The Chinese calendar is as demanding as the perpetual calendar, because it combines the elements of the solar and lunar cycles. With the Endeavor Chinese Calendar Limited Edition, H. Moser & Cie. has succeeded in harmoniously combining such complex celestial phenomena and their various displays in a single watch.
Developed in collaboration with its partner, Agenhor SA, the Swiss independent luxury manufacture produces this bravura timepiece in a limited edition of 100 pieces. It is presented in a red gold case with a diameter of 40mm and a height of 13mm and paired with a midnight-blue sun-ray fumé dial which features crescent-shaped windows. They display the Chinese lunisolar months and lunisolar days as well as the moon phase via retrograde hands. At 12 o’clock, two windows indicate the Chinese lunisolar year and the associated animal zodiac, as well as the embolismic month number in case the current year consists of 13 months.
As we know, a calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. Since ancient times, they are based on the calculations of the movements of celestial bodies. While the Gregorian calendar is exclusively solar, the Chinese calendar is primarily lunar, as it tracks the cycles of the moon, but takes the sun into account at the same time, making it even more complicated. This system is referred to as a lunisolar calendar. Rich in cultural and traditional symbolism, it has its roots in the observation of nature thousands of years ago, and makes it possible to follow the rhythm of the lunar solar terms and four seasons, which was essential to agriculture in China and elsewhere. With the Endeavor Chinese Calendar Limited Edition, H. Moser & Cie. pays tribute to this complex system.
Demonstrating the brand’s technical prowess on the field of über complex calendar timepieces, it displays the months and days of the Chinese calendar, the days of the Gregorian calendar, the moon phases, and the signs of the zodiac that are associated with each Chinese year. As the lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, Chinese months have 29 or 30 days, in keeping with the phases of the moon, which takes 29.53 days to orbit the Earth. There are 12 lunar months, which means that a lunar year lasts an average of 354.36 days and therefore has 10.88 days fewer than a solar year, which lasts 365.25 days. In a purely lunar calendar, the months shift with respect to the seasons, each month starting around 11 days earlier in every subsequent solar year. To avoid an excessive discrepancy with the solar year, lunar calendars have a 13th month every two to three years. These months are known as “embolismic” and are added to keep the lunar years aligned with the four seasons. The Endeavor Chinese Calendar Limited Edition also takes into account and indicates this extra month.
As there are no repeated cycles in the Chinese calendar, it is mechanically impossible to produce a Chinese perpetual calendar. H. Moser & Cie. and Agenhor SA therefore undertook a major challenge in choosing to make a timepiece that is able to precisely indicate all the lunar calendar information for every 12 years without any corrections. This feat was made possible within the self-winding genuine movement HMC 210 by two cams that work in parallel and convey information on the number and duration of Chinese months using feelers. Therefore, the Endeavor Chinese Calendar Limited Edition will also take into account the number of Chinese lunisolar months and their duration, the embolismic months, the Chinese lunisolar year and the corresponding animal of the Chinese zodiac, the lunar phases, and the dates of the Gregorian calendar, for a duration of 12 years. At the end of this cycle, the cams will need to be changed for the next 12-year period.
It is also notable that the HMC 210 offers a power reserve of three days and equipped with a genuine Straumann hair spring. This high-end haute horlogerie movement is finished meticulously with Moser striping on the plate, perlage and engravings.
Pricing for the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Chinese Calendar Limited Edition is marked at CHF 88,000, or about $97,500 when converted to USD.