By Harlan Chapman-Green
Ochs und Junior, not exactly a household name in watchmaking, is it? Founded in 2006 in Lucerne, Switzerland, Ochs und Junior is still a new brand looking to find its place in the world. This new day/night watch from the company is their latest creation, which involves a healthy dose of open pore wood and a lot of creativity which we’ve become accustomed to from the brand. In a bid to make one of the most practical dressy type watches on the market, Ochs und Junior have triumphed in making a watch that is not only practical but good looking and utterly intriguing too.
The developer of the watch, Dr Ludwig Oechslin, set out to create a watch that answered the most important questions, such as ‘where is the moon?’ and ‘how long until the sun sets?’. In doing so, he’s created a watch which displays no less than seven different things:
Length of day and night
Sunrise and sunset
The position of the sun and moon currently
The phases of the moon
How can it possibly do this? The first two should be abundantly clear to you, the time and date sit in the middle of the dial. Orbiting this raised part is where the fun stuff happens. The light part around the top of this band is the day, and the dark part near the bottom of the dial is the night, a solid gold disk represents the sun while a creamy coloured disc with a hole punched in it represents the moon. As the seasons change, the length of the days gets longer or shorter, so parts of the dial and slide up or down to reveal more of that day/night ring around the outside. Depending on where you are in the world this will be different, so Ochs und Junior customises each watch to suit the location of the client, so it will always show the correct day/night. Obviously, the position of the sun or moon in relation to those coloured sections of the ring represents sunrise and set, and you can quite accurately predict these just by seeing where the night turns to dark and lining it up with the time dial in the middle.
A small pusher at the 6 O’clock position is used to hold the sun disk in place, this allows you to adjust for daylight saving time and such, so the hands move, but the disc does not. To determine the phase of the moon, you need to look at where the moon disk is in relation to the sun disk. When the sun disk is quarter of the way around the dial clockwise in relation to the moon disk, you are at the first quarter moon, this is known as a ‘waxing moon’. When the moon disk is opposite the sun disk, you’ll have yourself a full moon. When the moon disk is a quarter of the way behind the sun disk it represents a ‘waning moon’, and when the moon disk is completely hidden by the sun disk you have yourself a new moon, so it’s not visible at all in the sky. To tell what the solar noon is, you need to wait until the middle of the day, the sun disk may not pass the 12 O’clock marker on the time dial at the same time as the minutes hand, that is the solar noon, the point where the sun is the highest in the sky.
Did you know this romantic, dainty watch has something in common with the big and brutish Ulysse Nardin Diver Deep Dive I reviewed earlier this year? To keep all this solar goodness going, and to have an excellent reputation for using high-quality parts, the movement inside the Ochs und Junior Day/Night is sourced from Ulysse Nardin. The calibre UN-320 sits at the heart of this watch, it’s an automatic calibre made in-house by Ulysse Nardin, and it’s inside the Hammerhead edition watch as well as a few other UN models, and this watch of course. It has a 50-hour power reserve and finds itself seated inside a 40mm titanium case, though a 43mm version will be available upon request. That’s very much how this watch works, while the basic mechanics don’t change, these watches are very flexible regarding styling, and Ochs und Junior is very accommodating of the ideas from their customers. The case is water resistant to 50 meters.
If you check out their website, you’ll be amazed to see that Ochs und Junior lists the manufacturer of the different components, where it doesn’t make them. I won’t list them all here, but it’s well worth a look.
This watch will start at 14,850 Swiss Francs, that’s excluding taxes, and I have no doubt customising it will drive that price up even more. It’s undoubtedly a fresh and smart watch from a small brand that has gone above and beyond our expectations.Visit Ochs und Junior here.