Breguet introduced the first wrist watch with a moonphase representation, the Perpetual Calendar No. 4244, in 1929. Since that time an increasing number of luxury watch manufacturers have been using the moonphase complication to light up their dials and add another point of interest to their displays.
Any function on a watch beyond telling the time is referred to as a complication. The best known watch complications are: The chronograph, the GMT, the world timer, the minute repeater, the annual calendar, the perpetual calendar and the moonphase.
Moonphase watches follow the progression of the moon through its different phases: new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter.
The phases are usually shown on a disc visible through an aperture, or more rarely by a hand pointing at one of the moon phases depicted on the watch dial. In an ordinary moonphase watch, this disc portraying two moons, is driven by a wheel with 59 teeth. A finger advances the wheel by one notch every 24 hours. The lunation (the period of time between two new moons) displayed by an ordinary moonphase watch corresponds to 29.5 days when in reality a lunation lasts 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds (29.53 days). Consequently, the system is one day out every 2 years, 7 months and approximately 20 days.
Some watches incorporate a far more complex and precise system: the astronomical moon phases. The moon disc in this system is driven by a wheel with 135 teeth. The precision of this mechanism is a lunation of 29 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes, reducing the difference between the measured and actual lunar cycle to just one day every 122 years.
- The Sauterelle à lune perpétuelle
Andreas Strehler’s ‘Sauterelle à lune perpétuelle’ is the most precise moonphase watch ever built . It made it into the Guinness Book of Records with a phase of the moon accuracy of approximately 2.045 million years.
The Sauterelle has Andreas Strehler’s unique remontoir d’égalité that provides a constant supply of energy to the escapement.
2. Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Moonphase
Patek Philippe is well known for its complications. The most popular moon-phase watches are in the Grand Complications collection.
This reference 5159G is part of the Grand Complications collection because of the Perpetual Calendar complication (day, month and leap year indicators). The moon-phase aperture on the 5159G is located at 6 o’clock.
3, Frank Muller master calendar
This beautiful watch is much admired by collectors and lovers of fine watches the world over. Very classy design and top of the range mechanics.
Case: 18kt yellow gold
Features: Hours, Minutes, Second, Day, Date, Month, Moonphase
4. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar
Luxury Swiss watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre is the manufacturer with the highest number of in-house-developed movements. JLC's stainless steel reference Q151842A or Master Calendar has a beautiful moonphase indicator at 6 o’clock. In addition to the moon-phase indicator, the dial also has two apertures for the day and month. The date is indicated with a large centralized hand.
Its design is inspired by the historical watch with calendar made by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1945
5. Omega Speedmaster Professional “ Moonphase”
The OMEGA Speedmaster is one of OMEGA’s most iconic timepieces, having been a part of all six lunar missions.
The Speedmaster Professional “ Moonphase” Chronograph features a black dial graced by a small seconds sub-dial, 30-minute recorder and 12-hour recorder along with a central chronograph hand. A fourth sub-dial, at the 12’clock position, has moonphase and date indicators.
6. Christopher Ward C9 Moonphase
The very handsome C9 Moonphase from British watch manufacturer Christopher Ward is a very welcome new addition to the ‘astronomical moonphases’ scene.
The large moon disc's surface is 3D stamped and given a semi-matt galvanic finish, revealing its texture to full effect. The bespoke guilloche pattern on the lower half of the centre dial is inspired by the tidal patterns determined by the moon's gravitational pull.
This high quality watch delivers the usual good value for money that you can expect from Christopher Ward.