the time is venus square saturn
January 26, 2014 11:29 PM   Subscribe

Van Cleef & Arpels, purveyors of super fine jewelry, have created the Midnight Planetarium, which holds part of the solar system on your wrist:
This new Poetic Complication timepiece provides a miniature representation of the movement of six planets around the sun and their position at any given time. Earth and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are set in motion thanks to a self-winding mechanical movement of great complexity: equipped with an exclusive module developed in partnership with the Maison Christiaan van der Klaauw, it contains 396 separate parts. The movement of each planet is true to its genuine length of orbit: it will take Saturn over 29 years to make a complete circuit of the dial, while Jupiter will take almost 12 years, Mars 687 days, Earth 365 days, Venus 224 days and Mercury 88 days.
posted by divabat (28 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
It's very pretty, I'll give it that.
posted by Mezentian at 11:37 PM on January 26, 2014

Although, based on the Parisian watch prices (a snip at $69,000) I will have to decline.
posted by Mezentian at 11:38 PM on January 26, 2014

"true to their genuine length of orbit" -- they palmed a card. The planetary orbits are ellipses, faster when closer to the sun, slower when further away. I bet this gizmo doesn't handle that right, and instead uses a circular orbit of constant velocity.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:47 PM on January 26, 2014 [6 favorites]

I know a poor astrologer who would *love* one of these! They have a birthday coming up, it would be a perfect gift.

I would totally pay 70$ for one (I'm looking at you, deal-extreme).
posted by el io at 12:08 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I once seriously thought about building an astronomical tall clock that did all this and more (like a little display showing you where every major moon in the solar system was and what face of each planet was currently facing the earth). I was going to cheat and do it all with stepper motors and a micro-controller of course, so I'm seriously impressed.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:11 AM on January 27, 2014

Your price point is $70, go at it Kid Charlemagne.
I'll buy one.
posted by Mezentian at 12:20 AM on January 27, 2014

Seconded. < scruffy>
posted by Earthtopus at 1:06 AM on January 27, 2014

I love Christiaan van der Klaauw watches, I've been by his shop a few times and the planetarium watches are top of my if-I-win-the-lottery list.
posted by atrazine at 2:14 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

How much is it? I bet I couldn't afford one in five lifetimes of work, unfortunately, as its mint, and I would love one.
posted by marienbad at 2:59 AM on January 27, 2014

When your timepiece experiences syzygy, you will be transported.

We will all experience great joy at your return.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:30 AM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

> I bet this gizmo doesn't handle that right, and instead uses a circular orbit of constant velocity.

You're totally right! Those butterflies are outrageously huge compared to that tree! And that so-called "Paris" in that one watch? Totally unrealistic!

I call fake on all of these gizmo-whatever-thingies.
posted by ardgedee at 3:39 AM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

I watched that MIB movie, so I have a bad feeling about this.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:22 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, the Emerald Observatory app for iPad is only .99. You can't wear it on your wrist, but it's a beautiful option if you've got one of those little iPad-holding-thingies to display it on your desk or something.
posted by jquinby at 4:43 AM on January 27, 2014

I was going to say that this was an orrery, rather than a planetarium, but it turns out that an orrery is actually a type of planetarium. The more you know.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:49 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

ok, i'll do the dishes and laundry when saturn gets to 12:00.
posted by bruce at 4:52 AM on January 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

I guess you could say its price is... astronomical.

shows self out
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:56 AM on January 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

$70 is far too cheap, it wouldn't run.

$700, I'd have clicked buy already, though there's a real chance that it isn't makable at the price, simply because of the labor to assemble it.

$7,000? I'd actually consider buying it. I probably wouldn't, but I suspect that to make this workable and beautiful, this is about the price range you'd need -- somewhere in the thousands. There's a lot of very tiny parts, and a lot of labor, and it is a fun set of complications*

$70,000? That's over the top. That's using materials for cost, not for purpose.

