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Moonphase watches

Moonphase watches: A lot more than just a complication

Moonphase complication allows a watch to go back to one of the most fundamental influences on timekeeping. With Swiss watchmakers trying to capture every inch of timekeeping, a lot of the high-end models today come with a moonphase display. Moonphase display adds both functionality as well as aesthetics to the watch. But how does it work? Let’s find out.

Moonphase complication: How it works

A moonphase complication is a feature that displays the current phase of the moon on the watch. It changes in real-time throughout the lunar cycle. It is a popular and elegant feature that adds a unique touch to the design of a watch.

Moonphase complication How it works

Moonphase complication works by utilizing a small disc that is located on the watch dial, usually within a subdial. The disc is decorated with an image of the moon and stars that rotate over a period of 29.5 days, which is the length of a lunar cycle.

This disc is divided into two parts, each representing one-half of the lunar cycle. One half is usually painted blue or black to represent the night sky, while the other half is left blank or painted white to represent the moon. The image of the moon appears to wax and wane as the disk rotates, mimicking the actual phases of the moon.

A gear train linked to the main movement of the watch controls the movement of the disc. The gear train is designed to track the lunar cycle accurately and ensure that the disc rotates at the proper speed.

Types of Moonphase complications seen on modern watches

Moonphase watches are among the most adored timepieces. From new moon to full moon, a moonphase watch displays the phases of the moon as it changes throughout the lunar cycle. There are different types of moonphase watches available in the market, each with its own distinctive design and functionality. Here are some of the most popular types of moonphase watches:

  • Simple Moonphase Watches
  • Triple Calendar Moonphas
  • Perpetual Calendar Moonphase
  • Astronomical Moonphase

Simple Moonphase Watches

Simple Moonphase Watches

These are the most popular type of moonphase watches. They feature a small disk on the dial that displays the current phase of the moon. The disk is typically adorned with a moon and stars, and it takes around 29.5 days to complete a full rotation.

Classic moonphase watches are often preferred by individuals who are drawn to the elegance of a traditional design and prefer a watch that is easy to read and operate. For Simple Moonphase watches, Rolex in UAE has the Cellini on offer. While the watch has now been discontinued, you can always find one on the secondary market.

Triple Calendar Moonphase

As the name suggests, these watches do slightly more than just show the phases of the moon. These watches also include a calendar displaying the day, date, and month. Because of their functionality and elegance, they are often referred to as “complete calendars” and are popular among watch enthusiasts.

Perpetual Calendar Moonphase

These are the most advanced type of moonphase watches. Equipped with a perpetual calendar, it automatically adjusts the day, date, and month for leap years. They are highly sought after by watch collectors and enthusiasts and are regarded as a symbol of fine craftsmanship and luxury.

Astronomical Moonphase

Astronomical moonphase timepieces are designed to display the position of the moon in the sky relative to the Earth. The dial on these watches shows the relative positions of the sun, moon, and stars and are often decorated with intricate engravings and designs.

Setting up a Moonphase watch

Typically, a small pusher or button on the watch case can be used to set the moonphase complications. The wearer can align the moon phase display with the actual phase of the moon in the sky by setting the moonphase complication, ensuring that the watch is always accurate and up to date.

Most popular watches with a moonphase complication

Most of the Swiss watch brands have at least one model that features a moonphase complication. As you start looking into these brands, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. Here’s a list of some of them.

Patek Philippe Grand Complications 5270G-019

Patek Philippe Grand Complications 5270G-019

Patek Philippe Grand Complications 5270G-019 is one of the most popular luxury watches that features a moonphase complication. Besides that, it also gets a perpetual calendar, chronograph, and a day/night indicator. The gold moonphase watch features a 41mm case and a hand-stitched alligator strap. The moonphase display is incredibly accurate and only needs to be adjusted once every 122 years.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste

Jaeger-LeCoultre is brand that has always been on the forefront of innovation. This means they have even mastered the art of moonphase complication on a watch with their Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Céleste. With a celestial theme, the watch gets a rotating dial that displays the stars and constellations of the Northern Hemisphere. The watch also includes a moonphase display that accurately tracks the phases of the moon. The 43mm case is made of rose gold, and the watch is powered by a hand-wound movement with a power reserve of 45 hours.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date

vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date

Vacheron Constantin, being a part of the Holy Trinity, has always made extraordinary timepieces. One of them is the VC Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date. The watch features a minimalist and sophisticated design. Available in Rose Gold, the watch features a moonphase display and retrograde date display. The watch is powered by a self-winding movement with a power reserve of 40 hours.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar

When looking for gold moonphase watches, you can never go wrong with the AP Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. The timepiece not only comes with a moonphase indicator but also features a perpetual calendar. Available in a variety of dial options, the watch also gets the signature Grande Tapisserie pattern on it.

Devesh Arora Author WatchMaestro
Written By

Devesh Arora

Devesh Arora is a watch enthusiast and Website Manager at WatchMaestro. He is passionate about watches and loves sharing his knowledge through blog posts here. Every day, he learns more about these timepieces and enjoys simplifying the complexities of watchmaking for his readers. Devesh's goal is to make the world of watches more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

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