The tracking and recording of time has always been inextricably linked with the mysterious motions of the heavenly bodies, primarily that of the sun around which Earth revolves and of the moon, Earth’s own satellite, whose monthly trek around our planet has inspired astronomers, poets, navigators, and yes, watchmakers to explore and understand its unique place in our cosmos. Watchmakers over the years have expressed their fascination with Luna, both its romantic and scientific aspects, in some of their most creative and innovative timepieces. Here are 25 moon-phase watches available now that we think shine particularly bright.
Lange 1 Moon Phase
The iconic Lange 1, unveiled in 1994 as the flagship of the revived A. Lange & Söhne brand, has been the wellspring of numerous creative variations and additional complications, among them this elegantly appointed model that marries an ultra-precise moon-phase display with an ingenious day-night indicator. The former’s gold moon waxes and wanes over a star-dappled blue disk and tracks the actual lunar cycle with near pinpoint accuracy, requiring adjustment just once every 122.6 years. The watch’s 38.5-mm case houses the German watchmaker’s manufacture Caliber L.121.3, whose luxurious, traditional Saxon decorations are visible through a sapphire caseback and whose 72-hour power reserve is displayed on the dial.
Named for 18th-Century British horologist and astronomy pioneer John Arnold, Arnold & Son appropriately makes the watch with the world’s biggest 3D moon-phase display. Floating beneath an off-centered, white lacquered sundial, centered within a starry aventurine sky, the lunar globe is a full 12 mm in diameter and is positioned perfectly between two sapphire domes on the front and back of the watch, giving the 44-mm gold case a not-unwieldy thickness just shy of 16 mm. The hand-wound Caliber A&S1021 that powers the watch offers an impressive 90-hour power reserve and features an indication on its back side for the age of the moon, which works in concert with the ultra-accurate setting of the moon-phase that replicates the actual lunar cycle of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds.
Trainmaster Moon Phase
Ball Watch Company has its roots in the golden era of rail travel, having once produced the timepieces that kept trains running on time in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The Trainmaster Moon Phase is an ideal watch for a train ride by moonlight, with a 40-mm polished steel case and a straightforward dial with a guilloché pattern resembling rays of moonlight radiating from its center. Below 12 o’clock is the aperture for the moon-phase, whose lunar disk (along with the hour markers and hands) is covered with self-luminous H3 micro gas tubes, which unlike the Super-LumiNova used on most modern watch dials, require no external light source and glow up to 100 times brighter than luminous paint. The robust case shields the self-winding Ball RR1801 caliber from shocks up to 5,000 Gs.
Clifton Automatic Moon-Phase
Baume & Mercier’s Clifton collection has its roots in a style of dress watch that the Swiss brand produced in the 1950s, and its Day-Date/Moon-Phase timepiece channels the elegance of the era. The watch’s round, 42-mm case frames a lacquered fumé dial with a well-balanced array of elements, including a day-of-the-week subdial at 12 o’clock and a moon-phase aperture directly below it at 6 o’clock, the latter also incorporating a date scale indicated by a central hand. The faceted, trapezoid hour markers and sword-shaped “Alpha” hands are hallmarks of the vintage-inspired Clifton family. Inside is the Baumatic BM14 automatic caliber, based on the maker’s first in-house movement, which is notable for its silicon parts, proprietary Twinspir technology for exceptional accuracy, and five-day power reserve.
Villeret Quantième Complet Phase de Lune
Blancpain is one of the world’s oldest watch brands (founded in 1735) and its Villeret series takes its name from the Swiss village where Jéhan-Jacques Blancpain first established his eponymous watchmaking house. The Villeret family encompasses a wide variety of high and low complications, with the Quantième Complet Phases de Lune occupying a spot somewhere in the middle. The dial’s distinctive design features the day of the week and month in parallel windows, the date on a numbered circular scale indicated by a central pointer hand (in the serpentine style typical of Villeret timepieces), and the moon-phase (phase de lune) in a large aperture at 6 o’clock.The 40-mm case contains the automatic manufacture Caliber 6654, which maintains a power reserve of 72 hours.
Classique 7787 Moon Phases
Few watchmakers have been as influential to the world of horology than Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823), and the Classique 7787 Moon Phases takes its aesthetic inspiration from a 1785 pocket watch created by the old master himself. Among the modern watch’s vintage-inspired details are its power-reserve scale, decorated with small arrows, and the tiny stars that mark the minutes, with five-minute intervals marked by stylized fleurs-de-lis. The 39-mm gold case with the hallmark fluted caseband encloses a grand feu enamel dial that tells the time on the familiar hands and numerals that take their name from Breguet and hosts a display for the age and phases of the moon in an arc-shaped aperture at 12 o’clock in addition to the aforementioned, unconventional power-reserve indicator at 3 o’clock, all powered by the manufacture Caliber 591DRL.
