The world beyond our planet has always been a fascinating source of inspiration for watchmakers. This year, some of them continued to explore their creative ideas with new timepieces. These watches are diverse, ranging from using unusual materials like meteorites to incorporating clever references to Star Trek. Some of them even resemble the mysterious objects that Air Force pilots and regular folks have reported seeing in the sky. Whether you’re a hardcore futurist or someone who appreciates aesthetics, there’s something for everyone among these unique timepieces.
Ulysse Nardin UFO Clocks
This design takes inspiration from spaceships and may remind you of the pill-shaped objects recently seen in the sky. But the concept behind it goes way back to the 18th century when marine chronometers helped sailors navigate using the stars. Ulysse Nardin was known for making these instruments for navies worldwide. These early tools were designed to remain steady on a moving ship, and the Ulysse Nardin UFO follows a similar idea with its cylindrical shape that rocks like a toy.
Although it looks playful, the clock is a serious piece of machinery. It has a balance wheel that operates at a slow pace of 0.5 Hz and is powered by six large barrels, providing a full year of power reserve. You wind it by hand using a key, which can also be used to set time zones on the three unique trapezoidal dials. It includes a mechanism for precise seconds. This intricate timepiece is made up of 675 components. In 2021, three special editions of the UFO were released: ice-blue (exclusive to Bucherer in the U.S.), green (exclusive to Yoshida in Japan), and champagne (exclusive to the Hour Glass in Southeast Asia). Each edition is limited to just 30 pieces, priced at $68,000.
De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius Aérolite
De Bethune is known for producing rare watches, with only about 300 made each year. However, their latest creation, the DB25, takes rarity to a whole new level, as only five are produced annually. What makes this timepiece even more exclusive is its dial made from a Muonionalusta meteorite, displaying a unique crosshatched Widmanstätten pattern. Fragments of this celestial material were found near the border between Sweden and Finland along the Muonio River in 1906, dating back to approximately 1,000,000 B.C.E.
While other brands have used meteorite in their watches, De Bethune’s treatment sets this one apart. The material undergoes a thermal-oxidation process that creates varying shades of blue, resembling the colors of distant galaxies. The surface is adorned with white-gold pins of different sizes, forming a constellation of stars. This pattern can be customized to replicate the night sky on a specific date and location, adding a personal touch to the watch. The price for this exclusive piece is $280,000.
Vianney Halter La Resonance
When it comes to creating watches, having a good understanding of physics is a valuable asset. Vianney Halter’s latest creation explores the concept of resonance, where one vibrating object causes another with similar properties to vibrate at the same frequency. This phenomenon leads to more accurate timekeeping, a principle known since the days of pendulum clocks. In this wristwatch, a pair of spiral-balance oscillators achieves this effect.
While F. P. Journe was technically the first to implement resonance in a wristwatch, Halter puts his own twist on it. His version, inspired by his earlier Deep Space Resonance prototype from 2021, features a classic round case with a sapphire crystal, revealing the watch’s intricate inner workings without the need for a traditional dial. The movement is designed to be assembled or disassembled in blocks, offering a nod to the unconventional nature of space where directions like up, down, left, or right don’t apply. This remarkable timepiece is priced at $331,664.
Urwerk UR-120 Space Black
Since its establishment in 1997, Urwerk has been known for its avant-garde timepieces that often resemble spaceships for the wrist. These watches feature unconventional case shapes and unique displays of time. The UR-120, Urwerk’s latest engineering marvel, maintains this futuristic tradition with a more compact design. It uses rotating hour blocks aligned with a minutes arch to indicate the time. Unlike its predecessors, like the UR-110, this watch reduces its case size to a more wearable 47 mm x 44 mm x 15.8 mm.
The new design also includes flexible lugs and a monochrome black case made of sandblasted titanium with a sandblasted-steel bezel treated with DLC and silicon coating. Beyond its practicality, this watch provides a dynamic horological display beneath its sapphire-crystal glass. The splitting and rotating satellites, highlighted with neon-yellow SuperLuminova markers, create an intriguing visual effect, resembling the Star Trek Vulcan salute every hour. This unique feature earned the watch its nickname, the “Spock.” Adjusting the time forward or backward makes the cubes rotate, split, and close again on cue, adding an entertaining element to timekeeping. The Urwerk UR-120 Space Black is priced at $108,000.