Trappist-1 Moonphase watch brings exoplanet system down to Earth
An out-of-this-world discovery becomes a down-to-Earth timepiece today, as Xeric takes the wraps off its Trappist-1 Moonphase watch. Inspired by the Trappist-1 star system, famous for having seven terrestrial exoplanets of which three may be habitable, the namesake wristwatch is designed to give the wearer a taste of star travel in miniature.
Discovered in 2017 after 18 years of surveying from several telescopes, the exoplanet system revolving around the Jupiter-sized red dwarf star Trappist-1 is 39 light years away in the constellation of Aquarius. Though thousands of candidate planets have been found outside the Solar System in recent years, the Trappist-1 system is something of a cosmic jackpot with seven Earthlike planets, three of which orbit in the habitable zone of their parent star where the temperatures could allow liquid water to exist and, therefore, may harbor life as we know it.
The Trappist-1 Moonphase isn't what you'd call a subtle watch – not with a diameter of 44 mm (1.75 in). According to Xeric, the grille that dominates its front is designed to look like the observatory deck of a spaceship and is based on the observation cupola on the International Space Station (ISS) and the Op Art of Victor Vasarely. The idea is to give the wearer the sense of being aboard a starship approaching Trappist-1 with two "planets" on the dial marking the hours and minutes.
At the heart of the Trappist-1 moonphase is a Ronda caliber 708 movement. On the dial are a large and small Super-LumiNova planet, and in the center is a window showing the current Moon phase as well as an alternative time display in Roman numerals pointed to by the Ursa Minor constellation. There's also a small viewing port with the date, at six o'clock.
Sealing the front of the hand-finished, saucer-shaped 316L stainless steel case (water-resistant to 5 ATM) is a crystal made of Hesalite – an acrylic plastic similar to the one chosen by NASA for the crystals on the watches worn by the Apollo astronauts. Hesalite is softer than sapphire and scratches much more easily, but it doesn't shatter into tiny, sharp fragments like crystal when broken, so the space agency regards it as safer to use in zero gravity.
The Trappist-1 Moonphase is secured with an American Horween leather with a texture based on the surface of a space suit glove. The watch is available in a choice of color schemes with a limited run of 2,017 individually-numbered units for each variant.
The suggested retail price is US$350, but an Early Bird price as part of the company's Kickstarter campaign is available for $219.