Well, the Emerald Observatory app for iPad is only .99

And worth the price. There's a surprising amount of info in the display, beautifully presented, and since it has an NTP client, the clock is accurate if you have a network connection.

This isn't a watch, its jewelry.

It's a mechanical watch. If you need actual timekeeping, there are vastly better ways to go. Most watches are jewelry, after all.

* Complication is a technical word in mechanical timepiece making. A timepiece tells you hours, minutes and seconds. Any other function is a "complication." So, a watch that tells you the day as well as the the time has one complication. If it handles the 12 months correctly, it has two, three if it actually displays the month. Other common ones -- Phase of the Moon, Day of the Week, Chronograph (counts as two if it has lap or flyback), Self Winding, Multiple Time Zone display, Star Chart, Repeater, Alarm, Date of Easter. In this case, each planet display would count. The comet wouldn't, that's how you tell the time.

Back in the day, a Swiss clockmaker, to become a guild Master, had to make a clock with 24 complications. It can get over the top -- here's a watch with 36 complications. Well, 37, if you look at the price tag.
posted by eriko at 5:06 AM on January 27, 2014 [13 favorites]

I looked at one with no price listed. I guess if you have to ask the price you cannot afford it.
posted by mareli at 5:09 AM on January 27, 2014

This was never going to go down well because MeFi is going to object to any 70K watch that doesn't come with a TARDIS and a jet pack. Whatever. The people who make up the market for this watch are not buying a watch: they are buying a Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery piece, in the same way other people buy art, or they are horologists with a love for rare pieces and complications.

My sole objection to this watch is that the design, which could be any one of a dozen flavours of amazing, is very meh. The typeface used for the month markings is nasty and the star, which should be the crown jewel of this timepiece, is the default Photoshop star shape. It's just disappointing.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:15 AM on January 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

You should e-mail them and let them know.
I am dead keen to know what the response is.

I would, but I am a prole.
posted by Mezentian at 5:23 AM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I mean, I love this conceptually but the design execution on the planets is just lazy. lazy, in fact, that I'm not sure I believe the rendering and suspect (hope?) that the real watch is nicer. Really, look at those planets. Blech.
posted by aramaic at 6:00 AM on January 27, 2014

It's bizarre to me that something so cool-yet-unattractive ended up in the same product line as the other Poetic Complications pieces, which are deeply uncool in their earnest tweeness but still gorgeous. This one is weird looking. The concept is cool, but the actual watch looks like it was put together using the leftovers from a box of mixed beads bought at Michael's.

I think the Parisian night sky is the best of the bunch -- not so desperately twee, interesting, and still lovely. It would be awesome if you could get the same thing customized to a different city. Not, you know, $84K worth of awesome. But still, awesome.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:13 AM on January 27, 2014

I think this is awesome. It's basically an Antikythera mechanism for your wrist.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:29 AM on January 27, 2014

A sobering thought: the average human lifespan is less than three Saturnian years.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:54 AM on January 27, 2014

Hunh! I read the comments before the link had completely loaded, and then went back and RTFA. Then I came back to favorite DarlingBri's comment. It is a disappoint. For that amount of money I expected something absolutely fabulous. Not.

The butterfly watch is...nice, but there's still the huge 'Van Cleef & Arpels' brand at the bottom which says to me it's more about status and how much it cost. I don't want your name, trademark, or logo across my ass, my chest, or my wrist, thenk you.

Nice enough watchs, way over priced.

But the Emerald Observatory app is way cool!
posted by BlueHorse at 10:03 AM on January 27, 2014

Cool Hunting has the price as $245,000.

I agree with DarlingBri, the design was a bit meh considering the price point. Just removing the outer ring alone (the one with the numbers and months) already makes a huge difference looks-wise.
posted by divabat at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2014

I'll wait for the version.
posted by lagomorphius at 12:18 PM on January 27, 2014

The butterfly one is gorgeous, but yeah, the Emerald Observatory app is the winner in this thread.
posted by immlass at 6:12 PM on January 27, 2014

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