Drive de Cartier Moon Phases
Renowned for its unconventional case shapes — from the legendary Tank to the downright offbeat Crash — Cartier added another in 2016 with the launch of the Drive collection, defined by masculine-sized yet thin-profiled, cushion-shaped cases, railroad minute tracks, and guillochéd inner dials. A year later, Cartier added the moon-phase version of this boldly styled gents’ watch, whose automatic Caliber 1904-LU MC (the 1904 refers to the year of Cartier’s founding) drives an “astronomic” moon-phase display, placed at 6 o’clock on the dial, below the hallmark blued sword hour and minute hand, which tracks the lunar cycle in a precise manner and requires no adjustment, Cartier says, for 125 years. The 40-mm x 41-mm case, in steel or gold, is mounted on an alligator leather strap and features the familiar crown with blue cabochon.
Britain’s Christopher Ward added a touch of lunar luxury to its C1 Grand Malvern family of gents’ dress watches with the Moonglow, which boasts not one but two three-dimensional moons on its dial. Coated with Grade X1 GL C1 Super-LumiNova for an intense glow in the dark, these photorealistic lunar disks, positioned directly across from each other, rotate perpetually under a smoked glass and reveal the current moon-phase through an aperture at 12 o’clock. Simultaneously, a rotating date ring coated with the same highly luminescent paint replaces a conventional date window for easy reading of the date at night. Installed inside the steel 40.5-mm case is automatic Caliber JJ04, a Sellita SW220 base with Christopher Ward’s in-house-developed module that adds four wheels to drive the moon-phase function.
DB25 Moon Phase Starry Sky
De Bethune has done more with the lunar complication than most brands, establishing its half-palladium/half-flame-blued steel 3D moon globe as a calling card of its beautiful and complex moon-phase timepieces. The Starry Sky model features a 44-mm case made of white gold, with the indie brand’s well-known, hollowed-out ergonomic lugs, and a striking, blued titanium dial with a polished finish and a firmament of hand-fitted stars made of white gold serving as the backdrop to the curved hands and the spherical moon, its dark side represented by the blued steel sector and its light side by the palladium. Like all De Bethune watches, the DB25 contains an in-house movement, the manually wound DB2105, with a patented silicon balance and a back-mounted display for its five-day power reserve.
Francois-Paul Journe rarely follows the beaten path of other watchmakers when it comes to design, so it’s not surprising that his moon-phase-centered timepiece, the Automatique Lune, has a decidedly idiosyncratic, asymmetrical charm. Launched in 2007 and updated in 2019 with new case sizes (40-mm and 42-mm) and new slimmer crowns with Journe’s distinctive silk-rope motif, the watch features either a silvered or Havana brown dial, the recognizable Journe triangular hands, printed Arabic numerals, and a center section adorned with a clous de Paris guilloché motif. In addition to the signature feature at 7:30, a moon-phase with a new sapphire moon disk, occupying this finely engraved expanse are a large date at 11 o’clock, a small seconds subdial at 4 o’clock, and a display for the watch’s 120-power reserve at 9 o’clock; this impressive running autonomy is bestowed by the in-house movement, Caliber 1300.3.
Classic Moon-Phase Manufacture
Frederique Constant has been producing Swiss-made, complicated mechanical watches at head-turningly affordable prices since 1992, and the Classic Moon-Phase Manufacture — which, as its name suggests, contains an in-house-made movement — is a prime example of the Geneva-based maker’s expertise. Its dial hosts a ring of classical Roman hour numerals, hand-polished, leaf-shaped hands, and a moon-phase at 3 o’clock, balanced out by a hand-type date indicator across from it at 9 o’clock. The three-part steel case has a polished finish and includes a sapphire window in the caseback to showcase the automatic FC 712 caliber, which has an array of decorations, stores a 38-hour power reserve, and allows easy adjustments of the time, date, and moon-phase all through a single crown.
Glashütte Original’s PanoMatic collection derives its name from a portmanteau of two of its signature features: the dial’s “PANOmatic” large date display and the movement’s autoMATIC” winding. The Lunar model, whose most recent update comes in a 40-mm rose gold case and a vinyl-pattern galvanic blue dial, lines up its main timekeeping displays — an hours-minutes subdial and the small-seconds subdial that it overlaps, along a vertical axis left of the dial’s center. To the right of that axis are the eponymous Panorama Date near 4 o’clock and above it, spanning the sector between 1 and 2 o’clock, the semicircular aperture for the moon-phase indication that lends the model its name. Glashütte Original’s in-house Caliber 90-02, visible behind a sapphire caseback, beats behind this complex, asymmetrical face at 28,800 vph while amassing a power reserve of 42 hours.
Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept
Schaffhausen-based H. Moser & Cie. is nothing if not boldly experimental in its watch designs, and one of its most notable initiatives in recent years has been an increasing use of Vantablack, a light absorbing material made of carbon nanotubes and touted as “the blackest black ever produced by artificial means.” For the Perpetual Moon Concept, Moser breaks up the stark, inky darkness of the Vantablack dial with a large, textured white, hyper-accurate moon-phase that can be set to the exact minute by a single pusher in the side of the case. The manually wound Caliber HMC 801 not only boasts a week-long power reserve but incorporates a complex wheel train that maintains the moon-phase’s precision to an astonishing 0.23 seconds per day.
Slim d’Hermès Squelette Lune
Handbag guru Hermès showed its high-watchmaking chops with the Slim d’Hermès collection, which added a model in 2021 that offers the rare horological combo of a skeletonized dial and a moon-phase indication. The watch’s 39.5-mm case, itself a rare mixture, has a bead-blasted titanium caseband, platinum bezel, and white-gold crown and pusher. Under the sapphire crystal lies an openworked dial with matte and polished finishes — which is, essentially, the Hermès Caliber H1953, topped by two blue-PVD-coated hands. The openworked double moon-phase display is in a rounded aperture at 6 o’clock, bordered by a black-gold sunburst flange with a gray transferred minute track. Hermes’ “sprinkling H” motif is among the decorative flourishes on display on the back side of the ultra-thin movement.
Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel
Venerable Swiss maison Jaeger-LeCoultre is loaded with savoir faire on both the technical and decorative ends of high horology, and both are on display in the Ultra Thin Moon Enamel, a limited edition of 100 pieces. The dazzling blue enamel dial has a guilloché finish whose texture is achieved through engine-turning the dial material by hand before the translucent enamel is applied. Made entirely in house by skilled artisans, the dial’s central talking point is the moon-phase display, with a polished white moon, which shares the 6 o’clock subdial with the small seconds display.The ultra-thin, automatic manufacture Caliber 925/2 ticks inside a similarly slender case (just 10.04 mm thick, at a diameter of 39 mm), tallying up a power reserve of 70 hours and showing off its luxurious finishes behind a sapphire caseback.
“Small complications” are the hallmark of Longines’ Master collection, established in 2005 and given a facelift in 2019. The flagship of the timepiece family is this model with a smartly arranged 6 o’clock subdial that combines a moon-phase display in its center with a 1-31 date scale around its border and a central pointer hand that indicates the current day. Leaf-shaped central hands point to the hour and minute (on either Roman or Arabic numerals depending on the model) while a thin baton hand skips around the dial to count the seconds. The steel case (either 40-mm or 42-mm) encases the ETA-based Caliber L899, made exclusively for Longines, which offers a 25,200-vph frequency and a 64-hour power reserve.
Sarpaneva MoonMachine 2
Finnish independent watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva, who built much of his renown on very expressive moon-phase “face” designs, first joined forces with MB&F founder Max Büsser in 2012 for the first HM3 MoonMachine, and the pair reunited in 2019 for the follow-up MoonMachine 2. What makes this avant-garde timepiece special — even within the always eclectic MB&F portfolio — is its projected moon-phase function, in place of Sarpaneva’s usual engraved moon disk. An optical prism refracts the hour, minute and moon-phases in their flat positions so they appear perpendicular to the exposed movement; three moons in total are depicted, all in gold and finished by hand — two on the moon disk mounted between the jumping hour and running minute display, plus a third one directly applied to the rotor of the super-complex movement.
Based in Münster in northern Germany, MeisterSinger has cultivated a substantial following for its iconoclastic single-hand time displays, as well as a slew of Red Dot design awards. One of those was for the Lunascope, which paired the signature gauge-needle hour-and-minute hand with a big, bold, photorealistic moon-phase, the latter feature occupying nearly the entire top half of the dial. The dial’s dark blue sunburst finish blends subtly into the star-filled sky in the aperture behind the golden moon, which is set to be accurate for 128 years — a rarity at this price point — while the central hand offers a surprisingly intuitive reading of the time on the subdivided 12-hour scale. Inside the 40-mm steel case resides a Swiss ETA 2838 automatic caliber, enhanced with an exclusive in-house moon-phase module from MeisterSinger.
