Watches: Harry Winston Midnight Moon Phase 42mm (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on May 14, 2014

In Harry Winston’s own words: “One can tell a truly great House by its ability to create a classic – a collection that transcends time and forges its own destiny”. Anyone who is used to reading press releases from the watch industry is fully aware how self-indulgent most (if not all) brands are when it comes to describing their extraordinary achievements or the quality and beauty of their products.

Nonetheless, Harry Winston’s laudatory words used to describe the Midnight collection seem perfectly appropriate. I would even go as far as adding that, in many respects, some of its Midnight watches represent the perfect classic timepieces. And, the new Midnight Moon Phase 42mm represents the perfect example to prove me right.

It all begins with the most refined rose or white gold round case. Nothing could be more common. It is thus a testimony of the brand’s design expertise to give it so much character. It certainly has something to do with its size (42.50 x 10.60 mm): large enough to command respect on the wrist (I really think there is nothing more ridicule than a tiny 36-38 mm watch on a broad wrist) but not too much, though, to maintain a certain elegance. But it is mainly due to the presence of the three beautiful paws at 3 o’clock on the large and gently bevelled rimmed bezel, the slender lugs subtly outlined by two grooves or the notched crown with the brand’s initials.

The most impressive part of the watch though (or is it simply the most obvious one?) is the dial. I have always been a fan of off-centred displays and complex layouts and I am particularly in awe of Harry Winston’s ability of keeping them extremely legible and effortlessly elegant. Positioned at 12 o’clock, a prominent sub-dial circled in gold gives the time of the day. Around a beautifully snailed black (or silver) centre, an expertly brushed slate-grey chapter ring holds the Arabic numeral appliqués as well as the brand’s logo in the same gold as the case.

The moon phase disc located at 6 o’clock slightly overlaps, forming an inverted figure “8”. Two small gold discs symbolising the moon are placed on a silver embossed surface: they appear and disappear behind a black (or silver) transparent surface to indicate the phases of the Earth’s natural satellite. Just beneath, spanning from 3 to 9 o’clock in a semi-circular frame rimmed with gold is the retrograde date indication. Black or silver depending on the model, the parts of the dial without indications are circularly snailed for the upper half and sunray brushed for the lower part. Overall, this extremely sophisticated dial is exquisitely finished and manages to remain elegant enough to suit such a classic model.

And to make sure we are in the presence of a high-end timepiece, the sapphire exhibition case back allows you to admire the movement finish should you decide to flip the watch over. There, you can gaze at the movements of the white gold skeletonised rotor. You can also appreciate the Côtes de Genève decorations, the circular graining and the perfectly bevelled bridges. All signs that you are indeed in the presence of a fine piece of watchmaking with this HW2101 self-winding calibre.

The version with a silver-toned dial is mounted on a brown Mississippiensis alligator strap whereas the model featuring a black dial receives a black alligator strap of the same origin. They are both secured by a traditional pin buckle of the same gold as the case.

If the ability to create a classic piece is indeed the measure of a great House, there is absolutely no doubt that Harry Winston belong to this category…

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: