You know a watch is downright attractive when non-watch lovers comment on how nice it is. There are quite a few examples of clean, classic aesthetics that speak a universal language. With the release of the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch, the innovative Swiss brand is spreading its message through the dialect of design. To me, the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic is one of those watches, just like the Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase, and the Nomos Lambda, that would look just as comfortable on a gallery wall as it would on the wrist.
Both biaxial tourbillons each contain 117 components and every weigh 0.76 g — that is… wait for it… a mind-boggling 0.0065 gram average weight per part in those “whirlwinds.” The balance wheels inside the tourbillons have been inclined at 30 degrees (read more about why that matters in this epic hands of this Greubel Forsey Dual Balancier) and are ticking away in a relatively hectic 3 Hertz or 21,600 beats per hour. Biaxial means two axes of rotation, and that, subsequently, usually means two distinct timings. The situation is just the same in the event of the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7 either, as the interior cages of the tourbillons create a full rotation in 45 seconds, while the exterior pliers come around in 75 seconds, respectively. This dance lasts about 55 hours, when you will want to manually re-wind the hand-wound caliber.Focusing on the tourbillons has also simplified the dial up and made the watch overall more legible — an achievement we love just as much (or even more), as any further advancements in technical sophistication. The dial is this rectangular, softly skeletonized layout in anodized aluminum, with numerals and hands which you can actually read. Considering that the 50.9millimeter diameter of the enormous, 18k white gold case, the dial must be about the same size as you would see on a Reverso — therefore legibility shouldn’t be a problem anymore.ou’ll also notice that while the white gold case was slimmed to a paltry ~51mm in diameter and 17.3mm in thickness the lugs have also been shortened and turned down, likely in a bid to further enhance wearability as well.Only twenty pieces of the Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7 will be produced — ten at a red dial option, and ten at an anthracite variant, along with the jury’s still out on whether or not the cost will exceed last year’s version. Stay tuned for official pricing and opinions from our Baselworld 2016 coverage.
I’m often guilty of overlooking Harry Winston’s non-Opus output, but have a firm respect for the brand’s direction in light of their acquisition by the Swatch Group. Continuing with the Opus series was a great move by one of the industry’s giants, as it perpetuates the sense that this brand means business. In the case of the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch, the looks may well get your attention, but the technical execution of the piece is likely to keep it.
The Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic is powered by the HW3203 movement. It is an in-house, self-winding calibre with an operating speed of 28,800vph. The movement’s main complication is a moon phase indicator located in the lower right quadrant of the dial. Above this, a silvered sub-dial displays the hours and minutes. The face also indicates the date by way of a second sub-dial, larger than that of the time itself. A long, thin, pointer-style hand circles a chapter ring bearing the days of the month. This multi-dial overlay arrangement will probably divide opinions, and I keep imagining their presence as being arranged by a compass.
When we gambled that Harry Winston may not have the ability to outdo its overpowering Histoire de Tourbillon 7 released last year, the renowned jeweler has just announced the Histoire de Tourbillon 8 — the latest in a continuous series of tourbillon watches whose degree of complication and unconventional design appears to grow exponentially with every new addition. However, while every new entry had somehow managed to up the ante, the HDT 8 appears to recycle the bi-axial tourbillon complication of its predecessor, while now offering up a brand new time screen with skipping hours and moments, and a few other aesthetic tweaks. It’s far less of a radical update to the HDT show than we are utilized to seeing but stays impressive for the exact same reasons.Now, until we get too deep into the inner workings of the Histoire de Tourbillon 8, it’s well worth pointing out the obvious that Harry Winston could be more correlated with jewelry compared to ultra high-end watchmaking from the heads of many. To be honest, the man (and more recently, the newest) has historically invested more time in the headlines as the jeweler of choice for the Hollywood elite, in addition to former or current owner of a number of the planet’s most famous gemstones. The latter comprises the 726-carat uncut rough diamond named “Jonker” from the mid-1930s, then the Hope Diamond in 1949, and much more recently, the flawless 101.73-carat Winston Legacy. Within that deadline, Winston began selling watches in the late 1980s, but things really did not start to ramp up in complication before the brand started its own manufactory at Geneva in 2007, and afterwards began producing the remarkable high-complication series like the Histoire de Tourbillon, which we are more than happy to gawk at now.
Giving the date so much space is a nice touch from an aesthetic and philosophical perspective. By placing the visual emphasis on the days, rather than the hours and minutes, the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch suggests time is not of paramount importance. It’s a relaxed way to look at life. The absence of a seconds hand renders the dial relatively static. With a minute hand that sweeps instead of ticking, the dial appears to move through its functions languidly. Given that the date hand will jump just once a day (at or around midnight), it’s very likely you’ll never see any great activity on display.
Between nine and eleven o’clock, the Harry Winston wordmark arcs. Punctuating the brand name is a 0.03ct brilliant cut diamond set just before the traditional position of 12 o’clock. Personally, this is the one thing I didn’t like about this watch. That may just be a matter of preference and isn’t really a knock on the watch as a whole.
At 42mm, the rose gold case is hardly too big to be worn by a woman, but the styling suggests a more male focus to me (the intention is for the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch to be unisex). I think this might have something to do with the relative thickness of the bezel and the bulk around the crown created by the familiar “three bar” design. For that reason, the diamond seems a little unnecessary and possibly even contradictory to me. In a sense, its glittery nature could be intended to evoke thoughts of starlight, which marries well with the moon phase complication, but that’s probably just me reaching for a reason to feel totally comfortable with it.
The Harry Winston logo in rose gold is applied at the 12 o’clock position of the hours and minutes sub-dial. This appears to be a very nicely executed application and fits nicely with the simple colour palette of this timepiece. The Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch is water resistant to 30 metres and comes on a crocodile strap with ardillon buckle. The rose gold version pictured here has a price of $28,400. The watch is also available in white gold for a $29,500 price. harrywinston.com