The hyperwatch aesthetic presents a striking contrast between the engineering prowess of fluidic time and the delicate craftsmanship of miniature painting on one of watchmaking’s most fantastical complications – the Moon Phase.
Each model comes in a limited edition of only 15 pieces.
On full-moon nights, as the silver disk rises majestically into the dark sky, they’re easy to spot with the naked eye. The lunar seas. That is what early astronomers imagined them to be and the name caught on for these vast liquid expanses covering almost a third of the Moon’s visible surface. Science may have revealed them to be rocky plains of basalt, but our imagination knows better.
13 of them can be observed from the Earth’s surface, the most famous being the Sea of Tranquility, where the first astronauts landed in July 1969. Less well known is the fact that this figure also includes one ocean: lying at the western edge of the near side of the Moon, the Ocean of Storms owes its name to the superstition that the last quarter of the Moon is associated with rough weather. It is also by far the largest “sea” on Earth’s satellite.
Today, Neuchâtel-based HYT proudly unveils a singular take on the lunar seas with two new models, evocatively named “Ghost” and “Desert”.
Nestled at the heart of a carbon fiber and titanium case for the former, or in one made from black DLC-treated titanium for the latter, the moon phase appears under a new guise in the Moon Runner collection. The approach is singular: HYT revisits the classic complication through a contemporary lens, catapulting it through time with its tech aesthetic and capturing the orb’s poetry in miniature hand-painting. Note how the delicate little crater on the surface catches the eye and arouses curiosity.
Around the Moon Runner’s moon, two titanium indicator discs for the days and months, respectively. The minute hand is subtly integrated beneath these two discs, so that only the triangular tip is visible. It glows in white Super-LumiNova®, making the watch eminently legible. Both the month and day indicator discs are engraved and enhanced with Super-LumiNova® as well. The retrograde hours, rendered with HYT’s hallmark meca-fluidic mechanism, pass under a domed crystal glass with an anti-reflective coating.
To create the delicate miniature painting, HYT calls on a master craftsman from MD’Art, an expert in the field. The idea is to give free rein to the artist’s hand, inspiration and talent. In a process that will require a day’s work, he will paint a half-sphere measuring 11.90 mm in diameter, in the dark, with the piece lit from every angle by UV lamps. This way, every detail, once night has fallen, will faithfully represent what the human eye would observe during a solar eclipse or in twilight. These two moon facets, in fact, reveal two different patinas.
To ensure these two lunar faces have the necessary luminescence, each crater has a base of white paint which is then coated with Super-LumiNova®. Then, for Moon Runner Desert, the artist, still working in the dark under UV light, will apply beige pigments to achieve the granular structure of a sandblasted effect hinting at the myriad details of the lunar seas – a step requiring painstaking patience, dexterity and precision. On Moon Runner Ghost, the aesthetic is sleeker, more minimalist, reflecting a different face and perspective in the twilight.
The striking contrasts revealed by each of the two special editions also come through in the bi-material strap: rubber and black Alcantara for the “Ghost” version; on the Desert version, sandblasted beige details accentuate the watch’s minimalist vibe.