Our Predictions In The Calendar And Astronomy Category Of The 2022 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG): Masterful Finishing, Extreme Creativity, And Lots Of Moons
Welcome to the 2022 edition of Quill & Pad’s early Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) predictions in which the team picks favorites and explains why.
The panelists are:
Elizabeth Doerr (ED), co-founder and editor-in-chief
Ian Skellern (IS), co-founder and technical director
Joshua Munchow (JM), resident nerd writer
GaryG (GG), resident collector
Martin Green (MG), resident gentleman
The Calendar and Astronomy category emphasizes mechanical watches comprising at least one calendar and/or astronomical complication (e.g., date, annual calendar, perpetual calendar, equation of time, complex moon phases display, etc.). Additional indications and/or complications are admissible.
JM: This is one of my favorite categories due to my love for astronomical complications such as moon phases and sky charts. Combining it with the calendar complication makes this a bit of a head-to-head competition since calendar complications are often necessary for astronomical complications, but each one’s usefulness is very different.
Astronomical complications are poetic in nature, more emotional than practical. Calendar complications are the exact opposite: perfectly practical and useful complications for time management that might appeal to a very different type of person. Since the category doesn’t dictate specifically what should be valued and only outlines what fits into the category, it leaves a lot up to us on what we subjectively value more and why.
GG: It pays to do your reading! While I was prepared at first glance to be a bit disappointed by the finalists in this category, some research into each revealed impressive designs and the participation of impressive makers.
ED: So impressive, in fact, Gary, that I am having an extremely hard time picking a winner. Can we accept a coin toss?
IS: I was also initially disappointed, Gary, that there weren’t more obviously outstanding watches in this group, but further research has me now sharing Elizabeth’s dilemma that it’s difficult to pick a winner.
MG: This is one of my favorite categories of the GPHG despite the fact that I am often not that fond of a date function on a watch, and the phases of the moon hold no practical use for me. That said, seeing these types of complications applied with care and creativity makes my horological heart go into high beat!
Arnold & Son Luna Magna Platinum
JM: I can’t help but be torn as the Arnold & Son Luna Magna is one of my most favorite moon phase watches that I’ve ever seen. It is a perfect highlight of the moon phase and the moon phase alone, letting it be the primary feature for all of us moon phase nerds to gawk at.
I loved it when it first came out and thought it was in the top two last year in this same category. But also like last year, I thought another piece was more deserving of top honors. Now, this is the second year it’s been nominated, and it is a variation instead of the original, which takes it down another peg or two. I adore the massive glowing luminescent moon, new for this version, and mixing it with meteorite is always a cool aesthetic. But given the competition, once again I don’t know if it has what it takes to take the crown. I know the jury will love it, but that isn’t always enough.
MG: Not the only three-dimensional moon phase on the market, but still one of the nicest. In platinum with a meteorite dial, it is simply irresistibly Arnold & Son at its finest. While I don’t think it will be crowned winner in this category due to the heavy competition. It is a watch I would buy with my own money.
ED: This is one of my favorite watch families of recent years and picking against it really goes against my grain. However, in the 2021 GPHG Calendar and Astronomy category the jury voted against the original Luna Magna with aventurine dial in favor of the Christiaan van der Klaauw Planetarium Eise Eisinga.
Okay, okay, I already hear you: who in their right minds would vote against that in this category? And I agree. But it does make me unsure that this piece is as revered among the broader watch community as it is for me and, therefore, I think that another might come out victorious. Even if that dial made of octahedrite-class meteorite – which offers particularly beautiful so-called Widmanstätten criss-cross patterns after being PVD-coated with a sand-colored treatment – also reveals a luminous surprise when the sun starts to go down and the moon dominates the night sky: both the Cachalong opal time dial and the opal half of the moon not covered by the rare meteorite are extremely luminous, emitting a stunningly bright bluish glow in low-light conditions. I do wonder what line extension those creative minds at Arnold & Son will come up with next!
GG: With the Luna Magna Platinum, Arnold & Son presents another variation on the big moon theme, this time with a meteorite dial and half-moon. Quite a nice piece, but not up to the inventiveness or novelty of the top watches in this category.
IS: I am a big fan of the Arnold Luna Magna and this platinum version is striking, but I don’t think it’s as eye-catching as the original Luna Magna with aventurine dial and I suspect that the jury will look elsewhere for a winner.
