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The Moonphase Mystique

The moonphase is one of the more elegant complications in the world of watches.

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The moonphase is one of the more elegant complications in the world of watches. As the name indicates, a moonphase watch accurately traces the phases of the waxing and waning moon through its monthly lunar cycle. The phases are usually displayed via a moving disc with two moon images, and are seen through an aperture on the watch dial. In a regular moonphase watch, the disc is driven by a wheel with 59 teeth. A finger pushes the wheel by one notch every 24 hours, with the total lunar cycle being completed in 29.5 days. But in reality, a lunation, when measured accurately, takes 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds, because of which an ordinary moonphase watch is wrong by one day every 2 years, seven months and 20 days. This is why the more expensive watches feature a more accurate moonphase mechanism called astronomical moonphase. Their moon discs are driven by a wheel that has 135 teeth. These moonphase watches are off by only one day every 122 years. Some of these watches also display the `age of the moon’ which indicates the number of days since the previous new moon. Here, we list some of the best moonphase watches in the market right now.

Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture

The ivory-coloured dial with sunray decoration and applied silver indexes is a major addition to the collection’s existing classic palette of tones, including ivory, blue cobalt and chocolate dials. The dial displays the central hour and minutes hands and the detailed moonphase and date counter, complete with an illustration of the moon and stars. It comes in a 42 mm steel case and is powered by the in-house automatic manufacture calibre. All functions are adjustable via the crown, with no pushers. The see-through back-case reveals the finely decorated movement. It has a 42-hour power reserve.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar

This full black addition to AP’s line of Royal Oak Perpetual Calendars is made from hand-finished black ceramic. The 41 mm case is virtually scratch proof. Day, date, month, week, the leap year and an astronomical moonphase are displayed on the dial’s outer chapter ring. The self-winding watch’s larger calibre 5134 is visible through the glare-proofed sapphire crystal case back. It has a power reserve of 40 hours.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon

With this watch, Jaquet Droz has integrated an astronomical moonphase into one of its legendary models. Located in the lower dial dedicated to the date, with a majestic direct-drive seconds hand, the moon disc is made of blued steel in two models and onyx in the third. Tiny gold stars shimmer on a backdrop of dark blue and deep black in these miniature nocturnal works of art. Each day, the moon disc rotates clockwise. A corrector positioned at 8 o’clock enables adjustment of the moonphase with a simple push of the stylus that accompanies the timepiece The 43 mm case comes in stainless steel and red gold, while the dials are in ivory with Grand Feu enamel, silver opaline and black onyx. It is driven by a self-winding movement with a power reserve of 68 hours.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moonphase And Retrograde Date

The silver opaline dial of this watch combines a retrograde date indication, graduated from 1 to 31 across the upper dial arc, with an astronomical moonphase that appears on a pink or white gold disc, depending on the version, set against a star-studded backdrop, visible through an opening in the lower half of the dial. The age of the moon – meaning the number of days that have elapsed since the last new moon – can be read off on a graduated scale around this opening. It comes in an 18K white gold, 42.5 mm case and is powered by a mechanical, self-winding movement with a power reserve of 40 hours.

Jaeger-Lecoultre Duomètre Quantième Lunaire

Featuring Jaeger-LeCoultre’s famous Dual Wing concept, where two distinct mechanism are used for precision time keeping and to conserve power, this watch features a two hemisphere moonphase on its Opaline magnetite grey dial, along with the usual hours, minutes, seconds, date and jumping stop seconds with zero/reset system. It comes in a 42 mm, 18K pink gold case and is powered by the manually wound, mechanical Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 381 movement. It has a power reserve of 50 hours.

Iwc Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

This is the first watch from IWC that combines the well-known mechanical chronograph with a perpetual moonphase display on a sub-dial, in a new complication module. The moonphase is displayed by a disc, partly silver- or gold-plated, partly dark blue, which rotates to show the shadow of the earth and the waxing or waning moon below an aperture in the dial. In order to achieve this, IWC’s watchmakers had to design the in-house self-winding calibre that powers the perpetual calendar’s other functions: the date, month, day and fourdigit year display. The moonphase display diverges by just 1 day in 577.5 years from the actual phase of the moon. It comes in a 43 mm, red gold case.

