[Press Release] The Firmamentum is a unique measurement and navigation instrument. Fully in the tradition of the historic watches used for observation, it not only shows the Earth’s rotation through the classic measurement of time, but with the aid of the hour angle it measures the Earth’s rotation around its own axis and the visible movement of the sun, planets and stars in the heavens.
The hour angle defines a full rotation of the Earth on its own axis as being 360 degrees of angular movement. It therefore measures the movement of the Earth not in the classic sense as a unit of time, but rather it defines it in degrees. The hour angle expresses 4 minutes of our time as one degree and 60 minutes as 15 degrees. Due to this division into degrees, navigators can determine their own position on Earth with the help of the hour angle and the visible movement of the sun, planets and stars in the sky.
In order to directly display the speed of the stars – the so-called sidereal time – which is slightly different from the bodies in our solar system, Firmamentum has integrated into it a special mechanism for the direct and exact display of one’s own position with the aid of a heavenly body outside our solar system. It therefore not only shows the solar hour angle, but also the sidereal hour angle in a second display designed to be variable. This second display of sidereal time thus permits Firmamentum to be used for the observation of a heavenly body within our solar system at the same time as the observation of a star outside our solar system. Due to a unique mechanism with a variable-speed gear train, this second display has been designed so that it can switch to the measurement of the regular solar time by means of a pushbutton at the two o’clock position. In this measurement variant, the solar hour angle and the solar time are also directly displayed, therefore making possible the simultaneous observation of two heavenly bodies within our solar system. At the same time, the solar time shown on this variable display can also be set to read regular time and therefore makes Firmamentum, which has been designed to be a true measuring instrument, into a completely normal watch with hour and minute hands if so desired.
Both displays have been designed such that they not only show angular degrees, but also the solar or sidereal hours and minutes used by astronomers. In parallel, the fixed solar time display has been conceived such that it can be additionally used as an adjustable second time zone with a 24-hour display accurate to the minute.
The Firmamentum also has an integrated function that, via a second pushbutton at four o’clock, synchronizes the time in accordance with a time signal. For this purpose it is equipped with a stopwatch mechanism accurate to a second that is activated by pulling the crown into the hands adjustment position. This mechanism can also be independently activated by the pushbutton in the four o’clock position without needing to go into the hands adjustment position. As soon as the pushbutton is released, the watch recommences operation. Both pushbuttons are protected against accidental operation by means of a screw-down protector.
The Firmamentum also incorporates a power reserve indicator that brings the underlying data of the watch to the fore. A stop lever halts operation of the watch movement after a running time of 56 hours – the traditional power reserve of naval chronometers.
With its restrained and discreet design, the dial of Firmamentum directly shows the different values in degrees according to the various navigation methods that are possible with this watch. Anchored in the traditions of navigation, these permit determination of position according to azimuth, the equatorial method and the ecliptic system.