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August 28, 2018
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August 28, 2018

A Quick Guide To Moon Phase Watches

How they work and why we all love them

One of the most universally loved timepieces are moon phase watches. After all, there is something magical about how the lunar cycle is presented on the dial. It also harkens back to an era of when watchmakers truly began to push the boundaries of movements and complications.

Moon phases have been around since the late 19th century when it was presented on more complicated pocket watches. It is a movement that’s closely tied to time itself, presented in a graphical way opposed to the standard hand and numbers.

But the moon phase is not just an artistic interpretation of time. Ever since mankind began making sense of the days, months and years, the sun and the moon have been major cornerstones of the measurement of time. The lunar cycle was one of the first methods used to calculate the passing of the months. It was also used to measure the tides, which was essential to both sailors and fishermen.

A Quick Guide To Moon Phase Watches

How they work and why we all love them

One of the most universally loved timepieces are moon phase watches. After all, there is something magical about how the lunar cycle is presented on the dial. It also harkens back to an era of when watchmakers truly began to push the boundaries of movements and complications.

Moon phases have been around since the late 19th century when it was presented on more complicated pocket watches. It is a movement that’s closely tied to time itself, presented in a graphical way opposed to the standard hand and numbers.

But the moon phase is not just an artistic interpretation of time. Ever since mankind began making sense of the days, months and years, the sun and the moon have been major cornerstones of the measurement of time. The lunar cycle was one of the first methods used to calculate the passing of the months. It was also used to measure the tides, which was essential to both sailors and fishermen.

How Do they Work?

Typically there are two types of moon phase complications. The most common is a ‘bosom’ moon phase, which offers a graphical approach by displaying the moon disc through the aperture on the dial. The other is a ‘radial moon phase watch, which has an indicator hand tracking the lunar cycle.

It must be said that the ‘bosom’ moon phase is the most preferred presentation by watchmakers. This is because it presents an opportunity to showcase their creativity and mechanical ingenuity to present the lunar cycle.

A mechanical moon phase watch presents a 29.5 cycle of the moon, which is powered by a 59-tooth gear that advances a notch by a mechanical finger every 24 hours. Through a disc with two identical moons on it, a moon phase watch is able to show the current phase of the moon as you see it in the sky.

Why Would You Want It?

Frankly people today do not need a moon phase watch to track the lunar cycle. There’s an app for that on your smartphone. The main appeal of the moon phase watch lies in its timekeeping roots. Tracking the lunar cycle is not just at the heart of timekeeping but it also exemplifies the bravado and creativity of mechanical watchmaking in its purest form.

If anything, it provides us a link to time at its most basic. A time when our ancestors looked to the sky to track the passing of days. It is also a homage to watchmakers and artisans of centuries ago, who decided to raise the watchmaking bar to perfect this awe-inspiring complication.

As such, the moon phase today continues to be one of the most coveted and intriguing timepieces for collectors. Some of these examples below are assuredly in most collections and for good reason too…

To The Moon & Back

The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch needs little introduction. After all it stands as the first watch to be worn on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. The latest iteration of the model featuring a Master Chronometer certification provides even more reliability and excellence.

The 42mm timepiece is powered by an Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. Functionality of the watch includes a small seconds sub-dial, 30-minute recorder and 12-hour recorder, along with the central chronograph function. Omega has also produced variations to the ‘Speedy’ including one with a moon phase complication at 6 o’clock.

For many collectors the Speedmaster is not just stylish and practical but also represents a piece of history. This is why the watch continues to draw in its fans, including the likes of Hollywood A-listers George Clooney and Tom Hanks.

Full Measure Of The Moon

Trust Arnold & Son to redefine what a moon phase could look like. In the Luna Magna, a large three-dimensional moon presents the lunar cycle. Set against a starry sky, the moon made of marble and Aventurine changes majestically with astronomical precision.

The rotating sphere is the largest rotating moon ever incorporated into a wristwatch; it not only displays the renowned decorative techniques of Arnold & Son but also the brand’s enviable watchmaking techniques. Presented in a 44mm, 18-carat red gold case, the timepiece’s functions include hours, minutes, moon phases as well as the moon-phase indicator on the back. Most impressively, the movement only requires one-day correction every 122 years.

A New Horizon

With a moderately sized case measuring just 36mm, the IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 IW459306 is particularly suite for women. The timepiece offers an understated take on luxury with a silver-plated dial and articulated lugs, which gifts it a sleek and stylish profile. A classic moonphase complication occupies the 12 o’clock position, it is presented against a dark blue night sky with a silver moon showcasing the lunar cycle.

Powered by a reliable, 35800 calibre, automatic self-winding movement, which offers a 42-hour power reserve, the timepiece is paired with a blue Santoni alligator leather strap fitted with a three-wing butterfly clasp. On the caseback, IWC pays tribute to Leonardo da Vinci’s Flower of Life, which represents a tireless search for mathematical rules for beauty and proportions.

Artistic Beauty

Sporting a refined 42mm pink gold case, the Duomètre Quantième Lunaire by Jaeger-LeCoultre represents watchmaking and design at its highest level. The timepiece powered by a JLC Calibre 381 manual wound movement offers functions such as a twin power reserve, moonphase and flyback seconds. The beauty of the Duomètre is that it runs on two separate watch mechanisms called the ‘Dual-Wing’ concept, which deliver both precision and efficiency.

The uniquely designed dial is where the watch truly comes alive. Featuring a granular texture obtained by hand-chiselling, the timepiece features a jumping stop seconds at 6 o’clock, hour/minutes subsidiary dial at 2 o’clock and a stunning moon phase aperture with date indicator at 10 o’clock. It is undoubtedly a watchmaking beauty, which is why it is a go-to watch for Robert Downey Jr. who has been spotted wearing the model on a number of occasions.

