Guide to the Best Moonphase Watches (2024)

Moonphase timepieces offer a blend of astronomy and horology, combining the ancient practice of tracking lunar cycles with the precision of modern watchmaking. They’re functional accessories that capture the moon’s poetic rhythm as it waxes and wanes through its phases.

The fascination with the moon’s influence on Earth—ranging from its effects on tides to its place in folklore and mythology—translates beautifully into the artistry of watches designed to mirror lunar changes.

The guide below offers a detailed look at moonphase watches- what they are, some of the best options in the market, and more- so you can purchase with confidence.

What is a Moonphase Watch?

A moonphase watch is a timepiece that not only tells time but also displays the lunar cycle. Typically showcased on the dial, it indicates the current phase of the new moon through a visual representation.

Complication Explained

The moonphase complication involves a rotating disc under the watch face. This disc shows a graphic of the full moon that waxes and wanes through a small aperture.

It completes a full cycle approximately every 29 days 12 hours, echoing the moon’s real-world lunar cycle.

Astronomical Precision

Fine timepieces aspire to match the lunar cycle with remarkable accuracy. Through complex gearing and often proprietary technology, some moonphase watches boast an accuracy that deviates by merely one day every 122 years.

Mechanical Ingenuity

The feature is a testament to the watchmaker’s skill and innovation. Precision gears calculate the intricate lunar cycle. 

High-end watches often use sophisticated technology to reduce the discrepancy between the displayed moon phase and the moon’s light side and actual position.

Best Moonphase Watches

Here are some top picks to include in your 2024 luxury collection:

1. Ball Trainmaster Moon Phase – Stainless Steel, Black Dial ref. NM3082D-LLJ-BK

Ball Trainmaster Moon Phase ref. NM3082D-LLJ-BK
  • Retail Price: S$2,917
  • Private Market Price: S$1,815
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$2,360

The watch features a black dial with a guilloche pattern, hands and markers with micro tritium gas tubes, a date window at 3 o’clock, a moon phase disc with micro gas tubes at the center of the dial, and a sapphire crystal caseback.

  • Production Year: 2019
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Black, with a guilloche pattern and hands and index hour markers with luminous micro gas tubes
    • Bracelet: Brown crocodile leather strap with brown stitches on the sides and a signed tang buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, well-polished, stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moon Phase Indicator
  • Mechanism: Automatic Caliber Ball RR1801 mechanical movement with 25 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

This first watch is a piece of horological artistry and a device that stands the test of time with its robust construction and timeless design.

About

The Ball Trainmaster Moon Phase is a luxury men’s dress watch. It stands out for its well-brushed case with downward-curved lugs, striking black dial with a unique pattern and luminescent detail, and soft strap that fits snugly around the wrist, which adequately epitomize masculine elegance.


2. A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase – Pink Gold, Argenté-Colored Dial ref. 192.032

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase ref. 192.032
  • Retail Price: S$73,700
  • Private Market Price: S$52,062
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$54,020

They include a large double date display at 2 o’clock, a power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock, a small second/day and night/moon phase indicator between 4 and 5 o’clock, an off-center time subdial between 7 and 10 o’clock, and Roman numeral hour markers at 12,3,6, and 9 o’clock on the time subdial.

  • Production Year: 2016
  • Case Size: 38.5mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Argenté-colored, with luminous pink gold hands and Roman numeral/ diamond-shaped hour markers, a large double date display, a power reserve indicator, and a small second/day and night/moon phase
    • Bracelet: Dark brown alligator leather strap with stitches at the sides and a pink gold pin buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, 18-carat pink gold
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Power Reserve Indicator, Moon Phase Indicator, Day/Night Indicator
  • Mechanism: Manually wound Caliber L121.3 movement with 43 jewels, a 72-hour power reserve, and a 21,600vph frequency

According to WatchCharts, its average market price increased from S$51,492 on May 19, 2023, to S$52,062 on May 17, 2024.

