A moonphase indicator, an equation of time, a celestial chart, a perpetual calendar, an annual calendar and so on. Astronomical enthusiasts often sought out timepieces with calendars and astronomical functions irrespective of its actual use in a watch. Listed below are the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG 2023) academy’s nominations for the best astronomical watch of the year.
These mechanical watches should have at least one calendar and/or astronomical complication (e.g. date, annual calendar, perpetual calendar, equation of time, complex moon phases display, etc.).
The nominations are:
1. IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN – BIG PILOT’S WATCH PERPETUAL CALENDAR TOP GUN LAKE TAHOE
The Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar TOP GUN Lake Tahoe forms part of the IWC Colors of TOP GUN collection and features a 46.5-millimeter case in white ceramic. A pitch-black dial and black hands with luminescence, a stainless steel crown and case back ring, and a white textured rubber strap complete the contrasting design. White ceramics are emblematic of IWC’s comprehensive expertise in advanced materials.
The patented double moon phase display shows the moon as seen from the northern and southern hemispheres and will only deviate by one day after 577.5 years. A single nightly switching impulse from the IWC-manufactured 52615 caliber movement drives the calendar module. The automatic Pellaton winding system uses rotations of the oscillating mass in both directions to build up a power reserve of 7 days in two barrels. The movement can be viewed through a sapphire glass back.
2. PARMIGIANI FLEURIER – TONDA PF XIALI CHINESE CALENDAR
Intercalary months, also known as leap months, are added to the calendar according to strict rules and are given the same numerical designation as the month before it. The calculations are complicated, but they help Chinese people keep track of the seasons so that they can celebrate the New Year whenever spring finally arrives, which in our calendar is anywhere from 21 January to 19 February. Read more here
3. PIAGET – PIAGET POLO PERPETUAL CALENDAR OBSIDIAN
The dial of the new Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Obsidian emanates is the obsidian gemstone that has an inherent iridescence thanks to inclusions that formed when drops of mineral-rich sulfide liquid became trapped in the rock as it solidified. Left in the hands of Mother Nature, such inclusions are very rare, and no two stones are alike. Piaget has paired this exceptional obsidian on a white gold case with a perpetual calendar, one of watchmaking’s most historic and emblematic complications, which adds a bold and technical, androgynous feel to the sensual design. Piaget’s love of coloured stones also shines through in a bezel of deep blue sapphires, set in dark claws to further enhance the dial’s magic and individuality.
4. BOVET 1822 – RÉCITAL 20 ASTÉRIUM
Housed in BOVET’s trademarked Writing Slope case, in this unique piece with a combination of 18K white and 18K red gold, the Astérium really puts this spectacular movement on full display — and what a movement it is.
Presenting a sidereal calendar. The duration of a complete Earthly orbit (known as a sidereal year) is 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.77 seconds, or an unchanging 365.25 days. For obvious reasons, the Gregorian calendar was obliged to round down the number of days in a year to 365 and added an extra day every four years, (the leap year) to compensate for the remaining time.
The night sky and the collection of sidereal indications on the Astérium® are for this reason governed by an annual calendar calculated on a 365.25-day cycle to reflect the real duration of one full terrestrial orbit. Thanks to this combination of display and horological exactitude, the instantaneous position of the stars in the sky is displayed with unrivalled precision.
To sum it all, the watch features the Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, Day, Month, Power reserve indicator, Retrograde Minutes, Tourbillon, Equation of time, Special escapement Annual calendar and the summer & winter equinox.
5. FELIPE PIKULLIK – MOON PHASE 1
The moon phase is Felipes first watch with a handmade complication and the first step towards a completely self-developed and handmade movement. The Dial of the Moon phase is partly skeletonized to reveal the complication. Decorated with hand engravings, frosting and beveled edges, it features a variety of finishing techniques. The chapter ring has a black mirror polish with Eastern Arabic numerals. On the finished watch, you can choose between Breguet, Arabic, Roman, or Chinese numerals. The moon features a dark side that is black rhodium plated and a bright side which is white rhodium plated. Due to Felipes origin from Brazil he chose to show the moon from the perspective of the southern hemisphere.
Aside of the technical development the biggest challenge was to fit the large moon into the case without having to increase the tickness. For this reason, Felipe placed the moon in the middle of the mechanism. The moon is 0.4mm thicker than the movement and closes perfectly with the dial. The movement is hand-scored and then sawn, filed and finished watch the bridges will be frosted.
6. MASSENA LAB – HABRING² X MASSENA LAB CHRONO FELIX PERPETUAL
A monopusher chronograph and perpetual calendar featuring the all new, in-house Habring² caliber A11CP. The dial of the Habring² x Massena LAB-CFP is inspired by the Patek Philippe reference 1518, The LAB-CFP is a monopusher chronograph perpetual calendar which displays hours and minutes, day of the week (at 3 o’clock), month and leap year indicator (at 6), day of the month (at 9) and moonphase and chronograph thirty minute counter (at 12).
The LAB-CFP is powered by an all-new, in-house caliber from Habring²: the manual-winding A11CP. This combination of a monopusher chronograph and a perpetual calendar is both a rare combination and a technical feat. When considering the small size of the caliber’s footprint, fitting inside a case diameter of only 38.5mm, this is an impressive technical achievement for an independent manufacture.
Read more about GPHG 2023 here