Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

A Selection of the Best Out-Of-This-World Watches

The limitless expanse that exists beyond the Earth's atmosphere as horological inspiration.

| By Robin Nooy | 7 min read |
De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite

The vast emptiness of space is a mindboggling and fascinating thing. Think about it, we are nothing but a speck in the seemingly limitless void of outer space. A small blue floating rock, perfectly aligned to create life, circling our sun until the end of time. This very notion can be daunting, but at the same time be an incredible source of inspiration. We have always looked up to our sun, moon and stars, for a whole myriad of reasons. Perhaps the most important thing to have originated from our intergalactic gaze is the notion and determination of time. That brings us to today’s selection of watches, all sharing “space” as a theme in one way or another. Let’s take a closer look at these out-of-this-world watches.

Jacob & Co Astronomia

It is pretty much a given fact the Jacob & Co Astronomia Tourbillon is one of the most extravagant watch collections ever created. Large, expressive, complex and always in motion, any Astronomia makes a big visual impact. Surely not for everyone, but there’s real ultra-complex watchmaking involved. And with a name like Astronomia, it’s no surprise a lot of the models have a space-related theme or element. But recently Jacob & Co went the extra mile and actually sent an Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer Blue to outer space, on the wrist of commercial astronaut Eytan Stibbe. Quite the unexpected venture for such a delicate and complex piece! The unique watch will be auctioned for charity by Sotheby’s later in the year.

Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE into space onboard ISS Eytan Stibbe

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Quick Facts – 50mm x 25mm – 18k white gold case – ultra-domed sapphire crystal – sapphire crystal windows in the caseband – aventurine base dial with white gold “spokes” as hour markers – JCAM10, manual winding – triple-axis tourbillon escapement – revolving skeletonized hour and minute subdial – rotating globe and spherical diamond – caseback with flip-up winders and unique design – unique piece auctioned for charity

Montres KF Ei8ht Evolution

The thing with any Montres KF Ei8ht is that the tourbillon dominates the dial to such an extent it’s difficult to make the rest of the watch equally impactful. However, Karsten Fraessdorf and his team have managed to make that large tourbillon escapement take somewhat of a back seat. The dial for the new Montres KF Ei8ht Evolution is made of meteorite and is available in a whole range of colours, including silver, blue and brown. The surface pattern of the meteorite dial is then carried over to the 44.5mm wide stainless steel or rose gold case with a special engraving. Turning the watch over reveals the honeycomb mainplate of the Novamag 01. This extraterrestrial watch is made to order, with vast customization options available.

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Quick Facts – 44,5mm x 12.2mm – engraved stainless steel or rose gold case – sapphire crystal on both sides – 50m water-resistant – meteorite dial in different colours – applied hour markers and hands with luminous material – Calibre Novamag 01, made in-house – hand-wound – 42 jewels – 18,000vph – 66h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds on the one-minute tourbillon – leather strap of your choice with triple-folding buckle – EUR 128,000

Louis Moinet Mars Mission

Atelier Louis Moinet is another manufacture that often uses cosmic inspiration for its watches. The independent watchmaking company has resorted to a space theme on multiple occasions, for instance in the Space Revolution or the Hope Probe Tourbillon Unique Piece. The latest, however, incorporates an actual Martian element, something rarely seen in life, let alone in watchmaking. The Louis Moinet Mars Mission is fitted with a dial to mimic the surface of Mars in either blue or golden-brown (as explained here). What makes this watch extra special is the aluminium capsule at 3 o’clock containing an actual fragment of a Martian meteorite. The material is very rare, as just 0,5% of the roughly 72,000 meteorites found on earth are classified to come from this red planet.