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Grande Date Full Open

This self-winding, skeletonworked chronograph, equipped with a column wheel and a silicon escapement, stands out for its crystal-clear sapphire dial that features two transparent blue-and grey-tinted counters for the moon and sun phases, on twin discs at 6 o’clock. The moon disc rotates every 59 days (two lunar cycles) and the day/night disc makes one full turn in 24 hours. The large date at 2 o’clock – shown by two concentric discs with cut-out numerals – is read off against a bright red background in an engraved aperture. It comes in a 45 mm steel or bicolour case. The El Primero 4047B automatic movement has a power reserve of 50 hours.

Ulysse Nardin Executive Moonstruck

This new version of the legendary watch packs a large number of complications along with the astronomical moon-phase. The painted earth at the centre provides an earthbased view of the various functions, including the movement of the sun and the moon, as also to indicate 24-hour GMT time and tide timings. The moonphase is indicated in relation to its position vis-à-vis the sun. The date indicator is on the bezel. It comes in a 46 mm, 18K rose gold case. The self-winding movement, which can be seen through the transparent case back, has a power reserve of 50 hours. It is a limited edition of 100 pieces.

A.Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase

This successor to Lange’s first moonphase watch from 2002 combines the astronomical moonphase display with a day/night indicator. A solid-gold moon pursues its orbit in the foreground on the solid silver/black dial. Behind it, a celestial disc – also made of solid gold – performs exactly one revolution every 24 hours. On the disc, the different times of day are represented by varying blue hues, caused by interference effects. During the day, it shows a bright sky without stars, while at night it depicts a dark sky with prominently contrasting laser-cut stars. Thus, the moon always orbits against a realistic background that doubles as a day/night indicator when setting the watch. The 38.5 mm case comes in white gold, pink gold and platinum. The manually wound movement has a power reserve of 72 hours.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Perpetual Calendar 10306

This perpetual calendar with a moonphase comes in a 42 mm red gold case. The four counters on the silver coloured opaline dial indicate the month, day, date and the moonphase. The perpetual calendar does not require any date correction before 1st March 2100. The automatic movement has a power reserve of 48 hours.

Oris Artelier Complication

This new version of the watch from the 1990s combines day, date and moonphase with a 24-hour second time zone function. There are two versions, both in 40 mm stainless steel cases – one with rose gold-plated hands and hour markers and a brown leather strap; and a second one with blue hands and hour markers and a blue leather strap. In both, the moonphase is in two colours. The second-time zone is adjusted using the pusher at 4 o’clock. It is powered by an automatic movement.

Hublot Spirit Of Big Bang Moonphase

The iconic 42 mm tonneau case of this watch is made from titanium or 18K King Gold, and comes in four versions. Beneath its sapphire crystal is visible the open-worked architecture of the HUB1770 hand-wound skeleton movement, enhanced by a quartz dial that comes in blue, orange, pink or purple. The monochrome dial features a semi-transparent sand-blasted disc that reveals two alternating moons in matching shades at 6 o’clock. A lunar cycle is reproduced in a large, round window that completes one revolution every two lunar months. The small second is at 9 o’clock, and a large date is displayed on a double analogue disc between 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock. The selfwinding movement has a power reserve of 50 hours.

Chopard L.U.C Lunar One

This famous perpetual calendar, the flagship model from Chopard’s L.U.C collection, is now available in this 100-piece limited series, with its 43 mm case made from platinum. The perpetual calendar indications appear on a lower level, surrounded by bevelled rims that highlight them. The moonphase display features a deep blue sky, studded with the actual stars of the Northern Hemisphere. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of 65 hours.

Rolex Cellini Moonphase


The Cellini collection celebrates the eternal elegance of traditional timepieces with a contemporary touch. The lines are sober and refined, the materials noble, the finishing meticulous. It combines Rolex’s high standards of perfection with an approach that heightens its watchmaking heritage. The watch features a white lacquer dial with a blue enamelled disc at 6 o’clock, showing the astronomical moonphase in the form of a full moon and a new moon, the former depicted by a meteorite applique and the latter by a silver ring. The moonphase is read via the indicator set at 12 o’clock on the sub-dial, as the full moon and new moon rotate through the lunar cycle. The Cellini Moonphase displays the date around the circumference of the dial, via a centre hand with a crescent moon at its tip. This watch is driven by a selfwinding mechanical movement manufactured by Rolex, with a power reserve of around 48 hours. The 39-mm case comes in 18K Everose gold. It is fitted on a brown alligator leather strap with a folding crown clasp in 18K Everose gold, a first for a Cellini model.