Additionally, WatchBase indicates its price rose between 2016 and 2023, starting at S$57,921 on December 7, 2016, and increasing to S$63,346 on March 1, 2020, and S$81,382 on March 23, 2023.

About

The Lange 1 Moon Phase is a luxury unisex timepiece that flaunts astronomical accuracy and aesthetic appeal. It features a perfectly round pink gold case and neat dial with a distinctive moon-phase display intertwined with a day/night indicator, cherished for its exacting representation of the lunar cycle.


3. Breguet Classique 7787 Moon Phases – White Gold, White Dial ref. 7787BB/29/9V6

Breguet Classique 7787 Moon Phases ref. 7787BB_29_9V6
  • Retail Price: S$40,600
  • Private Market Price: S$25,564
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$33,130

They include a grand feu enamel dial, Breguet-style Arabic numeral hour markers, Breguet hands in blued steel, a moon phase indicator between 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock, and a power reserve indicator on an arched track on the dial’s lower right-hand side.

  • Production Year: 2011
  • Case Size: 39mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: White enamel, with blued steel hands, a central seconds hand, and Breguet-style Arabic numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet: Black alligator strap with an 18k white gold pin buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, 18-carat white gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moon Phase, Power Reserve Indicator
  • Mechanism: Self-winding Caliber 591DRL movement with 25 jewels, a 38-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

According to WatchCharts, its average market price rose from S$24,498 on May 19, 2023, to S$25,564 on May 12, 2024.

About

The Breguet Classique Moon Phase is a luxury men’s dress timepiece that exudes elegance and precision. It showcases the brand’s commitment to fine watchmaking and innovation, staying true to Breguet’s original design cues while injecting several upgrades, such as a stylish dial and ultra-precise movement.


4. De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky – White Gold, Blue Dial ref. DB25SJWS3

  • Retail Price: Price available upon request
  • Private Market Price: S$160,000
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$176,932

Its key features are diamond hour markers, a white gold case set with 61 baguette-cut blue sapphires, skeletonized blued steel hands with white gold inserts, a spherical moon phase indicator under 12 o’clock, and a star-studded sky in blued mirror-polished titanium dial inlaid with white gold stars and 21 diamonds.

  • Production Year: 2018
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Polished blued titanium, adorned with white gold stars, blued steel hands with white gold inserts and diamond hour markers
    • Bracelet: Black alligator leather strap with a white gold pin buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, white gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Moon Phase Indicator, Power Reserve Indicator
  • Mechanism: Manual-wound Caliber DB2105V2 movement with 27 jewels, a 6-day power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Investing in it isn’t merely a purchase but an acquisition of a lifetime piece, representing the pinnacle of watchmaking excellence with potential value appreciation due to its craftsmanship and exclusivity.

About

The Moon Phase Starry Sky is a luxury men’s dress watch part of an exquisite line of timepieces depicting celestial patterns on its dial. Known for its traditional craftsmanship paired with avant-garde innovation, it’s a technical marvel and piece of art.


5. Cartier Drive de Cartier Moon Phases – Rose Gold, Silver Dial ref. WGNM0018

Cartier Drive de Cartier Moon Phases ref. WGNM0018
  • Retail Price: S$34,373
  • Private Market Price: S$29,140
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$32,005

The standout features are a moon phase function at 6 o’clock, a cushion-shaped case, black Roman numeral hour markers, an octagonal crown in rose gold set with a blue faceted sapphire, and a dial with a wave guilloché pattern in the center.

  • Production Year: 206
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Silver, with blued-steel sword-shaped hands and black Roman numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet: Semi-matte brown alligator strap secured with an 18mm interchangeable folding buckle made of rose gold
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, rose gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Moon Phase Indicator
  • Mechanism: Automatic mechanical Cartier 1904-LU MC movement with a 48-hour power reserve and a 28,800vph frequency

It retains its value well with time and can even appreciate in value if maintained properly.

