Rabbit on the Moon: Revolution × De Rijke & Co. Miffy Double Moonphase
The world’s most beloved cartoon bunny takes center stage in this whimsical timepiece from Dutch independent watchmaker Laurens de Rijke.
Wait, what’s that? The beloved Dutch cartoon character and symbol of optimism, Miffy, is gazing beatifically at you, ensconced in her graceful repose on a crescent moon. Suddenly, you feel all your worldly troubles slip away as you are spiritually uplifted to join her amongst the world of luminous stars. That was precisely the effect that Laurens de Rijke’s wonderful Miffy Moonphase watch had on me the first time I set eyes on it last year. So what could be better than one Miffy sitting on the moon sending you positive energy? How about two Miffies, the second of which is now revealed, thanks to the translucent sapphire dial on the Revolution × De Rijke & Co. Miffy Double Moonphase?
From a technical perspective, this special watch has the added benefit of acting like a dual hemisphere moonphase indicator, giving you a depiction of the waning and waxing of the heavenly body from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. You may feel awash in warm comforting sensations as if swaddled in your favorite blanket. I get it, and you are not alone, such is the positive emotional effect of this timepiece. But let me tell you a little bit more about its creator, Laurens de Rijke, and his fateful meeting with the world’s most edifying cartoon rabbit.
The Vespa, the Vostok and the Watch Brand
Laurens de Rijke got the idea for his watch brand riding a restored 50-year-old Vespa along the Silk Road, making his way from Europe to Asia. As he looked down at his wrist, he realized that the orientation of his vintage Vostok watch made it hard to read while he was clutching his handlebars. So with a deftness of mind and the dogged determination of youth, he set about rectifying this problem. De Rijke looked at solutions offered by traditional driver’s watches such as the Cartier Tank Asymétrique and the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.
Says de Rijke, “Both of these watches are masterpieces of design. However, in both cases, the case is angled and fixed in place. But the reality is, depending on how you drive or if you are riding a motorcycle or scooter, your wrist might be in many different positions. To me, the solution was to create a watch with an inner case that could rotate or pivot, so that you can position it exactly how you want it.” As luck would have it, de Rijke had a degree in mechanical engineering, and while not a trained watchmaker, was highly skilled with his hands. Indeed, he had earned money through school restoring Vespas to concours quality. He was also fortunate to be a brilliant autodidact and soon picked up the skill set of micro- machining from the renowned Dutch industrial designer Bruno Ninaber. To fund the creation of his watch brand, de Rijke sold his prized vintage Vespa, promising himself that if he managed to sell his first watches, he would try to buy it back.
After some experimentation, de Rijke was satisfied with his watch. The two-part case allowed the inner container to rotate 90 degrees, so that the dial of the watch could be oriented to the owner’s preference. He explains, “For those of us who like to ride vintage bikes or drive vintage, the dream drive is the road along the Amalfi Coast [in Southern Italy]. This is a challenging road because it is so narrow, but it is also one of the most beautiful vistas in the world. So, my idea was, if you are piloting your vintage Alfa Romeo downshifting into the turns, the last thing you want is to take your hand off the steering wheel. Using the rotation system on my watch, you can orientate the dial so that it is perfect for you to check the time at a glance.”
Accordingly, the name he selected for his watch was the evocative “Amalfi Series.” At 38mm in diameter and just 9.5mm in height, the original Amalfi Series channeled de Rijke’s love for vintage timepieces and classic proportions. The horse bit lugs, which are made in one piece with the outer case, are charmingly designed and ergonomic. The quality of the 316L stainless steel case, and especially the smoothness of rotation when changing the dial position, speaks of de Rijke’s focus on quality. He explains, “Watches are incredibly tactile. I wanted the Amalfi to be effortless to wear and a pleasure to use. I don’t use any bearings for the rotation but simply worked on the most precise tolerance to create the correct friction between the outer and inner case.” The movement for his watch was the Swiss-made Soprod M100 automatic, which is based on the venerable ETA 2892.
But de Rijke’s brand hit true critical mass in 2022 when he got the idea to put the world’s most beloved rabbit on his dial, and in so doing, created one of the most charming moonphase watches in existence. Says de Rijke, “In the Netherlands, we grow up with Miffy. Even as adults, there is so much affection for this character, which we always equate with a sense of child-like innocence and optimism. So when the opportunity arose to create a watch featuring this famous cartoon character, I was really excited.”
