This complication celebrates how far we’ve come with a throwback to days when celestial bodies brought forth our understanding of time.
Long before the genesis of timekeeping devices, mankind’s best grasp of time was afforded by understanding the movements of celestial bodies: the sun, moon, and constellations.
This is how we learnt of the 29-day lunar cycle. Deep in the time of modern civilization, this graphical representation of the passage of time has found its way back into everyday life through moon phase watches. With moon phase apertures, you see the current phase of the moon as it is in the sky.
Is this necessary to tell the time anymore? Certainly not. Can a horology lover appreciate it? Most definitely.
The phases of the moon spoke for the origin of timekeeping long before we turned it into a minute art form, representing the wearer’s connection to something greater than a thousand-dollar accessory: the universe itself.
As Mid-Autumn Festival (read: mooncake season) rolls around, we take a look at five watches that present the moon phase in polished glory.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon
A dazzling celebration of lunar beauty, this pink gold piece functions on a 256-part automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve. On its unique gilt-and-satin dial, the circular moon phase indicator is accompanied by the rendez-vous mark in a starry, pink-gold theme. Adorned with 150 diamonds on the dial and bezel, Rendes-vous Moon is a fine display of Jaeger-LeCoultre's ability to combine watchmaking know-how with aesthetic expertise. W jaeger-lecoultre.com
Harry Winston Premier Moon Phase 36mm
Brilliant and bright in signature Harry Winston manner, this quartz piece is aptly minimal to direct all attention to the central, migrating rose-gold moon. It lies on a blue mother-of-pearl disc, surrounded by 12 brilliant-cut diamonds in gold cabochons to mark the hours. The dial is completed with a simple date-display circle at 6 o'clock and crowned by a bezel fitted with more diamonds. A shiny affair, no doubt. W harrywinston.com
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar
IWC Schaffhausen takes it to the next level with a mirror-like double moon display, depicting its presence in both hemispheres. This perpetual moon phase wouldn't be complete without the perpetual calendar function, powered by automatic, self-winding Pellaton movement programmed for 577 years (with 168-hour power reserve). White gold bezel and embellishments bring a touch of class to the blue dial, a minimal pairing complementing its otherwise complicated design. Clearly, this one is made for those serious about the mechanical prowess of their timepiece. W iwc.com
Blancpain Villeret Carrousel Moon Phase
Another complication pairing is presented by Blancpain, which brings in the carrousel into its modern classic Villeret series. Like the tourbillion, carrousels reduce gravitational effect with two gear trains to control energy and rotation speed. On the aesthetic front, admirable attention to detail is seen in the blue steel serpentine date hand and hollowed hour and minute hands, sweeping across painted Roman numerals that seem to evoke nostalgia for a time before ours. W blancpain.com
Chopard L.U.C Lunar One
Attention is immediately demanded by this moon phase, perfectly capturing our view of the celestial body against a dark, starry sky. It orbits the small second axis on the bottom subdial, while two other subdials tell the scale/ day and month/ year. These come together on a sunray satin-brushed silver dial, punctuated by a large twin-aperture date display at 12 o'clock. A self-winding mechanical movement with 65-hour power reserve keeps this understated beauty ticking, with exceptional water resistance for its range at 500m. W chopard.com
Images courtesy of respective brands.