What is a Moon Phase Watch? And How Does it Work?

A lot of time and effort goes into creating a moon phase watch. They are made using yellow or white gold, diamonds, gems, sapphire crystals, and intricate, high-quality parts for their inner workings. Because it takes time and materials to make a moonphase watch the price range of these watches are very expensive.

What is a moon phase watch?

Moon phase watches are part of a complication. This watch shows the evolution of the lunar cycle of 29 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes through the mechanism. A rather tricky time to count especially 44 minutes, resulting in the most straightforward moon phase mechanism missing a day every two and a half years. But it’s reasonable, so not enough to complain about.

Moon Phase Watches

Early machines of this type were astronomical instruments used to calculate the movements of planets and their relative positions in space, dating long before the clock itself was invented.

One of the first mechanisms of this type we can find is the Antikhitera, a Greek astronomical instrument from around 200 BC, whose fragments were found in the wreckage of a ship that sank in the Aegean Sea.

Most annual and perpetual calendar watches with moon phase displays today are great additions to watch collections due to their stylish character and impressive appearance. Watch enthusiasts are eager to get at least one and add it to their lineup.

How do moon phase watches work?

One of the earliest clock mechanisms developed, a moon phase complication usually involves the placement of two identical moons on a disk beneath the dial.

How do moon phase watches work in 2022

Controlling the movement of the disc is a 59-tooth drive wheel that uses mechanical fingers to advance the disc once a day. After a single lunar cycle of 29.5 days, a second moon appears in the hole, giving a total of 59 teeth (29.5 x 2).

How does the moon phase dial work?

The most common display of the moon phase mechanism is the so-called “chest“. In other words, it is a disk that rotates inside a shaped window, depending on its position, which partially hides the shape of the moon, allowing the wearer to check his condition step.

In addition to this particular mechanism, other methods of marking the phases of the moon have become widespread and in some cases innovative and almost poetic. Nevertheless, the chest system is undoubtedly the most popular, as it is perfect as the main decorative element of a watch face.

Also, rotating disks depicting the moon and the starry sky are often made of precious metals and ornately decorated.

Are moonphase watches accurate?

Most of our moonphase displays are 99.998% accurate, so if your watch is running uninterrupted, you only need to correct one day after 122.6 years. This is achieved with an ingenious mechanical transmission that lowers the rotation of the hour wheel.

Why are moon phase watches so expensive?

Any complication of adding new functions to the watch makes the mechanism more complex and therefore more expensive. For example, let’s say a typical moon phase complication is usually accompanied by an annual or perpetual calendar. It’s easy to understand why watches that offer this poetic feature are usually more expensive than simple watches.

Why are moon phase watches so expensive

Luxury complications such as the moon phase do a lot to give the watch an exclusive aura that catches the eye of the watcher thanks to its luxurious, glamorous, discreet, and timeless beauty.


What is the purpose of a moon phase watch?

A moon phase clock displays the solar portion of the moon as seen from Earth at a specific point during the 29.5 lunar days. It is the time it takes to go from an invisible new moon to a full moon and back again.

Why does my watch have a moonphase?

The watch is equipped with this beautiful complication mainly for historical and aesthetic reasons. Historically, lunar phases have been used in astronomical clocks. Recurring appearances in modern watches are a tribute to the technical wisdom of all watchmakers who perfected their knowledge to achieve these refined results.

Aesthetically, apart from the poetic depicted, the moon phase display reveals an important visual element that draws attention to the dial. It’s like what happens in a tourbillon.

And it’s used creatively to achieve specific results, especially with a classic look. This watch resembles a clown’s face with its moon phase display turning its tongue into its mouth.

Alternatively, as in some chronograph watches from Davosa, such as the Newton Pilot Moonphase Chronograph, the moon-phase display used to enrich the already very complete and sporty dial display.

Who invented the moonphase watch?

Dutch watchmaker Christian Van Der Klaauw has been designing an accurate moonphase complication for 11,000 years. Even more impressively, Swiss watchmaker Andreas Strehler has been developing the precise moon phase complication for over two million years.


Moon watches are the best choice because they take years of manual work, require intricate details, and high-quality materials, and are composed of gold, diamonds, and other ethically sourced gemstones. Most of the brands that make moon watches are luxury brands and more expensive.

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