About

The Drive de Cartier Moon Phases is a luxury men’s dress watch. It’s part of a collection of watches with a pure, elegant, and refined aura- giving a new name to male-oriented Cartier timepieces aside from stereotypically macho. Its sophisticated design encapsulates the fusion of traditional aesthetics with intricate functionality.


6. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel – Stainless Steel, Blue Dial ref. Q1368480

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel ref. Q1368480
  • Retail Price: S$14,600
  • Private Market Price: S$12,114
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$12,898

They include a moon phase display at the center of a date subdial at 6 o’clock, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the dial, a blue enamel dial, a smooth, well-polished bezel, and a sapphire glass caseback.

  • Production Year: 2021
  • Case Size: 39mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Blue, with a sunray finish, silver-tone hands, and Rhodium-plated baton-style hour markers
    • Bracelet: Black alligator leather strap with a stainless steel double folding buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moon Phase
  • Mechanism: Automatic, self-winding Caliber 925 movement with 30 jewels, a 70-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

As per WatchCharts, its average market price increased from S$11,093 on May 19, 2023, to S$12,114 on May 17, 2024.

Moreover, WatchBase indicates its price increased from S$14,664 on November 4, 2021, to S$18,183 on December 23, 2022.

About

The Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel is a handsome luxury men’s dress watch with a simple yet sophisticated design. It’s part of a respected lineage celebrated for its finesse and craftsmanship. It’s sure to turn heads with its gentle curves, sexy blue enamel dial, and glossy strap.


7. Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Moonphase Chronograph – Stainless Steel, Blue Dial ref. 304.33.44.52.03.001

Omega Speedmaster Moonphase watch ref. 304.33.44.52.03.001
  • Retail Price: S$15,100
  • Private Market Price: S$10,190
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$11,506

Its main features are a fixed bezel with a blue tachymeter scale, a date and running seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, a 60-minute subdial at 3 o’clock, a moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock, and a transparent caseback.

  • Production Year: 2016
  • Case Size: 44.25mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Blue with a sun-brushed finish, luminescent sword-shaped hands, and index hour markers
    • Bracelet: Blue leather strap with a polished-brushed foldover clasp
    • Bezel: Fixed, stainless steel, with a blue ceramic insert with a Liquidmetal™ tachymeter scale
  • Function: Chronograph, Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moonphase Indicator, Tachymeter
  • Mechanism: Omega’s Co-Axial Caliber 9904, a METAS-certified Master Chronometer with 54 jewels, a 60-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

WatchCharts reveals its average market price increased from S$9,598 on May 19, 2023, to S$10,190 on May 17, 2024.

Additionally, WatchBase reveals its price rose between 2016 and 2023, from S$13,930 on March 30, 2016, to S$14,077 on May 1, 2019, S$14,810 on October 1, 2020, S$15,690 on February 7, 2022, S$16,716 on September 1, 2022, and S$17,743 on February 1, 2023.

About

The Speedmaster Moonwatch Moonphase Chronograph is a luxury men’s sports watch that embodies the storied history of Omega’s lunar legacy, complemented by modern precision. Its larger-than-average size, steel case-blue dial design, and moonphase complication add to its allure.


8. Longines Master Moon-Phase – Stainless Steel, Blue Dial ref. L2.409.4.97.0

Longines Master Moon-Phase ref. L2.409.4.97.0
  • Retail Price: S$3,806
  • Private Market Price: S$2,580
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$2,829

They include a moon-phase complication at 6 o’clock with a date ring around it, a minute track around the dial’s rim with Arabic numerals every five minutes, diamond hour markers, leaf-shaped hands, and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides.

  • Production Year: 2019
  • Case Size: 34mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Blue, with a sunray finish, silver-tone leaf-shaped hands, and diamond hour markers
    • Bracelet: Blue alligator leather strap with white stitches on the sides and a deployant clasp buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, well-polished, stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moon Phase Indicator
  • Mechanism: Automatic Caliber L899 movement with a 72-hour power reserve and a 25,200vph frequency

According to WatchCharts, its average market price increased from S$2,509 on May 19, 2023, to S$2,580 on May 17, 2024.

