Star Struck

More than just stray rocks from outer space, meteorite has long been prized by watch­mak­ers for its nov­elty and tex­tured ap­pear­ance, dis­cov­ers

Prestige (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - LYDIANNE YAP

WHETHER DE­PICTED AS a threat to mankind’s earthly ex­is­tence or ro­man­ti­cised as a shoot­ing star to wish upon, me­te­orites have long been a source of fas­ci­na­tion in pop­u­lar cul­ture. Its oth­er­worldly ori­gins, cou­pled with its rar­ity, lends to its mys­tery and al­lure — mak­ing it as much a topic of gen­eral in­ter­est and a sought-af­ter ma­te­rial for dec­o­ra­tive use. Over the years, me­te­orites have been used in or­na­men­ta­tion run­ning the gamut from ob­jets d’art to wear­able ac­ces­sories, such as jew­ellery and time­pieces.

While it’s hard to de­ter­mine ex­actly which watch man­u­fac­ture pi­o­neered the use of meteorite as a form of em­bel­lish­ment in its di­als, it is safe to say that this ex­otic ma­te­rial has been present in the world of haute hor­logerie for over three decades. Among the ear­li­est brands to make use of such cos­mic rock frag­ments is Swiss watch­maker Co­rum, which fea­tured meteorite in its watches from as early as 1986. The first of its creations fea­tured a face crafted from both the Toluca meteorite (which was found in Mex­ico) and the Devil’s Canyon meteorite (that landed in Ari­zona), within an 18k white gold case.

How­ever, it was not un­til later in the 2000s that watches with meteorite di­als be­gan mak­ing an im­pact on au­di­ences. This trend was ar­guably pop­u­larised by the 2004 Rolex Cos­mo­graph Day­tona Meteorite, which show­cased a face made en­tirely from the well-doc­u­mented Gibeon meteorite and re­mains a highly cov­eted col­lec­tor’s piece to this date. Of the iron va­ri­ety, the Gibeon meteorite con­tains sig­nif­i­cant quan­ti­ties of nickel, cobalt and phos­pho­rous, and was first dis­cov­ered in Namibia by Scot­tish ex­plorer JE Alexan­der in 1836.

In the last decade — par­tic­u­larly the last cou­ple of years — many more watch­mak­ers have taken to in­cor­po­rat­ing frag­ments from other me­te­orites in its horo­log­i­cal creations. In 2015 alone, Parmi­giani Fleurier in­tro­duced it on the dial of its Tonda 1950 Spe­cial Edi­tion Meteorite; Zenith pre­sented the Muo­nion­alusta as­ter­oid (found in a re­gion lo­cated 140km from the Arc­tic Cir­cle, in be­tween Swe­den and Fin­land) in its Pi­lot Type 20 Hom­mage à Louis Blériot watch; and Jaeger-lecoultre gave its Master Cal­en­dar time­piece the meteorite treat­ment, us­ing frag­ments of a meteorite dis­cov­ered and of­fi­cially reg­is­tered in Swe­den.

This year, the trend con­tin­ues with the Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon from French Mai­son Cartier get­ting a meteorite dial edi­tion; De Bethune’s unique ver­sion of its Dream Watch with a chas­sis crafted en­tirely from a meteorite frag­ment that fell 4,000 years ago in Campo del Cielo, Ar­gentina; Omega’s Speed­mas­ter Grey Side Of The Moon “Meteorite” watch, which in­cludes sliv­ers of the Gibeon meteorite; and Louis Moinet’s dou­ble tour­bil­lon Sider­alis fea­tur­ing de­bris from three dif­fer­ent me­te­orites (the Jid­dat al Hara­sis 479, which orig­i­nated from Mars and was found in Oman; the Sa­hara 99555 that landed in the Sa­hara in 1999; and the lu­nar meteorite Dho­far 459, also found in Oman). In ad­di­tion, JaegerLecoultre in­tro­duced the op­tion of a meteorite dial un­der its Ate­lier Rev­erso cus­tomi­sa­tion ser­vice.

See­ing stars yet?

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