Quick Facts Arnold & Son Luna Magna Platinum
Case: 44 x 15.9 mm, platinum
Movement: manually wound Caliber A&S1021, 90-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; moon phase, age of moon (on back)
Limitation: 28 pieces
Price: CHF 71,000
DRT Tempus Fugit
ED: I have to admit I know nothing about this watch except that it’s made by grandmaster Dominique Renaud and friends. I have not seen it and I have no official information about it aside from what is on the GPHG page. It’s very hard to pass judgement on a watch that you know so little about aside from the very basics.
But this information includes the fact that it is a secular perpetual calendar – only the third such wristwatch in the history of wristwatches after Svend Andersen’s Secular Perpetual and Franck Muller’s Aeternitas Mega.
That in itself is astounding, and I would very much like to handle this piece at the first opportunity. But for now, I have trouble making this very busy watch my winner sight unseen. Does anyone even see the time display?
MG: While I would love to love the DRT, and I find its technical design very impressive, it is simply too much. While the blue windows offer some order in the chaos that is the front, too many elements vie for your attention. The uniquely shaped case is also not helping in this matter. It is a lot of good things combined, but in my opinion they compete too much rather than achieve synergy.
IS: Okay, I’ll give high points to the DRT Tempus Fugit for being a rare secular perpetual calendar (and a very compact one at that) and I’ll double those points for Dominique Renaud’s involvement. I’d like to learn more about the algorithm predicting the wearer’s power reserve of life, but it’s hard to judge a watch without having held and manipulated it. From the images the dial side looks very busy. This is definitely a watch to keep an eye on, but I can’t see it winning here.
GG: If Dominique Renaud is involved, look out for something special! The DRT Tempus Fugit is just that, complementing a secular perpetual calendar with a “life reserve” indicator that counts down the time until the end of the owner’s life and contains a chip with the holder’s DNA and a hidden message revealed at the end of the reserve. For me the art of timekeeping is very much linked to mindfulness of our own mortality, so this complication intrigues me despite its slightly creepy nature. That said, it’s hard to tell what the finished watch will look like from the renderings presented and its visual design seems a bit of a hash.
JM: The DRT Tempus Fugit is a watch that seemingly has everything you would want to win this category from a mechanical standpoint: an interesting and innovative perpetual secular calendar in a 39-millimeter case with amazing pedigree and unique aesthetic. For that reason alone it gets me to call it my second runner up for this category.
But I can’t help but feel that – from the photos – this watch looks like the first fully finished prototype of a just-graduated watchmaking student who has yet to find their design aesthetic and still has a few years until they can flesh out the details to make their groundbreaking watch. Clearly the skill, talent, and passion is there, but it needs refinement and a fair bit of feedback.
Given the names attached to this, I’m a bit surprised, and at the same time it actually makes sense. An incredible horological concept from Renaud, a very industrially mechanical oriented design supported by the president of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, and a watch prototypist that seems fresh on the scene. Very skilled and knowledgeable people, but it lacks true cohesion for me to call it the best for this category.
Quick Facts DRT Tempus Fugit
Case: 39 x 10.6 mm, titanium
Movement: manual winding skeletonized caliber with 80-hour power reserve, 18,000 vph/2.5 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; perpetual secular calendar with day, date, month, year; life reserve indicator
Price: CHF 376,000
H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar
MG: What a good-looking watch! It has a confidence that one rarely sees in a timepiece. I guess it also has to as the brand logo is barely visible and the parts that make it recognizable as a perpetual calendar are hidden in the back. I am very torn whether this will be the winner in this category or the HYT, but I think the Moser will get the highest honor.
GG: I’ve always loved H. Moser & Cie’s approach to the instantaneous perpetual calendar, and for fans of the Streamliner look the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar should be a must. My tastes run more to the original, but there’s certainly nothing I dislike about this one.
JM: I have always loved Moser’s minimalist aesthetic, and the implementation of a full perpetual calendar within that aesthetic was modern design genius. Then when Moser created the new Streamliner collection, I loved the new aesthetic and the sporty addition to the ultra-classical styling this brand usually brings to the table.
But I will admit I think some design decisions on this watch make the concept lack a clearly defined direction and it feels like it tries to straddle both worlds and sadly does not succeed in either. The dial is both too busy and too minimalistic to feel completely considered, with the busy markings for seconds along the outside and the inclusion of the tiny (intended to be mostly invisible at first glance) month indication, it makes me feel like it hasn’t committed to the design fully.
Since it isn’t the chronograph, the intense markings along the edge make much less practical sense, and the month pointer feels out of proportion. I think it’s a nice watch, but I think this design needs another pass or two for the team to figure out if it really is going to be a minimalist perpetual calendar or a sporty perpetual calendar with minimal indications. That doesn’t mean the markings need to be tiny or nonexistent, it just means that dropping the perpetual calendar movement into the Streamliner isn’t as simple of a swap as it would seem.