About

This Master Moon-Phase model is a luxury women’s watch. It’s part of the esteemed Longines Master Collection, which saw the inclusion of the moon phase complication in the brand’s catalog. It oozes femininity despite its mostly masculine design with its diamond hour markers, smaller, slender case, and polished bezel.


9. Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar – Stainless Steel, Silver Dial ref. 1-90-02-42-32-61

Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar ref. 1-90-02-42-32-61
  • Retail Price: S$17,302
  • Private Market Price: S$15,100
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$16,920

They include a large 2-disc date display window at 4 o’clock, offset time & seconds sub-dials with a very fine concentric circles guilloche texture, a moon phase indicator at 2 o’clock, luminous blued steel hands, and a smooth, well-polished bezel.

  • Production Year: 2020
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Silver, with a galvanic silver finish, applied silver indexes and blued steel hands with luminous fill
    • Bracelet: Black Louisiana alligator leather strap
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, polished, stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moon Phase Indicator
  • Mechanism: Automatic Caliber 90-02 movement with a 42-hour power reserve and a 28,800vph frequency

It’s an investment in enduring value, precision, and elegant sophistication. Its timeless appeal and technical precision make it a favored choice for most collectors and enthusiasts.

About

Glashütte Original is renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship. This Original PanoMaticLunar is a standout luxury men’s dress model that showcases the brand’s expertise. With its off-centered dial and signature big date function, it captures the essence of both innovation and tradition.


10. Tissot Carson Premium Gent Moonphase – Stainless Steel, Blue Dial ref. T122.423.16.043.00

Tissot Carson Premium Gent Moonphase ref. T122.423.16.043.00
  • Retail Price: S$415
  • Private Market Price: S$349
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$360

They include lengthened Roman numeral hour markers, a quartz movement, a moon phase display above 6 o’clock, a date display at 3 o’clock, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal above the dial.

  • Production Year: 2021
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Blue, with silver-tone leaf-shaped hands and Roman numeral hour markers
    • Bracelet: Blue leather strap with a standard buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, well-polished, stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moon Phase Indicator
  • Mechanism: Swiss quartz movement

According to WatchBase, its price increased from S$477 on December 9, 2021, to S$550 on May 11, 2023.

About

As its name suggests, the Carson Premium Gent Moonphase is a luxury men’s dress watch that combines traditional design with contemporary watchmaking. It’s part of Tissot’s prestigious T-Classic collection, known for its timeless aesthetics, and showcases it with its rounded case, straight lugs, and neat dial.


11. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date – Pink Gold, Silver Dial ref. 4010U/000R-B329

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date ref. 4010U_000R-B329
  • Retail Price: S$71,500
  • Private Market Price: S$42,866
  • Pre-Owned Price: S$47,082

The main ones are a retrograde date display spanning from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock, slim triangular wedges at 3,6 and 9 o’clock, a moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock, a polished pink gold case, and a transparent caseback.

  • Production Year: 2016
  • Case Size: 42.5mm
  • Materials
    • Dial: Silver, with pink gold sword-shaped hands and triangle/index hour markers
    • Bracelet: Dark brown alligator leather strap with a pink gold Ardillon buckle
    • Bezel: Fixed, smooth, pink gold
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Moon Phase Indicator
  • Mechanism: Automatic Caliber 2460 R31L/1 movement with 27 jewels, a 40-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency

Its price has increased by at least 30% between 2016 and April 2024.

About

This Patrimony Moon Phase model is a luxury men’s dress timepiece that’s popular for its retrograde date display and moon phase indicator complications. Its stylish design, coupled with its vibrant personality and unmatched functionality, make it a top choice for the modern gentleman with a taste for the best.


