Last year, Hublot hit Baselworld 2012 with its limited edition Antikythera watch inspired by the Antikythera mechanism – a 2100 year old analog computer found off the shores of Crete that is considered the first "astronomical calculator." The company has kept the ball rolling at this year's Baselworld with another Antikythera device, this time in the form of the MP-08 Antikythera SunMoon watch.
Like its Antikythera stablemate, Hublot’s SunMoon device is a limited edition affair, but with 20 pieces on offer instead of the four Antikythera watches Hublot produced. But unlike the Antikythera watch, with its 495 components and 14 functions, the new SunMoon watch features Sun and Moon indications with 295 components and seven functions. No, it doesn’t text, it doesn’t have Instagram, it doesn’t take photos and it definitely doesn’t Tweet, but if Sun and Moon movements are of critical importance then have we got an ancient Greek-inspired device for you.
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The Antikythera SunMoon watch includes both a solar and a lunar calendar, as well as an indication showing the sidereal position (which is based on the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun once with respect to fixed stars) of the Sun and the Moon. This allows the watch to determine the phase of the Moon, show the name of the constellations located behind both the Moon and the Sun, and the time it takes for the Sun to pass through a constellation.
A flying tourbillon (no ball bearings) rotates once every minute to indicate the seconds, while hours and minutes are displayed via traditional hands at the center of the movement. The crown positioned at 3 o'clock is used to set the hours and minutes and wind the mainspring. A full winding should keep the watch running for 120 hours (five days). The opposite crown at 9 o'clock is used to scroll through the luni-solar calendar.
Reading the Antikythera SunMoon watch may prove to be almost as complicated as designing the thing. The Moon hand has a circular window to show the phases of the Moon, while an extended window at the end of the hand indicates the sidereal position of the Moon relative to the wearer's position. This is determined by the constellation located directly behind the Moon and indicated by a ring showing the constellation's zodiac sign.
The Sun hand shows both the date and the sidereal position of the Sun. These luni-solar indications, like the actual heavenly bodies, (the Sun and Moon), are co-dependent and connected. The wearer adjusts the calendar hands, selecting day of the year, which is indicated by the Sun hand. This adjustment then automatically calculates the other lunar indications.
Build-wise, the watch features beveled brass plate bridges with circular-grained recesses and a black ruthenium surface treatment, circular-grained, beveled and rhodium-plated wheels, satin-finished steel and 37 jewels.
While Hublot will put one of the four Antikythera watches up for auction in 2014, no pricing details for the MP-08 Antikythera SunMoon watch are yet available.
Hublot’s new SunMoon wrist-device is yet another example of just what an impressive feat of engineering the ancient Greeks pulled off when they built the original Antikythera mechanism.