You know a watch is downright attractive when non-watch lovers comment on how nice it is. There are quite a few examples of clean, classic aesthetics that speak a universal language. With the release of the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch, the innovative Swiss brand is spreading its message through the dialect of design. To me, the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic is one of those watches, just like the Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase, and the Nomos Lambda, that would look just as comfortable on a gallery wall as it would on the wrist.
I’m often guilty of overlooking Harry Winston’s non-Opus output, but have a firm respect for the brand’s direction in light of their acquisition by the Swatch Group. Continuing with the Opus series was a great move by one of the industry’s giants, as it perpetuates the sense that this brand means business. In the case of the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch, the looks may well get your attention, but the technical execution of the piece is likely to keep it.
The Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic is powered by the HW3203 movement. It is an in-house, self-winding calibre with an operating speed of 28,800vph. The movement’s main complication is a moon phase indicator located in the lower right quadrant of the dial. Above this, a silvered sub-dial displays the hours and minutes. The face also indicates the date by way of a second sub-dial, larger than that of the time itself. A long, thin, pointer-style hand circles a chapter ring bearing the days of the month. This multi-dial overlay arrangement will probably divide opinions, and I keep imagining their presence as being arranged by a compass.
Giving the date so much space is a nice touch from an aesthetic and philosophical perspective. By placing the visual emphasis on the days, rather than the hours and minutes, the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch suggests time is not of paramount importance. It’s a relaxed way to look at life. The absence of a seconds hand renders the dial relatively static. With a minute hand that sweeps instead of ticking, the dial appears to move through its functions languidly. Given that the date hand will jump just once a day (at or around midnight), it’s very likely you’ll never see any great activity on display.
Between nine and eleven o’clock, the Harry Winston wordmark arcs. Punctuating the brand name is a 0.03ct brilliant cut diamond set just before the traditional position of 12 o’clock. Personally, this is the one thing I didn’t like about this watch. That may just be a matter of preference and isn’t really a knock on the watch as a whole.
At 42mm, the rose gold case is hardly too big to be worn by a woman, but the styling suggests a more male focus to me (the intention is for the Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch to be unisex). I think this might have something to do with the relative thickness of the bezel and the bulk around the crown created by the familiar “three bar” design. For that reason, the diamond seems a little unnecessary and possibly even contradictory to me. In a sense, its glittery nature could be intended to evoke thoughts of starlight, which marries well with the moon phase complication, but that’s probably just me reaching for a reason to feel totally comfortable with it.
The Harry Winston logo in rose gold is applied at the 12 o’clock position of the hours and minutes sub-dial. This appears to be a very nicely executed application and fits nicely with the simple colour palette of this timepiece. The Harry Winston Midnight Date Moon Phase Automatic watch is water resistant to 30 metres and comes on a crocodile strap with ardillon buckle. The rose gold version pictured here has a price of $28,400. The watch is also available in white gold for a $29,500 price. harrywinston.com