Richard S. Cunanan

The Moon’s an Illusion

MB&F gives us a second phase.

MB&F is collaborating again with Stepan Sarpaneva, and this time they’re making up a Moon.

When first constructed with the web of metal and sideways display of the new MB&F Blue Moon, you may think you’re seeing the whole picture. But what you’re actually looking at is both less and more than meets the eye.

Although MB&F does great work with friends outside their own circles, there’s a whole section of their time dedicated to working a second time around. They call it Performance Art. Sometimes MB&F will revisit a previous theme, collaborating again with their previous partner to come up with something, well, a little different.

Stepan Sarpaneva

In this case, they’ve revisited their Moon Machine. You may remember the original timepiece from 2012. Well, MB&F and Stepan Sarpaneva are working on making a Moon Phase Projector, designed around the idea that moonlight is a trick of the mind.

You may not know this, but, there is no such thing as moonlight. (We know, that’s a lot to absorb. We’ll wait while you take that in.) Moonlight, much beloved and spoken of by the bards, is a reflection, a glory refracted. It is the light of our Sun reflected to Earth off the surface of our Moon. If you look at it THAT way, it’s a gift, given twice, and altered in the giving, so that’s not so bad a way to think about it.

Now, the last time Stepan and MB&F worked together, they made a beautiful Moon Phase watch with a most distinctive Moon Face on it. This time around, they’re making an illusionary Moon, projected onto a space seemingly too small to hold it.

The projection is accomplished via an optical prism; the optical effect refracts the hours, minutes and moon discs in their flat positions to appear as if they are perpendicular to the engine. Now, the prism is cut to magnify the hours and minutes by 20 percent for greater readability, but not for the moonphase display. So you have a Moon (in Stepan’s image, no less, just like his original sardonic 2012 face for the Moon) being reflected into a display space, much like our own moonlight comes to us, reflected and, perhaps, subtly changed.

I think Stepan himself would not blame me for describing his Moon phase (as I said, based on his own face) as being somewhat of a character. And perhaps, with the new Blue Moon watch from MB&F, he’s taken on a different mode. At the very least – and I don’t blame you for groaning at this joke – he’s gotten a little more reflective.

But the technical aside, check out the MB&F Blue Moon for the timepiece that it is . Reflected Beauty it may be, but there’s a loveliness to the Blue Moon that makes it inescapably authentic. And that’s not just a phase.