November 1, 2013
by James Lamdin
Around the outer track is a 31 Day Calendar, and Day and Month displays sit just below 12:00. The hands are baton style and like the hour markers, are finished with brown Super Luminova, giving the whole timepiece a great vintage look. Finishing off the design of the Luna, a black ceramic bezel with engraved numerals and triangle markers (also filled with brown Super Luminova) is affixed around the 3mm thick Borosilicate (read: Pyrex) crystal. Borosilicate has a hardness of 8 Mohs, which is almost the same level as sapphire crystal, but will not smudge as easily and has a high temperature resistance. The watch will come affixed to a nylon NATO strap (images show a brown strap which perfectly complements the colored lume), but aviator and NATO style leather straps will also be available as separate options.
Overall, the dial, hands, and bezel are vaguely reminiscent of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s masterful Tribute To Deep Sea Alarm, which I would suspect none of us would declare to be in bad taste.
The beauty of the piece aside, the mechanical elements of the Luna are highly impressive in their own right. It has been previously proven in pieces such as the MIH Watch that impressive high-horology complications can be crafted from industry workhorse movements (in the case of the MIH, an Annual Calendar was built using a modified Valjoux 7750). Nagengast takes that a step further with the Luna, as the base movement is a manual-winding Valjoux 7734 chronograph unit.
Admittedly, I am particularly fond of the 7734, as it powers a number of my favorite sports chronographs from the 1970s. Yet adding a triple calendar and a moonphase function on top of that? Impressive, to say the least. The movement will be decorated with Perlage and visible through a display back.
Well, I can’t give you a final verdict yet, pending some hands-on time with the finished product, but I think it should be pretty clear to you all that this is project that genuinely excites me. The whole concept speaks to me on a level that appeals to my appreciation for “out of the box” innovation.
It should also be noted that TNT has been incredibly forthcoming about the origins of its components. While the movement is entirely Swiss, they make no attempt to hide the fact that the bulk of their other components are sourced and manufactured in Asia. Final assembly and testing will take place in Switzerland. This level of transparency wins them additional points as far as I am concerned.
And what’s more, the limited production Challenger Luna is set to retail for only € 1,198 excluding VAT (roughly $1650 USD by today’s exchange rates). Given the source of components, design of the timepiece and the impressive internals, that’s nothing to sneer at.
If you feel the same way, I recommend you head over to TNT’s website and put in your name for one of the 84 remaining examples… and yeah, I’ve already put in a reservation for one of my own. torsten-nagengast.de