Ivory Moon

The Grande Seconde is emblematic model of Jaquet Droz. Now it is adorned with a new moon phase display. The Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel features a double level ivory Grand Feu enamel dial, with a red gold applied ring. Beating within the 43 mm red gold case is a self-winding mechanical movement offering a power reserve of 68 hours.

The stylish dress watch offers a pointer-type date display and astronomical moon phases at 6 o’clock. The latter is presented with a blued steel moon disc, along with star and moon appliques in 18-karat white gold and 22-karat gold respectively, which combine to deliver a highly-contrasting look.

How Do they Work?

Typically there are two types of moon phase complications. The most common is a ‘bosom’ moon phase, which offers a graphical approach by displaying the moon disc through the aperture on the dial. The other is a ‘radial moon phase watch, which has an indicator hand tracking the lunar cycle.

It must be said that the ‘bosom’ moon phase is the most preferred presentation by watchmakers. This is because it presents an opportunity to showcase their creativity and mechanical ingenuity to present the lunar cycle.

A mechanical moon phase watch presents a 29.5 cycle of the moon, which is powered by a 59-tooth gear that advances a notch by a mechanical finger every 24 hours. Through a disc with two identical moons on it, a moon phase watch is able to show the current phase of the moon as you see it in the sky.

Why Would You Want It?

Frankly people today do not need a moon phase watch to track the lunar cycle. There’s an app for that on your smartphone. The main appeal of the moon phase watch lies in its timekeeping roots. Tracking the lunar cycle is not just at the heart of timekeeping but it also exemplifies the bravado and creativity of mechanical watchmaking in its purest form.

If anything, it provides us a link to time at its most basic. A time when our ancestors looked to the sky to track the passing of days. It is also a homage to watchmakers and artisans of centuries ago, who decided to raise the watchmaking bar to perfect this awe-inspiring complication.

As such, the moon phase today continues to be one of the most coveted and intriguing timepieces for collectors. Some of these examples below are assuredly in most collections and for good reason too…

To The Moon & Back

The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch needs little introduction. After all it stands as the first watch to be worn on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. The latest iteration of the model featuring a Master Chronometer certification provides even more reliability and excellence.

The 42mm timepiece is powered by an Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. Functionality of the watch includes a small seconds sub-dial, 30-minute recorder and 12-hour recorder, along with the central chronograph function. Omega has also produced variations to the ‘Speedy’ including one with a moon phase complication at 6 o’clock.

For many collectors the Speedmaster is not just stylish and practical but also represents a piece of history. This is why the watch continues to draw in its fans, including the likes of Hollywood A-listers George Clooney and Tom Hanks.

Full Measure Of The Moon

Trust Arnold & Son to redefine what a moon phase could look like. In the Luna Magna, a large three-dimensional moon presents the lunar cycle. Set against a starry sky, the moon made of marble and Aventurine changes majestically with astronomical precision.

The rotating sphere is the largest rotating moon ever incorporated into a wristwatch; it not only displays the renowned decorative techniques of Arnold & Son but also the brand’s enviable watchmaking techniques.

Presented in a 44mm, 18-carat red gold case, the timepiece’s functions include hours, minutes, moon phases as well as the moon-phase indicator on the back. Most impressively, the movement only requires one-day correction every 122 years.

A New Horizon

With a moderately sized case measuring just 36mm, the IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 IW459306 is particularly suite for women. The timepiece offers an understated take on luxury with a silver-plated dial and articulated lugs, which gifts it a sleek and stylish profile. A classic moonphase complication occupies the 12 o’clock position, it is presented against a dark blue night sky with a silver moon showcasing the lunar cycle.

Powered by a reliable, 35800 calibre, automatic self-winding movement, which offers a 42-hour power reserve, the timepiece is paired with a blue Santoni alligator leather strap fitted with a three-wing butterfly clasp. On the caseback, IWC pays tribute to Leonardo da Vinci’s Flower of Life, which represents a tireless search for mathematical rules for beauty and proportions.

Artistic Beauty

Sporting a refined 42mm pink gold case, the Duomètre Quantième Lunaire by Jaeger-LeCoultre represents watchmaking and design at its highest level. The timepiece powered by a JLC Calibre 381 manual wound movement offers functions such as a twin power reserve, moonphase and flyback seconds. The beauty of the Duomètre is that it runs on two separate watch mechanisms called the ‘Dual-Wing’ concept, which deliver both precision and efficiency.

The uniquely designed dial is where the watch truly comes alive. Featuring a granular texture obtained by hand-chiselling, the timepiece features a jumping stop seconds at 6 o’clock, hour/minutes subsidiary dial at 2 o’clock and a stunning moon phase aperture with date indicator at 10 o’clock. It is undoubtedly a watchmaking beauty, which is why it is a go-to watch for Robert Downey Jr. who has been spotted wearing the model on a number of occasions.

Ivory Moon

The Grande Seconde is emblematic model of Jaquet Droz. Now it is adorned with a new moon phase display. The Grande Seconde Moon Ivory Enamel features a double level ivory Grand Feu enamel dial, with a red gold applied ring. Beating within the 43 mm red gold case is a self-winding mechanical movement offering a power reserve of 68 hours.

The stylish dress watch offers a pointer-type date display and astronomical moon phases at 6 o’clock. The latter is presented with a blued steel moon disc, along with star and moon appliques in 18-karat white gold and 22-karat gold respectively, which combine to deliver a highly-contrasting look.

Moon watch complications are beloved, but they are just as fascinating as the Tourbillon. Who was the watchmaker who invented the Tourbillon? Find out here.

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