ED: While the low-key visuals and functionality of Moser’s well known perpetual calendar remain intact in this new Streamliner, somehow it doesn’t appeal to me. I think I need to see a more significant trace of the calendar functions to appreciate it fully – which I know is not the purpose of this timepiece.
IS: If you are in the market for a perpetual calendar then the Moser Streamliner Perpetual Calendar should be on your shortlist. I like the neat power reserve indicator at 10 o’clock, the large date, the discreet short central hand indicating the month, and the soft curves of the case. This Streamliner Perpetual Calendar is in my top three, but I think that it will be pipped at the post.
Further reading: H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar: Elegant Minimalism
Quick Facts H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar
Case: 42.3 x 11 mm, stainless steel
Movement: hand-wound Caliber HMC 812, 18,000 vph/2.5 Hz frequency, power reserve minimum 168 hours; twin spring barrels, Moser teeth for all wheels and pinions; modular interchangeable escapement, Straumann hairspring; gold escape wheel and pallet fork
Functions: hours, minutes, direct-drive central (hacking) seconds; perpetual calendar with large date and month; power reserve indicator; leap year cycle indicator on movement side
Price: $54,900 / CHF 49,900
HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue
JM: Aesthetically, HYT is always going to be divisive. And so for that one reason I think it might be hard for this watch to win, but I think it presents a lot of points for why it should seriously be in the running.
Aesthetics aside (which unlike other pieces are at least cohesive and well considered), the mechanics behind the watch have always been incredible (micro-fluidics) and the addition of a full calendar and spherical moon phase are so surprising for this type of watch that it could have been a disaster. But the implementation is so perfectly on point for this watch that the rings of month and date surrounding the giant moon phase in the center are brilliant, and having a cool, arching display window that hovers over the moon reminds me of many other astonishing timepieces from the GPHG’s past.
The futuristic design will be hard to get past for some, but it really represents the best of what an astronomical calendar watch from HYT can be, and for that reason it deserves some clear recognition.
GG: If Renaud of DRT is a legend, so is Eric Coudray, caliber designer for the HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue. With the steadying hand of CEO and industry veteran Davide Cerrato and aesthetic guidance from Paul Clementi, this watch seems to me considerably more refined than earlier HYT offerings. The central “blue moon” display surrounded by date and month rings catches the eye, and the retrograde liquid hour indication seems integrated into the overall presentation rather than the “look at me” mechanical gimmick of HYT’s past.
MG: To me, the Moon Runner is definitive proof that HYT is on its way back and proving that it is much more than a one-trick pony. I’m personally not a fan of the strap attachment but love the integration of the calendar functions and the moon phase. Very well, and originally, executed. Additional honorable mention for the power reserve, which remains impressive at 72 hours despite the other complications.
ED: This is a very original watch in a new and improved version of HYT. While its immense size turns me off, its ingenuity and forward-thinking displays are intriguing. I’m still not a super-fan of the liquid display, but I can see the appeal.
IS: The HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue is the type of innovative out-of-the-box thinking that I like to see win at the GPHG and it signals a strong rebirth for HYT. Despite the groundbreaking signature fluid display for the hour display, I don’t see it being a contender here due to its size: at 48 mm in diameter, it’s a watch that can only be worn on very large wrists.
Quick Facts HYT Moon Runner Supernova Blue
Case: 48 x 52.3 x 13.3 mm, sandblasted titanium
Movement: manual winding Caliber 601-MO designed by Eric Coudray/PurTEC with liquid hour display inside capillary tube, 72-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: retrograde hours, minutes; day, month, moon phases
Limitation: 27 pieces
Price: CHF 120,000
JM: The mechanical predecessor to the Anywhere (called Everywhere) won an Innovation prize at the 2018 GPHG because it was a completely genius watch. But it also was complicated and aesthetically busy, so I can understand why it may not have won over the jury that year.
But now the Anywhere tackles the same problem of providing sunrise and sunset around the world and does so in a better form factor for a (relatively) more affordable price, and does so in such a refined aesthetic way that this watch would look great on just about anyone’s wrist.
It has been mechanically reinvented yet delivers the same information in a clear, uncomplicated way. The engineering alone is amazing, but the complication is above everything else in this category this year. I personally think the Only Watch version is still the best version produced, but the standard blue model is so exquisite that I can’t argue it deserves anything less than winning the crown this year.
