the Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck. It’s a remarkably confident watch – and, if you’ve just heard Oechslin speak and understand the way Ulysse Nardin approaches watchmaking, you’ll find that no surprise. The Moonstruck has always been a flagship watch not just for the brand but also for modern Swiss watchmaking because it has taken the most poetic genre of complications (astronomical) and placed it so boldly and confidently into the center of the watch — without sacrificing the legibility of time and wearing comfort, i.e., without becoming another l’art pour l’art exercise in high-end watchmaking.
Source: A Blog to Watch
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