Summary

The following table highlights the moonphase watches above, plus their key features, retail, private market, and pre-owned prices:

Model

Key Features

Retail Price

Private Market Price

Pre-Owned Price

Ball Trainmaster Moon Phase ref. NM3082D-LLJ-BK

  • Black dial with a guilloche pattern
  • Hands and markers with micro tritium gas tubes
  • Moon phase disc with micro gas tubes at the center of the dial

S$2,917

S$1,815

S$2,360

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase ref. 192.032

  • Large double date display at 2 o’clock
  • Power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock
  • Small second/day and night/moon phase indicator between 4 and 5 o’clock

S$73,700

S$52,062

S$54,020

Breguet Classique 7787 Moon Phases ref. 7787BB/29/9V6

  • Grand feu enamel dial
  • Breguet-style Arabic numeral hour markers
  • Breguet hands in blued steel

S$40,600

S$25,564

S$33,130

De Bethune DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky ref. DB25SJWS3

  • White gold case set with 61 baguette-cut blue sapphires
  • Skeletonized blued steel hands with white gold inserts
  • Star-studded sky in blued mirror-polished titanium dial inlaid with white gold stars and 21 diamonds

Price available upon request

S$160,000

S$176,932

Cartier Drive de Cartier Moon Phases ref. WGNM0018

  • Moon phase display at 6 o’clock
  • Cushion-shaped case
  • Dial with a wave guilloché pattern in the center

S$34,373

S$29,140

S$32,005

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel ref. Q1368480

  • Moon phase display at the center of a date subdial at 6 o’clock
  • Blue enamel dial
  • Sapphire glass caseback

S$14,600

S$12,114

S$12,898

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Moonphase Chronograph ref. 304.33.44.52.03.001

  • Fixed bezel with a blue tachymeter scale
  • Date and running seconds subdial at 9 o’clock
  • 60-minute subdial at 3 o’clock

S$15,100

S$10,190

S$11,506

Longines Master Moon-Phase ref. L2.409.4.97.0

  • Minute track around the dial’s rim with Arabic numerals every five minutes
  • Diamond hour markers
  • Leaf-shaped hands
S$3,806

S$2,580

S$2,829

Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar ref. 1-90-02-42-32-61

  • Large 2-disc date display window at 4 o’clock
  • Offset time & seconds sub-dials with a very fine concentric circles guilloche texture
  • Moon phase indicator at 2 o’clock

S$17,302

S$15,100

S$16,920

Tissot Carson Premium Gent Moonphase ref. T122.423.16.043.00

  • Lengthened Roman numeral hour markers
  • Quartz movement
  • Moon phase display above 6 o’clock

S$415

S$349

S$360

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date ref. 4010U/000R-B329

  • Retrograde date display spanning from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock
  • Slim triangular wedges at 3,6, and 9 o’clock
  • Polished pink gold case

S$71,500

S$42,866

S$47,082

Historical Evolution of Moonphase Watches

Moonphase watches have a storied past that intertwines with the history of timekeeping itself. Ancient civilizations, such as the Sumerians, Egyptians, and Chinese, monitored the moon’s phases, utilizing these observations in crafting lunar calendars. 

This deep fascination laid the groundwork for what would evolve into the moonphase watch complication. Here’s a timeline highlighting key moments in the evolution of moon phase watches:

  • 1300s-1400s: Early mechanical clocks featuring astronomical complications, including phases of the moon, began appearing in Europe. These were mostly large public clocks.
  • Late 1600s: The first portable moon phase watches appeared. These pocket watches often included other complications such as date and time.
  • 1700s: Watchmakers in England and Switzerland began to refine the accuracy and designs of moon phase complications, incorporating them more frequently into high-quality pocket watches.
  • 1800s: As watchmaking skills improved, moonphase complications became more precise and widely available. They were often featured in grand complication watches, which included multiple functions such as calendars and chronographs.
  • 1920s: With the shift from pocket watches to wristwatches after World War I, moon phase complications were adapted into wristwatch formats, though they were still relatively rare and seen as luxury items.
  • 1940s-1950s: This era saw a peak in the popularity of moon phase watches. Luxury watchmakers like Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Omega produced elegant moon-phase wristwatches, which are highly prized by collectors today.
  • 2000s-present: Modern watchmakers have continued to innovate, integrating high-precision technology with traditional designs. Moon phase watches now often feature extremely precise gearings that can remain accurate for hundreds of years.

