Enlarged moonphases are this year’s big story as far as feminine complications are concerned as this Oris Artelier Grande Lune proves
We humans have a long-standing fascination with the moon. We construct tales of horrific transformation around it in the form of werewolves and vampires; some women feel their moods are connected to its waxing and waning, while men who sailed the seven seas set their course by it, hoping it would lead them home.
Although usually seen on watches as part of the selection of sub dials seen on a perpetual calendar, in modern life it has little real practical use meaning it generally features as decoration.
However, this year, the complication has come out of the shadows horologically speaking. Cartier’s headline men’s watch from last year, the Drive de Cartier was updated for 2017 with an oversized moonphase at six o’clock while Rolex followed suit by adding one for the first time ever to its Cellini.
And women’s watches weren’t immune. Jaeger-LeCoultre allowed it to be the sole complication in a new version of its Rendez-Vous and Bulgari dedicated the upper half of its Lvcea dial to the lunarscape.
Which is exactly what Oris has done with this latest addition to its Artelier collection.
This is a really elegant piece from Oris. The Artelier collection has always housed its more refined designs but, perhaps because it is an Artelier for women, it feels as though Oris has gone the extra mile to make something sophisticated.
Having the moonphase aperture from ten to two allows the maker to add detail to the lunar surface, which allows it to really show up against the midnight blue sky disc. Diamonds can often be used too abundantly in women’s watch design, but having them on the inner ring below the Roman numerals means that, by using them to frame the outer edge of the cut-away, they romantically imitate the stars.
That said, if you are someone who leans more towards excessive use of precious stones, you can opt for the diamond-set bezel version; an addition that does push the piece into a more “evening wear” style as opposed to the more every-day feel of the unset bezel.
One of the great things about Oris is that, back in the mid-1980s, the company’s then-chairman, Ulrich W Herzog, decided that the company would be known for producing quality mechanical watches at competitive prices. That holds today, which is why Oris remains ridiculously good value.
This is an automatic watch – the movement is a base caliber modified by Oris to house the moonphase module – with diamonds (even just the basic amount) for £1,750. Given that there are brands out there who offer a quartz with the same amount of precious stones for nearer £3,000, it makes this Oris seem like a steal.
And it wears well too. We’ve put it through its paces, but don’t take our word for it. New ambassador and cook Melissa Hemsley, who now has it as her everyday wearer says that, “it’s so comfortable that I forget I’m wearing it.”
It’s rare to find an everyday watch that combines a beautifully interpreted complication with diamonds; that manages to tread that fine line between looking amazing but not so dressy that you only want to wear it for special occasions.
With this Artelier Grande Lune you get, to paraphrase the slogan of a certain Scandi furniture retailer, “the wonderful everyday”. Oris Artelier Grande Lune Date Diamonds RRP £3,400