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Magic Numbers – Our Big Date Display is a wonder to behold

Quite possibly the largest display from a single window ever seen on a watch, our signature Moser oversized date function ensures that you’ll never miss the dawning of Venus’ trine with a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction – whether that means taking out your NASA-style telescope and a star-mapping app, or making a bold romantic gesture to the object of your affections.

Once upon a time, in a land not-so-far away, mathematics, physics, astrology, astronomy, and alchemy were intricately connected ‘sciences’. In fact, 16th Century wizzes (or wizards?) John Dee, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and even Isaac Newton himself experimented in all of these disciplines. Not satisfied with the purity of numbers or the mystery of the planets, these polymath pioneers made instruments to measure the unmeasurable, and created formulae to calculate the unquantified.  

Some of the earliest clockmakers – like Swiss astronomer and mathematician Jost Bürgi – collaborated and shared innovations with the eccentrics and geniuses of the age.  Early clockwork was an invaluable tool for measuring the movement not only of time, but the planets themselves, replicating their paths in the first ‘planet clocks’ or mechanical globes.  Since its very beginnings, H. Moser and Cie. has carried the wand – er, baton – of ingenuity and invention, keeping that bit of mystery and magic alive. With our signature oversized date display, we’ve changed a ‘frog’ of a function into a veritable ‘prince’. 


Reinventing the Wheel 

While “big date” complications are usually reserved for high-end and luxury watches, they’re not without flaws.  For instance, they usually feature two wheels, one for each of the two digits in a 30/31 day month. These are split into two windows, often with an obvious difference in depth –  one appears lower beneath the dial than the other. Like a fourth-grade planetary model wobbling erratically in orbit, it does the job. But, as Kepler himself would say, there is great beauty in accuracy.  A millimeter of error? Might as well be a mile. 


Two Become One 

…And so, we put on our thinking capes and calculated a solution.  The Moser oversized date is in fact formed of two superimposed date wheels: rather than two windows showing the individual (often illegible) digits of the date, we’ve made the two digits into a single number on the same horizontal disc.  One disc contains the numbers 1-15, while a second takes over from the 16th to the end of the month.  In order to achieve this bit of streamlined sorcery, an aperture in the top wheel pauses to reveal the second wheel of dates below, which then advances independently.  


Size Matters

In most things, as we all know, size comes second.  It’s what you do with your date (display) that counts.  But when it came to designing Moser’s signature oversized date display, we made sure that both form and function were bigger – and better– than ever before.   One of the most common features found in mechanical watchmaking, the date function usually leaves much to be desired. Most often, it’s small in proportion to the dial, fragile to use, and can only be set forwards.  But with an Abracadabra – and a workshop full of dedicated watchmaking ‘alchemists’ – Moser has relegated these defects to ancient history. The largest display we know of, not to mention flexible, elegant, and easy to use, the Moser oversized date is regulated by an innovative central wheel that gives it a vital power:  to change the date at any time, forward or backward.


The Witching Hour

But our inventions aren’t limited to mere appearance, arrangement or size.  With the stunningly accurate Moser Flash Calendar system, the date changes instantaneously at the ‘witching hour’ (that’s midnight to you millennials), unlike standard date displays which advance gradually between 9:00 PM and 3.00 AM.  Most watches cannot be manually changed between these hours, without risking damage to the mechanism – or indeed the entire movement. Last but not least, our date is always perfectly aligned in the center of the date window, without the “drag” effect common in standard date displays during their long and drawn-out shift.   Like all great feats of engineering… it looks a lot like magic. Don’t believe in magic? Come and see for yourself – our Endeavour Perpetual Calendar and Pioneer Perpetual Calendar models have ‘got your number’.


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