What kind of watch needs an explanatory video? A Nubeo Satellite Watch (a.k.a., the Wandering Hours). Make the jump to see how the NSW works. Before you do, read the product description below and see if it’s true: a picture is worth a thousand words . . .
Two wandering hour marker “Satellites” rotate in orbit across the dial face. Motorized only by the kinetic movement of the wearer’s wrist, a complex jigsaw of gears, wheel and finely tuned precision-engineered parts culminates in the self-powered journey of each satellite. As they do, the correct hour aligns with the semi-circular minute calibrations. Where the satellite and minute hand meet, the present time comes together.
O.K. watch away. Then ask yourself a question: what drugs were the Nubeo Satellite Watch’s designers on when they came up with what is, admittedly, a revolutionary way to tell time? (Pun intended.)
If you don’t want to watch the video above, check out the arrow on the left, marked ten, pointing at 00. The watch is showing 10:00. The numbers on the rehaut – from 00 to 60 – indicate the minutes. Only one arrow-at-a-time points to the time. Except for the beginning of the hour, of course.
The problem with this watch: your eyes are drawn to its center. Looking at these photos, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the numbers framed in white in the center – 4 and 3 – have something to do with the time. In fact, they’re hours-in-waiting – waiting for the dials and, uh, axle to spin.
If Nubeo had blacked the central numbers out instead of framing them date-window style, that would have helped. But they didn’t, creating a legibility issue comparable to trying to read ancient Aramaic. Well, not that bad, but bad enough to put me off the project. And if not that, the price.
watches.com has knocked down the Nubeo Satellite Watch from $2k retail to $1499.99. When a price includes .99 you know someone’s trying hard to flog a product. (Two left! Make an offer!) In this case, for good reason – even without consider the NSW’s gargantuan size (50mm X 16mm) and unspecified “Customized Swiss Automatic Self-winding movement.”
Don’t get me wrong: I celebrate risk takers like Nubeo and Ulysse Nardin, makers of the not-entirely-dissimilar Freak.
Regular readers will note that I highlighted the Nubeo Satellite Watch in the post Everyone Needs One Weird Watch. I stand by my suggestion. There comes a point in every watch collector’s journey where they need to kick out the jams. Otherwise, why would Richard Mille watches exist?
The watch sold at watches.com is the Nubeo Satellite Automatic Pioneer Black. It’s also available direct from Nubeo – at full price – in other dial and case colors: Cosmos White (white on black), Soyuz (dark blue on dark blue), Surveyor (black on black, my choice, above), Ranger (black on bronze) and Interstellar (black on lighter bronze).
Just like the awesome Rhizome, if you wear Nubeo’s space-inspired rotating behemoth, people will ask what the hell is that? And then, like someone who read your joke T-shirt and had a good chuckle, go back to doing what they were doing. And the watch will still be on your wrist.