And Miffy is her name
Dick Bruna — the name might sound like a quaint British pudding, but in fact he was one of Holland’s most beloved, prolific and talented illustrators. While he was a devout modernist who fell under the spell of Fernand Léger’s machine art and was intoxicated by Henri Matisse’s bewitching Fauvism as a young man, he is best known for his creation “Miffy” or “Nijntje” — a cartoon rabbit. This small mammal with a beatific countenance might appear deceptively simple in pure artistic terms, but to many art historians, she represents a masterwork of expression through minimalist line drawing and primary colors. The first Miffy book was produced by Bruna in 1955, and since then, another over 30 tomes have followed. In all, her books have been translated into more than 50 different languages and have sold over 100 million copies. She has also been the subject of numerous television series and even the star of her own feature film.
It is the intelligence and charm with which de Rijke integrated Miffy into the Amalfi watch that really distinguishes it from more straightforward mash-ups. Says de Rijke, “Miffy is often told as a bedtime story to children. Many of us remember this. So I thought it would be great to feature Miffy sitting on the moon and have that be a moonphase indicator. But I wanted this to be really visible.”
With that inspiration, de Rijke set about designing one of the largest moonphase indicators in modern watchmaking so as to create a wonderful and visually appealing dial-side animation. But he didn’t stop at that. He also decided to paint all the stars, the moon and Miffy herself, including her dress, with different colors of Super-LumiNova so that in dark environments, she comes to luminous techni-colored life. Says de Rijke, “I like to imagine that owners will take their watch off and put it on their bedside tables. If they wake during the night, they will see Miffy glowing in the dark, like a sort of good luck charm. It reminds me a bit of the night-lights that children have in their rooms.”
Revolution × De Rijke & Co. Miffy Double Moonphase
I remember sitting in the bar of the Hotel Beau- Rivage last year during Geneva Watch Days, when a friend of mine, a well-known collector, happened by the table where de Rijke and I were seated. He noticed the watch in my hands and asked to look at it. He lifted it to his face and paused for a moment. Then he burst into a smile and said, “Dude, you guys did a kind of Lange Lumen version of the Miffy watch!”
Both de Rijke and I laughed as it hadn’t been on our minds, but we realized there were some spiritual similarities despite the vastly different price points. What I respect about de Rijke is that he has set about creating a very real watch brand that expresses both genuine quality and value, especially considering that he makes all his cases himself and assembles the watches himself in Holland. His Miffy watch could have been endearing but unimaginative, yet he has done just the opposite and made it horologically meaningful, in addition to being incredibly charming.
I recall the moment I saw the Miffy watch, I knew I wanted to create a version of it with a see-through dial. Firstly, I wanted to show the inner workings of the extra large 20mm wide moonphase indicator. Secondly, I loved the idea of the double hemisphere moonphase display. I thought that by making the dial either translucent or transparent, it would allow UV light to constantly charge the luminous display with Miffy, the moon and the stars. Fortunately, de Rijke also liked this idea and acquiesced to this collaboration. In order to make the cost of the sapphire dials reasonable, we had to create a series of 100 watches. But we felt that the charm of the timepiece would help it find its audience.
It gives me great pleasure to present the De Rijke & Co. × Revolution Miffy Double Moonphase, made in 50 pieces and priced at EUR 2,888. You might be surprised that, despite the cost of the sapphire dial, we’ve priced the watch around the same price range as the sold-out regular Miffy edition. That was de Rijke’s idea. He explained to me, “As it’s the Chinese Year of the Rabbit and we have a rabbit on our dial, we should give something back to the watch community.” And that is the reason I like him so much.
De Rijke & Co. × Revolution Miffy Double Moonphase will be available on RevolutionWatch.com on 6 June 2023, 10pm SGT / 4pm CET / 10am EST. For enquiries, please email [email protected]
De Rijke & Co. × Revolution Miffy Double Moonphase
Movement: Self-winding Sellita caliber SW 288-1; 38-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and double hemisphere moonphase
Case: 38mm; stainless steel; water resistant to 100m
Dial: Translucent sapphire; Super-LumiNova coated hour markers and moonphase
Strap: Blue leather; stainless steel pin buckle
Price: EUR 3,100
Availability: Limited edition of 100 pieces
MORE SPECIAL COLLABS
FROM THE SHOP
|Self-winding Sellita caliber SW 288-1; 38-hour power reserve
|Hours, minutes, seconds and double hemisphere moonphase
|38mm; stainless steel; water resistant to 100m
|Translucent sapphire; Super-LumiNova coated hour markers and moonphase
|Blue leather; stainless steel pin buckle