During the Renaissance, astronomical watches gained prominence, embodying a blend of art and science. 

The moonphase complication, however, came into its own in the 17th century. These early timepieces represented the moon’s cycle by simulating its waxing and waning on the dial, a method that remains largely unchanged.

By the 20th century, horologists miniaturized these complications to fit within wristwatches. Wristwatches like the Rolex 8171, released in 1949, placed the moon phase by itself at six o’clock, thereby spotlighting this enchanting feature.

Today, moonphase watches are celebrated not only for their functionality but also as symbolic homages to the ancient human endeavor of tracking time. 

How Moonphase Watches Work and Their Accuracy

The following section deals with moon phase display mechanics, moon phase watches’ precision, and how to calibrate them.

Mechanics Behind The Moon Phase Display

A moonphase watch incorporates a special mechanism to track the lunar cycle, typically lasting 29.5 days. At the heart of this function is a rotating disc, often placed beneath the watch dial. This disc displays a moon that gradually wanes or waxes, visible through an aperture on the watch’s face.

The moonphase complication is driven by a gear train specifically designed to emulate the moon’s orbit. With an average lunar cycle of 29.5 days, these gears rotate the moon disc at a calculated rate. 

For instance, for every 24 hours, the disc moves slightly to reveal the moon in its current phase. A typical moonphase watch will have a 59-tooth gear, accounting for two lunar cycles (29.5 x 2) on the moon disc, with two moons depicted on it.

Accuracy of Moon Phase Watches and How to Calibrate Them

Regarding accuracy, the traditional moonphase watch can deviate by a day every two and a half years because the actual lunar cycle is roughly 29.53 days. 

More advanced moon phase watches may employ additional gearing to enhance precision. For example, some high-end watches are so accurate that their moonphase displays will only be off by one day every 122 years.

To calibrate a moonphase watch, it must first be set to the correct phase of the moon. This process may require referencing a lunar calendar or utilizing specific tools provided by the manufacturer. Once set, the watch will need occasional adjustments, typically during routine service, to ensure its continued accuracy.

The Art and Craftsmanship of Moonphase Watches

Moon phase timepieces boast impressive artistic charm and unmatched craftsmanship. Here’s a detailed look at both features:

Artistic Aspects

Moonphase watches are renowned not only for their technical prowess but also for their exquisite artistry: 

  • Dial Design: The dial of a moonphase watch is a canvas on which the dance between art and science is most vividly displayed. Often, these dials feature intricately painted or enameled skies within which a meticulously crafted moon travels. 
  • Hand-Engraving: The lunar disc is sometimes hand-engraved, adding depth and realism to the representation of the moon’s surface. 
  • Materials: Designers may also incorporate precious materials such as mother-of-pearl or blue lapis lazuli to evoke the night sky.

Craftsmanship

The craftsmanship behind these timepieces is an exercise in precision engineering and a testament to the art of haute horlogerie.

Complicated gearings are required to accurately depict the moon’s 29.5-day cycle, a technical feat that continues to inspire watchmakers today. It is the marriage of:

  • Complex Mechanisms: For precise lunar cycle tracking
  • Artisanal Skill: Hand-finishing of dials and moon discs
  • Premium Materials: Gold, sapphire crystals, and luxury leathers that lift moon phase watches into the realm of luxury items. 

Each aspect of a moon phase watch’s design is executed with meticulous care, from the choice of strap that complements the dial to the finish on the movement visible through a transparent case back.