Speedmaster Moonwatch Moonphase Chronograph
The Speedmaster Professional chronograph has long been nicknamed the “Moonwatch,” yet it wasn’t until 2016 that Omega equipped its most iconic model with a moon-phase display, which also happened to be the first Speedy to qualify for Omega’s Master Chronometer certification. The photorealistic moon disk that occupies the aperture at 6 o’clock, between the two chronograph registers typical of the Speedmaster, is one that subtly references Omega’s legendary status as the first watch on the moon in 1969: taken from an actual high-resolution photo of the moon’s surface, it includes the tiny bootprint of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, which is visible under a loupe. The time, stopwatch, and moon-phase are driven by Omega’s co-axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9904, ensconced inside a 44.25-mm stainless steel case and renowned for its 15,000-gauss magnetic resistance.
Maestro Moon Phase Automatic
Raymond Weil’s collections take their names from the eponymous founder’s love of music and musicians, and the Maestro Moon Phase Automatic is a veritable Moonlight Serenade for the wrist. At 40 mm in polished stainless steel, the watch has a galvanic dial with a radiating textured motif inspired by waves of musical notes pulsing through a concert hall. Additionally, the outer minute track has an engraved pattern that subtly evokes the grooves of an old vinyl record. The signature moon-phase display, in a crescent shaped aperture at 6 o’clock, breaks the musical waves to draw the lion’s share of interest on the dial, below the central baton-shaped hands. Hidden behind the lyrical dial but evident behind a sapphire caseback is the Sellita-based RW4280 automatic movement that powers the watch.
The dressy Cellini collection is certainly not Rolex’s most high-profile family, but for those seeking an elegantly appointed moon-phase watch with a hint of otherworldly appeal, it might behoove them to check it out. The Cellini Moonphase has a 39-mm case made of Rolex’s proprietary Everose gold, a finely fluted bezel, and a white lacquered dial that opens up at 6 o’clock to reveal the main event: a blue-enameled disk with an appliqué made of meteorite representing the full moon and a thin silver ring standing in for the new moon. A pointer at 12 o’clock on this subdial points to the current phase as the moons rotate through the lunar cycle. Like so many things Rolex, the module that drives this clever moon-phase indicator is protected by a patent, as are numerous elements of the watch’s in-house movement, Rolex Caliber 3195, with automatic winding and a 48-hour power reserve.
Marine Torpilleur Moonphase
As the watchmaker perhaps most associated with maritime history — it made its name as a supplier of marine chronometers to the world’s navies in the 19th and early 20th centuries — Ulysse Nardin has a long relationship with the tides and, by extension, the moon. Paying tribute to that history is the Marine Torpilleur Moonphase, whose dial (either varnished white or sunray blue) combines a large moon-phase at 6 o’clock with a power-reserve subdial directly above it at 12 o’clock in a vintage chronometer-type design. Blued or rhodium-plated cathedral hands reveal the time on elongated Roman numerals, and the small seconds tick continuously on the 6 o’clock sundial surrounding the moon-phase display. Ulysse Nardin’s manufacture Caliber UN-119, with a 60-hour power reserve, steers the ship from inside its 42-mm stainless steel hull.
Patrimony Moon-Phase and Retrograde
Founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin has had ample opportunity over the years to not only develop an endless array of complications but also to combine them in intriguing ways. The Patrimony Moon-Phase and Retrograde Date is a prime example: its elegantly arranged, silver opaline dial features a moon-phase with an additional scale for the age of the moon along with a retrograde date indicator. The former complication is designed to remain in sync with the moon’s natural cycle and thus offers extreme accuracy, while the latter uses a black oxide-treated arrow-tipped hand to point to the date on a 31-day scale and instantly return to Day One at the end of each month. Like all Vacheron Constantin timepieces, it uses an in-house movement to achieve all these functions, in this case the self-winding Caliber 2460 R31L, which beats behind a sapphire window in the 42.5-mm case and amasses a 40-hour power reserve.
Zenith is most famous for its high-frequency chronograph caliber, the legendary El Primero, and the bold, luxuriously sporty timepieces it inhabits, but for its most sober, dressier models, the brand often turns to its other in-house caliber, the Elite, essentially a pared-down sans-stopwatch version of the El Primero. The Caliber 692 that animates the Elite Moonphase gents watch is enhanced with a module to power the moon-phase display but comes in at a svelte 9 mm thick, suitable for a stylish dress watch. Said lunar display occupies a round aperture at 6 o’clock on the slate gray sunray-patterned dial, its phases adjustable via the crown on the side of the 40.5-mm stainless steel case. Joining the moon-phase and the rhodium-plated faceted hands and indexes is a subtle small seconds sundial at 9 o’clock.