The Sky Moon Tourbillion
Despite improvements in technology and man’s obsession
with gadgets, there will always be a place in the world for the
wristwatch. While gadget watches are a fun novelty, watch
collectors will always prize a grand complication watch over,
say, a Casio calculator watch. Grand complications will stand
the test of time (excuse the pun) because they offer unique and
often intricate extra features not normally found on traditional
A complication is a feature in a timepiece that gives more
information than the mechanical movement that tells the hours,
minutes, and seconds. The Swiss watch company Patek Phillipe
has a history of creating complex and intricate watch
complications. Its first complication in 1927 was for a pocket
watch now known as the Packard, which
was designed and produced on behalf of the American industrialist James Ward Packard. The 18K gold pocket watch contained 10 customized complications to tell the date, time, and celestial chart all calibrated to Warren, OH, where Packard lived.
Since then, the company has been refining and improving its complications; the latest is its brand new Sky Moon Tourbillion wristwatch. The Sky Moon Tourbillion is the watchmaker’s most complicated wristwatch to date, beating the Packard pocket watch by housing a grand total of 13 complications across two dials (one on the front of the watch and one on the back). Besides displaying the time, the watch also displays the retrograde date, perpetual calendar (day, month, leap year, phase of the moon, angular motion of the moon), and a chart of the stars in the sky on the front dial. The dial on the back of the watch indicates the sidereal time, meridian passage of Sirus, and the moon on a backdrop of a blue and gold celestial chart. There are also two cathedral gongs and a tourbillion.
This new tourbillion marks a swift departure from the stark, sober tourbillions of the past that were more concerned with the grand complications themselves rather than how the timepiece looked. For Patek Phillipe it was a case of substance over style, but its Sky Moon Tourbillion shows that as much care has gone into the outside of the watch as into the inside. The handmade case is a sold 18K white gold-engraved blank that is 42.8 mm wide. The solid gold dial is also given a coat of dark blue enamel.
Because of the time it takes to make and assemble by hand the 686 components, elaborate case engraving, and the enameling of the two dials, only three to five of these watches will be made each year. This tourbillion will retail for about $1.2 million and will be incredibly rare!
Despite the time and effort it will take to make this watch, the Sky Moon Tourbillion is not the most complicated watch in the world. Although Patek Phillipe has created the world’s three most complicated pocket watches, Swiss watch manufacturer Frank Muller created the world’s most complicated wristwatch—the Aeternitas Mega 4 with 36 complications, 1,483 components, and a 1,000-year calendar.