The Krayon Anywhere Universal Sunrise-Sunset Complication

The Krayon Anywhere Universal Sunrise-Sunset Complication

The sunrise-sunset complication is a surprisingly straightforward one to implement mechanically, and yet it remains relatively rare in a wristwatch. While the complication has existed in clocks for centuries and in pocket watches for many decades (including, perhaps most famously, the Patek Philippe Star Caliber pocket watch, and the Caliber 89, as well as the earlier Graves Supercomplication), it was not introduced in wristwatches until the Jules Audemars Equation Of Time in 2000, which was followed a few months later by the Martin Braun EOS watch (two of the least deservedly forgotten watches of the last two decades Swiss Replica Watches, if you ask me).

The basic problem with a sunrise/sunset watch is that it necessarily can show the times of sunrise and sunset for only a single location. This is due to the fact that the time of both is affected by both latitude and longitude, as well as the time of year and civil time. Any watch with the complication must, therefore, be made for each client individually, as the two cams that control the sunrise and sunset cams are specific to a particular point on the Earth's surface. You can have the cams made for New York, for instance, but if you happen to travel to any other city, the complication will no longer be accurate.

If you are a confirmed homebody breitling replica, or if the watch in question is one that you do not particularly travel with a great deal, the problem is academic. However, those affluent enough and with eccentric enough tastes to want such a watch in the first place, would undoubtedly want to be able to enjoy traveling with the watch without having to explain to every Tom, Dick, and Harry (or Harriet) who asks, first, what it is, and secondly, why it is not working properly in Mallorca when it works just fine in Cincinnati (to pick two locations at random). Additionally, the problem is not just one of owner's ego; while there is something intrinsically deeply satisfying about the sunrise-sunset complication, there is something deeply unsatisfying about its being inextricably functionally bound to a single point on the Earth's surface.

Now, the problem of making a sunrise-sunset complication which can be used anywhere on Earth was finally solved quite recently, by a constructor named Rémi Maillat who is the founder of Krayon. The first Krayon watch was the Everywhere watch, which was a kind of descendant of the medieval universal astrolabe (and with which we went hands-on in 2018). The astrolabe is an astronomical device used to observe, among other things, the altitude of celestial objects, and also to indicate which stars are above or below the horizon at any given time. But, like the sunrise-sunset complication, these were, as a rule, restricted to use in a single location. Eventually, however, universal astrolabes were developed that could account for differences in latitude. The Krayon Everywhere watch did the universal astrolabe one better, however. The Everywhere is essentially a wrist-mounted astronomical computer. You input the necessary data – UTC, latitude and longitude at the desired location – and the watch (also taking into account the equation of time) will show you the correct sunrise/sunset times anywhere in the world.

In addition to its many technical innovations, the Everywhere watch is also quite wearable – just 42mm x 11.70mm which, for a timepiece of this complexity, is a phenomenal accomplishment. The dial layout is also logical, very legible, and aesthetically harmonious. The only disadvantages to the watch are its extreme complexity (over 600 components) and high cost: The Everywhere is quite expensive, with a starting price around CHF 600,000 and going up rather sharply from there depending on desired modifications. With a view to making a watch perhaps more suitable to being worn on a regular basis, while still retaining many of the advantages of the Everywhere watch, Krayon has now introduced the Anywhere watch, priced at CHF 96,000 and CHF 116,000. It is a timepiece which can still show the time of sunrise and sunset anywhere on earth without the troublesome and expensive process of making new cams for every desired location and having them switched out by a watchmaker, although the owner can no longer directly control the necessary inputs. 

A comparison between the two watches shows some immediate and obvious differences. The Everywhere watch wears its complexity lightly, relatively speaking but there is still no doubt that the dial delivers a considerable amount of information, albeit in about as economical and concise a fashion as I can imagine. After all, the Everywhere watch is not merely an instrument which passively displays information. It is rather a mechanical computer, which must show information input as well as the information output by the complex mechanism; in this sense, it is as much an astronomical calculator as it is a watch. The Anywhere watch offers a much clearer dial, which still displays the signature data of both the Anywhere and Everywhere watches – that is to say, the time of sunrise and sunset – but which omits the program input indicator, as well as the latitude indicator (the original Everywhere watch could be set to any latitude from 60º north to 60º south, which are the highest and lowest latitudes where "white nights" can be observed and which therefore mark the practical limits of a sunrise-sunset complication).