Astral Time

In an age when wearable and portable technology has removed the practical necessity for any of u to wear a mechanical watch for purely time-telling purposes, there is a conservative trend that looks back co the industry early origins, to its scientific root in the 18th century as if in reply co the hypothetical threat pose by Apple, Samsung and the rest.

Daniel Crouch Rare Books in London recently teamed up with Jaeger Le-Coultre to display a collection of early astronomy instruments, map and charts used in early explorations of the earth. Having established a universally applicable interpretation of time and place upon which to base their navigation, explorers were able to plot their journeys with hitherto inconceivable accuracy.

A handmade perpetual calendar for the yea, 1710 – 1736 originally given to King Louis XIV is a perfect example of this newfound insight and its importance to the elite of that era. It shows the years, solar cycles, months, zodiac signs, feast days, and length of days in a dizzyingly complex visual display.

Jaeger Le-Coultre’s Astral range of astrological watches do their best to connect us with that same era, lest we forget the importance of the scientific revolution and it great astrologers. Shown along side the Daniel Crouch pieces to highlight the connection between past and present, the connection between past and present was very clear – the Swiss luxury watch industry is built upon several centuries of heritage and is unlikely to be troubled by the arrival of ‘wearable technology’.

Taking inspiration from the passage of the sun, moon and stars, watches such as the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication make use of sidereal time rather than solar time – the former being a complex method of telling the time based on stars, that are even more remote than the sun.

Adding further layers to this astrological theme, Jaeger Le­Coultre have used materials such as meteorite stone, lapis lazuli and aventurine on the dial of their Astral collection. Slivers of these ancient minerals have been crafted b artisans at the Manufacture in Switzerland to become an integral part of the watch’s design in a reminder to the wearer of the agelessness of time itself.