You know a watch company is good when they have an “und” in the name. Und denotes a sort of Old World patrimony, a sense that no matter what happens in the world at large, that old Teutonic “und” will be there to keep things ticking. It’s what you want to see in a watchmaker.
To that end, I’m pleased to report that the Ochs Und Junior Tinta deserves its “und.” This watch, initially wild-looking at first, is a fascinating marriage of form and function that offers a set of very cool features in a very cool package.
First, what is this thing showing? Around the edge you have dots for the current date, starting at the double dot at about 12:01. This is set as you would a normal date setting (although it’s considerably harder to hit the right dot while spinning the crown.) Then you have a standard set of hands with a sweep second hand to tell the time. Finally you have the real draw – an accurate moonphase register that uses a set of rotating disks attached to an ETA 2824 movement.
The 2824 is a very basic automatic movement that includes a sweep hand and date register. The Tinta, then, piggybacks on that movement to drive the moonphase.
Here are the basic specs:
The watch itself is very unassuming until you get a closer look. A bold dot at 12 o’clock suggests that this might be another brand but that dot is set to signify noon. The steel case is watertight and the lugs are inbuilt and solid. The leather strap is very staid as is the plain, featureless back. In fact (barring production updates) the only location where Ochs Und Junior is visible is on the band.
So how does it work? Well, this is where it gets tricky. To set the moon phase you have to straight up turn this thing until your fingers fall off. First you have to set the moonphase to “full” i.e. the dark or light dot at 6 o’clock and then gradually go forward or back from the last full moon. If the last full moon was on the 4th and it’s the 6th, you’re golden. If it’s currently the 25th, you’re going to have to find a comfortable chair.
Once you set it, however, you’re good to go for thousands of years as long as it doesn’t unwind. The moonphase is perfectly accurate and thanks to some cleverly-shaped plates, very readable.
Who is this watch for? Primarily werewolves but anyone who wants a three-hander with a perfectly accurate moonphase will get a kick out of it. The design is very clean and, dare I say it, industrial. This is a “designer’s” watch more than a tool watch, but it’s quite legible and quite handsome. Ochs Und Junior offer multiple styles and colors. It is a handmade watch (except for the movement) so you’re paying for quality.
You’re also getting a watch from the mind of a master. Designed by Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, this watch brings together years of experience in watch restoring, astronomical timepieces, and (not making this up) theoretical physics. Oechslin is also a designer for Ulysse Nardin.
Now for the bad news: the price. At 7400 CHF (roughly $7857.32 US dollars) I’d be hard-pressed to recommend this over, say, a similarly-priced chrono. It does have a single, very powerful complication so I wouldn’t call it a standard three-hander, but you’re paying for the exquisite design and not the movement or materials. If they decided to slum it and sell this with a Chinese movement for $500 I’d tell you to buy four or five, but they didn’t so I can’t. However, given the quality, the provenance, and the style, I’m not going to go on a populist rant here and close with the simple statement that this is a very cool watch at what, in any universe (theoretical or otherwise) is priced at what the market will bear.