In the world of bespoke quartz watches, the Yes Equilibrium may well be the Henry Graves Supercomplication. While decidedly a wrist watch, its large size and myriad features makes it something of an oddball, even among the Pro Treks, Fenixs, and Elementum Terras of the world. Highly in tune with the rhythms of the Sun and the Moon, the yes Equilibrium is a nerdy watch for a rather specific type of crowd, and from sunset to dawn, and everything thing in between, this incredibly niche product manages to be unique among a growing cavalcade of multi-role digital sport watches.
If you want to run a marathon, go with the Garmin Fenix, if you want a tough go-anywhere plastic fantastic, go with the Casio Rangeman. But if you want something truly unique, take a look at the new Equilibrium from Yes watches. The Equilibrium is strange, immensely complex, and unlike anything on offer today.
The natural space to start with this watch is its feature set, but honestly, it’s an insanely long list. If it has to do with the sun or the moon, the Yes Equilibrium has you covered. This solar-lunar functionality is complemented by a contingent of some 650 cities pre-programmed for latitude and longitude, allowing the Equilibrium to show a dial full of information specifically tuned to your nearest city. While not exclusive, these bits of information include time zone, local DST, lunar midnight and noon, morning twilight, moon phase, true midnight, solar zenith, moonrise, and evening twilight. I’ve included two Yes-sourced diagrams above, one explaining the dial display (left), the other explaining the button layout and function (right).
It’s a rather complicated thing, and the Equilibrium manages all of this information using a bespoke Yes V6 24-hour Solunar ana-digital quartz movement that is accurate to +/- 1 second per month. Functioning with a Swiss quartz movement, this custom digital module has been developed by Yes and is recharged via a clip-on USB cable, offering some 2-3 months of use on a full charge (indeed, I have not needed to charge it since it arrived a few weeks ago). The end result employs a titanium case that measures 48mm across, 17mm thick, and some 55mm lug to lug. It’s huge, with tall flanks, a bi-directional bezel, a sapphire crystal, a 24-hour scale of glowing T100 tritium tubes, and a wide digital screen beset with a single central 24-hour hand.
Four buttons flank the the titanium case, and the user interface, while certainly complicated, is not too difficult to learn and offers relatively simple access to the ability to change the local city as well as the controls for a variety of alarms, a chronograph, a timer, and a regatta timer, a compass, and a backlight (which looks great). With both a passive option in the tritium tubes (including the tube set at the end of the 24-hour hand) and an active option in the full backlight, the Equilibrium’s low/no light visibility could not be better.
At a reductive level, the Yes Equilibrium has a very specific set of skills and it is designed to offer its highly local information set anywhere in the world. Yes pre-configures the watch to your home city and then you can define up to nine away cities, allowing you to jump from one to the other at ease (the above image is set to my fourth away city, thus the “A4” is seen left of the time display). Whenever a new city is activated, all of the Equilibrium’s many displays are quickly updated to the new location.
Furthermore, if you’re not near one of the available cities, the Equilibrium can be set manually for longitude, latitude, DST, and timezone. While the UI is complicated, much of the information is shown all at once on the unique dial display, so you’re not cycling through menus to determine something like sunrise time or moon phase, it’s always there. Furthermore, the simple time is actively shown on a digital display at 12.
The Equilibrium is packed with features and settings, including seven possible operating languages, but despite this complexity, it does manage to function as a relatively simple watch. Whether by the 24-hour hand in the pitch black of night or with a glance at the digital display, the Equilibrium doesn’t let its array of abilities get in the way of being a watch.
On wrist, it’s massive, but not unwearable. If you’ve ever worn a Casio Rangeman, then the Equilibrium is in the same vein but much more comfortable and similarly lightweight. The 24-hour bezel can track a second time zone against the 24-hour hand, but there are five bezels to chose from when ordering the Equilibrium, including AM/PM, Solunar, and more. The bezel selection is no less complicated than the watch itself, so I stuck to the easily understood 24-hour option. The titanium three-link bracelet is light and comfortable with a simple fold-over clasp, and Yes offers the option of leather, NATO, and silicone straps too.
Yes watches has been around for a while and though the Equilibrium is their most ambitious product to date, it’s still easily recognizable as a Yes design. The central single hand, digital display, and heavy focus on solar and lunar patterns is a very niche pursuit that Yes has arguably mastered. While I don’t know of any job or role that needs all of this information at a glance, I used the Equilibrium several times to judge sunset timing for a handful of photoshoots. I often photograph cars and the soft light offered just before and just after sunrise or sunset is ideal for a variety of photography needs. With the Equilibrium, not only did I have sunrise and sunset at a glance, I also had indication of twilight, allowing me to easily plan the timing of a shoot.
While certainly a niche product that may or may not offer functionality for your day-to-day, the Yes Equilibrium is interesting within the broader scope of horology. The Equilibrium’s movement is proprietary and its integration with the digital display, while at first seemingly complex, is not inelegant and it offers considerable data without the overload common to complex solar and lunar time displays or multi-function ana-digi designs. Sure, you might need to save the user’s manual to your phone to help get into the flow, but I’d argue Yes has created something unique, both in its execution and its appeal.
Available polished, brushed, or with a black finish, the Yes Equilibrium starts at $695 on your choice of a NATO, silicone, or
a leather strap (or $895 as seen here with the bracelet, plus a spare strap of your choosing). I’d argue that if the Equilibrium appeals to your specific type of watch nerdery, that is a remarkable value. Existing somewhere in the delta between the roughly $250 street cost of a good Casio Pro Trek and the $1,700 (and up) asking price for a Seiko Astron, the Equilibrium offers a unique design and array of features that marries old-school astronomy-obsessed horology with a modern and quirky blend of digital and analog watch design.
For much more information, visit Yes online.