Prepare to get moonstruck by these lunar-inspired timepieces
Eight new moon phase watches designed to enhance your appreciation of the mysterious orb in the night sky.
In ancient times, Man relied on the sun, moon and stars to measure the passing of time. The moon, for instance, makes a full orbit around Earth in 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 28 seconds, and this literal observation of the lunar cycle was the precursor to the calendar months we’re familiar with today.
Perhaps that is why the moon phase complication in a wristwatch has such a whimsical quality. As it tracks the different phases of the moon in accordance to how it appears if one were to look up in the night sky, it connects the present to a distant past.
Plus, aesthetically, it’s a beautiful complication when compared to more industrial workhorses like the chronograph. The moon phase is typically a disc with two moons revealed via a half aperture. The face of the moon could be a blank slate of gold, a smiley face or textured to reflect the actual moon’s cratered surface. Suffice to say, its design is limited only by the imagination.
Its technical prowess also differs. Simpler moon phases require a manual adjustment every two to three years to correct the difference between civil time and lunar time, while more sophisticated renditions could be accurate for up to 1,000 years.
Here are eight new watches designed to enhance your appreciation of the mysterious orb in the night sky.
A. LANGE & SOHNE GRAND LANGE 1 MOON PHASE “25TH ANNIVERSARY”
The second model in the 25th anniversary collection of 10 watches, it boasts the German watchmaker’s first white gold lunar disc meticulously hand-engraved to create the three-dimensional starlit sky complete with an inlaid gold moon.
Accurate for 122.6 years, the moon phase is located within the hour-and-minute sub-dial, taking up enough space to make it A. Lange & Sohne’s largest moon phase yet.
BLANCPAIN VILLERET QUANTIEME PERPETUEL
A boutique exclusive, this watch features a moon phase complication that is part of a perpetual calendar which also composes the day, date, month and leap year indicators. The moon phase appears in a crescent aperture at 6 o’clock. The latter also features a numbered scale indicating the lunar cycle of 29-and-a-half days.
No adjustment is required until 2100 and when you need to, all you have to do is press on the small levers located on the caseback, a design decision that dispenses with space-hogging pushers on the side of the platinum case.
BOVET RECITAL 23 MOON PHASE
Not only is this the first Bovet feminine watch to feature its emblematic “slope writing desk” case with an inclined bezel, it is also the first time the case is in an oval shape.
Its unique design is aptly paired with a domed moon phase at 12 o’clock, the moon magnified via a circular aperture. Below the moon phase is the hour-and-minute sub-dial of blue aventurine that only enhances the general astronomical allure.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE MASTER ULTRA THIN MOON ENAMEL
The Vallee de Joux manufacture draws upon artisanal skills of more than one hundred years in order to create this elegant masterpiece. The midnight blue dial features guillochage and enamelling done entirely by hand, a skill few possess today, much less with such a high level of sophistication.
The moon phase features a new polished moon against a starlit sky and appears at 6 o’clock within a hand-engraved date counter. Complementing the striking vision in blue is a slim white gold case that measures only 10mm in height.
MONTBLANC STAR LEGACY FULL CALENDAR
The classic codes of the Star Legacy collection – think stainless steel pebble case, onion-shaped crown and the distinctive exploding star guilloche dial motif – are now enhanced with new black Roman numerals as well as a full calendar complication that includes a moon phase.
While the moon phase, day and month are displayed via apertures, the date is indicated by a hand with a red crescent tip that sweeps across a counter of 31 digits.
PARMIGIANI TORIC QUANTIEME PERPETUEL RETROGRADE
One of the most complicated moon phases ever, it displays the cycle of the moon as seen from the North and South hemispheres. Against the backdrop of blue aventurine lie two gold discs, indicating in tandem both phases of the moon.
The automatic movement also operates a retrograde perpetual date that automatically adjusts itself to the correct number of days in a certain month, including the varying lengths of February.
PATEK PHILIPPE GRANDMASTER CHIME RARE HANDCRAFTS
The most elaborate watch on the list, it boasts 20 complications with no less than five chiming functions and, unusually for a mechanical timepiece, an alarm function. In order to fit them all, the watch has two dials.
The front is decorated with hand-guilloched hobnail motif and is where the moon phase can be found in the date counter. On the other side is the perpetual calendar with a central four-digital year display. Despite the complexity, the Grandmaster Chime has been a non-limited collection since 2016, and is enhanced this year with a white gold case and blue dials adorned with hobnail pattern.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN PATRIMONY PERPETUAL CALENDAR ULTRA-THIN
One of the thinnest perpetual calendars on the market, the new Patrimony comes in an 18K 5N pink gold case and a midnight blue dial. Its heartbeat is the legendary 1120 QP calibre, an ultra-thin automatic developed entirely in-house.
It is composed of 276 components and boasts 40 hours of power reserve, yet measures only 4.05mm in height. It’s no small feat since the miniaturisation only increases the challenge of mechanically adjusting the movement to manage calendar irregularities like the leap year.
Despite the wealth of indications, including a 48-month counter, it looks classic and elegant. The moon phase, for instance, is displayed via a gold moon subtly decorated to mimic its surface.