Buying Guide for Moonphase Watches

The following are some pointers to help you buy the timepiece of your choice:

What to Look for When Purchasing a Moon Phase Watch

They include:

  • Movement Type: The watches typically feature either a quartz or mechanical movement; batteries power the former, while the latter uses a winding mechanism and is often favored for its craftsmanship.
  • Materials Used: Choices range from stainless steel to precious metals, and the choice often affects both the look and durability of the watch. Sapphire crystal is a top choice for the watch’s glass due to its scratch resistance.
  • Brand Heritage: Brands with a long history in watchmaking often provide not only a superior product but also a story that adds value to the timepiece.
  • Price Range: Moonphase watches vary widely in cost, from affordable options to luxury investments. Budget accordingly, keeping in mind both current affordability and the potential for long-term value.

Maintenance and Care for Moonphase Watches

Proper maintenance is crucial for the longevity and functionality of moonphase watches.

Best Practices for Maintaining and Caring for a Moon Phase Watch

Some of the main ones are:

Daily Care

Avoid exposing your watch to extreme temperatures or magnetic fields. Occasional gentle wiping with a soft cloth can remove dirt or smudges.

Water Resistance

If the moonphase watch isn’t water-resistant, you must be cautious to prevent moisture from seeping in.

For water-resistant models, it’s important to check the seals’ integrity regularly and after any significant impact.

Winding and Setting

If you don’t wear your mechanical moon phase watch daily, wind it regularly to ensure consistent movement. The moon phase feature often requires a manual setting. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely when adjusting it to match the lunar calendar.

Service

Professional servicing every few years is recommended to maintain the watch’s mechanics. It’s crucial to address any signs of malfunction immediately with a professional service to prevent further issues.

Common Issues

Moon phase watch owners often encounter issues with their timepieces. Here are some of the main ones and their solutions:

Inaccuracy of the Moon Phase Display

Problem: A watch’s moon phase complication might not always align perfectly with the actual lunar cycle. Most moon phase watches approximate the lunar cycle to 29.5 days, while the actual cycle is about 29.53 days.

Solution: This slight discrepancy can cause the watch to be off by a day every two and a half years or so. Adjust the moon phase display regularly. Consult the watch’s manual on how to adjust the moon phase; this usually involves using the crown or a specific pusher.

Complex Set-up and Adjustment

Problem: Setting up or adjusting the moon phase can be complex, especially in watches that include multiple complications.

Solution: Refer to the user manual for specific instructions on setting up the moon phase. If you lose the manual, many manufacturers provide digital copies online. For intricate adjustments, it may be best to visit a professional watchmaker.

Maintenance and Servicing

Problem: Like any mechanical watch, moon phase watches require regular maintenance to ensure smooth operation. This maintenance can include cleaning, oiling, and adjusting.

Solution: Take your watch for regular servicing by a qualified watchmaker. The typical interval for watch servicing is every 3 to 5 years, depending on the manufacturer’s advice and the watch’s performance.

Durability and Wear

Problem: Components in moon phase watches, particularly those with additional complications, can be delicate and susceptible to wear or damage.

Solution: Handle the watch carefully, especially when setting the moon phase or other complications. Avoid exposing the watch to extreme environments unless it is specifically designed to withstand such conditions.

Battery Life (for quartz models)

Problem: Quartz moon phase watches require battery changes, which can be frequent if the watch has multiple functions.

Solution: Ensure a professional who can reseal the watch correctly changes the battery. This helps maintain its water resistance. Battery life can typically last 2-3 years but always refer to the manufacturer’s guidance.

Final Word

Moonphase watches offer a blend of astronomical history and horological craftsmanship. They’re not just timekeeping devices; they’re a testament to human ingenuity in artistry and engineering.

Key Takeaways

  • Moonphase watches display the lunar cycle on the dial, typically through a 59-tooth or 135-tooth gear system that rotates to show the moon’s current phase.
  • They can range from very affordable, such as the Tissot Carson Premium Gent Moonphase ref. T122.423.16.043.00, to exquisitely luxurious, like the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase ref. 192.032, making them accessible to various enthusiasts.
  • They utilize complex movements to track the lunar cycle effectively, allowing them to display the moon’s phase accurately for over a century without adjustment.

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