GG: It’s a tough call, but I’m picking the Krayon Anywhere as my winner in this class. I’m a bit put off by the fact that it was introduced in 2020, but I assume that it has passed the vetting requirements of GPHG for entry into this year’s competition. The idea of a sunrise and sunset watch that can be adjusted to any location and is based on a rack-and-yoke system rather than the traditional cam is extremely clever, and like the annual calendar complication is one of those “good enough” approaches that does what we really need it to do without all the bells and whistles of Krayon’s earlier user-adjustable Everywhere watch. I’m also a fan of the aesthetics of this piece, including the variable day/night ring around the perimeter with its traveling sun.
ED: The GPHG lists its introduction date as September 2021, Gary, which, I believe, makes it legal. There have been a few different versions of this watch introduced during the pandemic time.
MG: Krayon is a familiar face at the GPHG as already in 2018 its “parent,” the Everywhere Horizon, won the innovation prize. The Anywhere offers a similar appeal, displaying sunrise and sunset times in a very charismatic way. The watch is also very well proportioned with all the functions maintaining great legibility, but not overtaking the design as a whole.
ED: I think it would probably be folly to bet against this watch in this year, so I’m going to join the chorus here and pick the Krayon Anywhere as my winner. The superb movement finishing alone is worth the price of admission, and the sublime dial elements work so beautifully together that it is hard not to fall in love with it.
Aside from that, it is eminently wearable for any wrist – which is where I think the real coup is: fitting all that mechanical information into this size.
IS: I’m another joining the Krayon Anywhere bandwagon. For all the similarities, the Anywhere is really is a very different watch to the original Krayon Everywhere. And aside from its clever sunrise/sunset complication, good looks, and eminently wearable 39 mm case, the movement’s hand-finishing is sensational. The Krayon Anywhere is my pick to win the 2022 GPHG Calendar And Astronomy category.
Quick Facts Krayon Anywhere
Case: 39 x 9.5 mm, white gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber C030 with 432 components, 86-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; sunset and sunrise times, month, date, 24-hour indication with day/night
Price: CHF 125,000
ED: Sarpaneva is one of my favorite creators, and even without having seen this watch in person I am fully drawn into the multilevel story crafted on the dial. The Sarpaneva moon face is one of the most charismatic elements in all of watchmaking today, and combined with the decorative dial that takes what the Finnish watchmaker started with the Moomin watch and runs with it, it would be impossible not to love it. The cherry on top is the luminous moon face on the back. I am lusting after this.
JM: The Sarpaneva Nocturne is a design watch first and foremost, using the artistic talents of Finnish illustrator and comic artist Ville Tietäväinen to create a captivating scene surrounding the iconic Sarpaneva Moon Face.
But unlike some other Sarpaneva moon phase watches, this model has the lowest precision moon phase of the bunch, just 29.5 days for an accuracy of one day every two and half years, showcasing that the effort clearly went into aesthetics over mechanical prowess.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and it does not take away from this watch in any way. But in a competition surrounding astronomical and calendar complications, it keeps it from ranking highly. I love the watch, I want the watch, but it isn’t the strongest contender in the category this year.
GG: Nocturne is another beautiful watch from Stepan Sarpaneva; he has really hit his stride with the use of Super-LumiNova accents and mythological motifs.
IS: The Sarpaneva Nocturne is the watch I’d like to wear from this category and at 23,900 Swiss francs is half the price of the next least expensive watch here. I love the contrast between the monochromatic nothing-to-see-here look of the Nocturne by day and its burst of vivid colors at night. This is Super-LumiNova as art. While I don’t feel that it’s technically complex enough to win here, it’s the watch I’d like to own.
MG: Ask Sarpaneva to make a moon phase and he comes with this! Charismatic, innovative, but most of all very beautiful! I wish that some mainstream brands would also have the guts to come out with concepts like this as they enrich the watch world as a whole. In the meantime, lets enjoy Sarpaneva at what he does best!
Further reading: Sarpaneva Nocturne: Night And Day Are Different Worlds
Quick Facts Sarpaneva Nocturne
Case: 42 x 11.4 mm, Outokumpu stainless steel from Finland SUPRA 316L
Movement: automatic Soprod Caliber A10 modified with in-house moon phase, 42-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, moon phases
Limitation: 30 pieces each of White Glow Moon and Orange Glow Moon
Price: €19,000 / CHF 23,900
Elizabeth: Krayon Anywhere
Ian: Krayon Anywhere
Joshua: Krayon Anywhere
Gary: Krayon Anywhere
Martin: H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar