Considered the most romantic yet the least practical of all watch functions, the moonphase is a well-loved watch complication of all time. Most often, when it comes to moonphase watches, men go after their aesthetic value rather than their technical prowess. And nobody can blame them, really. Moonphase watches have the ability to win everyone over.
First seen in the Antikythera mechanism in 205 BC — an ancient Greek analogue device used to predict astronomical events — the moonphase complication was later on incorporated into clocks and pocket watches. It was only in the 20th century that watchmakers started featuring this well-loved complication in wristwatches.
It takes 30 days — or exactly 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3 seconds — to complete a lunar cycle. And the moonphase complication tracks the current phase of the moon using sophisticated engineering. The moonphase function indicates whether it’s a new, full, half, or quarter moon. As the moon changes its phase, so does the little moonphase indicator on the dial displayed through an aperture.
When it comes to this elegantly whimsical complication, there are many options to choose from. Here are a few of our favourites.
Patek Phillipe is a Swiss luxury watch designer and manufacturer that offers a vast assortment of masterpieces and complicated watch designs.
For those who love vintage watches, the Patek Philippe Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar Moonphase watch is a classic choice. With features that draw inspiration from the 1940s and 1950s Patek Philippe museum exhibits, this Grand Complications timepiece evokes the Swiss watchmakers’s rich heritage.
The watch comes with the newly developed, self-winding mechanical calibre 324 movement, boasting 45 hours of power reserve. Its lacquered cream dial displays the full calendar and moonphase indicators at 6 o’clock, day and month apertures at 12 o’clock, as well as hands and hours markers. A brown alligator strap completes the look of this elegant dress watch.
Blancpain is one of the top Swiss manufacturers of classic moonphase watches in our world. Founded in 1735 in Switzerland by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the company is ever-booming with new and contemporary moonphase watches.
The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet Moonphase watch is a prime example of the brand’s watchmaking flair. If you love having a durable watch, then you’ll find the stainless steel Blancpain’s watch appealing. This 40mm Blancpain Moonphase watch features a moonphase indicator at 6 o’clock and a full calendar function marked by a thin, wavy hand. The white dial also displays Roman numerals indexes and the hour, minute and second hands. Powered by the automatic Blancpain 6654 calibre movement, this elegant dress watch boasts a 72-hour power reserve and 30m water-resistance.
A black alligator strap completes this sophisticated moonphase timepiece.
Founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt, Omega’s clientele included Britain’s Royal Flying Corps, who used the Omega watches as the official watches of its combat units, and the U.S Army, who used the brand’s watches as the official troops’ watches in 1918.
If you are into vintage-looking watches, then the Omega Speedmaster Co‑Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph watch is perfect for you. One of Omega’s most iconic timepieces, the 44.25mm robust watch highlights a grey sun-brushed dial with a green ceramic bezel ring. The 18K yellow gold indexes and hands, two sub-dials for chronometer and date functions, and a moonphase aperture at 6 o’clock are visible against the grey dial.
Engraved in yellow-gold tone on the green bezel is a tachymeter scale, complemented by the yellow gold chronometer pushers and crown. The lugs stand out in stainless steel. Powered by the OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer 9904 calibre movement, this powerful watch is completed with dark-grey leather band.
Founded in 1847, Cartier is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of fine jewellery and luxury watches. It has launched a series of legendary jewellery and watches collections, including the Tank watch and the Panthere de Cartier jewellery. Cartier is also one of the manufacturers that is big on environmental sustainability, taking measures to reduce its manufacturing effects on the environment.
The Drive de Cartier Moonphase watch is another one of the brand’s iconic pieces. If you’re a fan of stainless steel watches, then you’ll love this moonphase watch. The elegant 40mm stainless steel case is complemented by a white-silver dial and a black alligator leather strap. A sub-dial showing moon phases is visible at the 6 o’clock position. The signature Cartier Roman numerals and blue sword-shaped hands, as well as the blue spinel crown, are also present. The mechanical and automatic winding 1904-LU MC calibre movement powers this sophisticated timepiece.
Founded in 1975, Maurice Lacroix is a Zurich-based watchmaker famous for its Masterpiece and Les Classiques collections. The company was initially part of the Desco company, which mainly traded with silk products. Desco ventured into the clock-making business in 1961 after acquiring an assembly called Tiara in Swiss. Here, Desco started manufacturing private-label watches for third-party clients.
Since 1975, the Maurice Lacroix brand grew on its own and even ceased production of luxury watches for third party clients. Its ability to produce watch cases in-house makes Hublot at par among other luxury watchmakers.
Maurice Lacroix’s vintage-inspired moonphase watches are also among its best sellers. The Maurice Lacroix Les Classiques Chronograph Day Date Phase de Lune watch is one of them. An elegant watch that features scratch-resistant sapphire crystal case, this moonphase masterpiece has a sturdy design and an automatic movement, offering a 38-hour power reserve. A simple moonwatch design sits at 6 o’clock, while a date and date window is visible inside a sub-dial at 12 o’clock. Waterproofed at 30m, this elegant watch is complemented by a brown alligator leather strap for added panache.
Hublot is a Swiss watchmaker founded in 1980 by an Italian businessman, Carlo Crocco. The brand is famous for its edgy, mechanical wristwatches. Although its watches initially failed to attract a single customer in its debut, Hublot crossed $2 million sales in its first year.
The Hublot Classic Fusion Aerofusion Moonphase Skeleton watch is one classic masterpiece in the market. With a stunning skeleton dial with ceramic design and satin finish, the moonphase watch offers luxury and top performance at a go. The skeletonised dial displays luminous silver-tone hours, minutes and seconds hands. The full calendar and moonphase functions sit at 6 o’clock, while the day and month aperture is at 12 o’clock. At the heart of this all-black monochromatic moonphase watch beats the Hublot HUB1131 calibre movement, with a 42-hour power reserve.
With a masculine design, you can wear this powerful watch to any occasion as it complements any outfit. A matching black rubber/leather band completes this robust timepiece.
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