Louis Moinet Mars Mission Limited Edition

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Quick Facts – 45,5mm diameter – multi-part stainless steel case – sapphire crystal front and back – 50m water-resistant – hammered blue or golden-brown dial to reproduce the surface of Mars – genuine Martian meteorite fragment in anodized aluminium container – PVD-treated indices – partly skeletonized hands – Calibre LM45, developed and manufactured with Concepto – automatic winding – 22 jewels – 28,800vph – 48h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds – blue or black alligator leather strap with folding buckle – limited to 100 pieces – CHF 17,000

Fortis Stratoliner

Another way to incorporate space into watchmaking is to use the daunting and hostile environment as a proving ground for engineering. Everyone involved in space-bound work can attest to the hostility and difficulty involved in making something work in outer space. Fortis can vouch for it too, as they’ve tested the recently launched (pun intended) Stratoliner’s Werk 17 Calibre to the outermost edge of our stratosphere. This real-life testing resulted in an ultra-robust movement as the ones fitted to a special cradle went up into space while running, before plummeting back down and crashing into a tree (check out the video here). The movements pretty much survived unscathed, and are now available in the cool-looking Stratoliner chronograph.

Fortis Stratoliner Space Watch Chronograph

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Quick Facts – 41mm diameter – recycled stainless steel case – steel and rubber flat fix Orbit bezel – sapphire crystal front and back – 200m water-resistant – White Dust, Cool Gray or Cosmic Gray dial – markings in space blue Super-LumiNova – luminous hour and minute hands – Calibre Werk 17, automatic integrated column-wheel chronograph – shock-resistant construction – 28,800vph – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, day, date – EUR 4,950 (on leather) or EUR 5,300 (on bracelet)

De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite Tourbillon

De Bethune is often referred to as a horological alchemist as it seemingly possesses the ability to change one material into another. Highly polished steel or titanium, heat-treated to unique shades of blue or yellow are a common trait for the brand, but the latest creation goes even beyond that. The De Bethune DB35 Starry Varius Aérolite Tourbillon incorporates the company’s metallurgical expertise with a thermally oxidized blue meteorite dial, decorated with gold pins to represent the Milky Way. The best part is owners can customize this night sky, reflecting a specific date, time and place. And it’s not just a show piece either, as the incredible DB2109V4 dead-beat seconds tourbillon movement is proper cutting edge watchmaking as only De Bethune does.

De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite

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Quick Facts – 42mm x 10.3mm – grade 5 titanium, polished – hollowed lugs – sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water-resistant – blued and polished meteorite dial – white gold pins depicting a starry sky – silver-toned hours and minute ring – Breguet-style steel hands – in-house calibre DB2109V4, hand-wound – 43 jewels – 260 components – 36,000vph – 96h power reserve – hours, minutes, central jumping seconds and tourbillon – limited to 5 pieces per year – price upon request

HYT Moon Runner White Neon

The final watch on the list does not include any space material, nor has it been into outer space itself. However, with a very clear link to our closest celestial neighbour, the HYT Moon Runner White Neon certainly captures the Sci-Fi spirit. The Moon Runner is the second collection by the revived HYT, which kicked things off with the Hastroid at the beginning of the year. The Moon Runner uses the complex and unique mecha-fluidic technology as every other HYT before it, and adds in a massive spherical moon phase indication. The combination of the hydrocarbon and TecLight® case and white luminescent markings on the dial and inside the lugs enhances the extraterrestrial aura even further.

HYT Moon Runner White Neon

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Quick Facts – 48mm x 52.30mm x 21.80mm – 64-part hydrocarbon & TecLight® case with black-coated titanium crown – domed sapphire box crystal and sapphire crystal caseback – 50m water-resistant – fluidic hour indication – applied Lumicast hour numerals – white luminous background – rotating Lumicast minute hand –  luminous months and date display – spherical revolving luminous moon display – Calibre HYT 601-MO – hand-wound – 516 parts – 41 jewels – 28,800vph – 72h power reserve – retrograde fluidic hours, minutes, months, date, spherical moon phase – T-light white rubber strap with black-coated titanium buckle – limited to 10 pieces – EUR 130,000

2 responses

  1. Other than deBethune, what you have is a collection of world’s ugliest watches


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