The Moon phase function is the simplest and most prevalent astronomical complication. It is also one of the most attractive and bewitching of complications, a reminder of the beauty and mystery of our neighbouring satellite. Considered more of an aesthetic choice than a complication of intrinsic utility, moon phase watches have become a perennial favourite with their miniature recreations of the different phases of the Moon displayed in an aperture on the dial. So, take a look at our A-V Top Ten moon phase models and get ready to be moonstruck by their beauty – both superficial and mechanical – and in some cases, by their astronomical prices!
A Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Moon Phase
As Germany’s most prestigious watchmaker, A. Lange & Söhne brings all its mechanical and aesthetic codes to this beautiful moon phase watch for women. Fitted with a moon phase complication that will not need correcting for 122.6 years, the Little LANGE 1 also features the brand’s hallmark outsize date, the up/down power reserve indicator and an asymmetric dial. Housed in a pink gold 36.8mm case, the dial is embellished with exquisite guilloché decoration and pink gold accents, while the phases of the golden moon transit against a starry sky. The immaculately finished and decorated in-house movement reveals the hand-engraved balance cock, another reference to Saxon watchmaking tradition.
Quick facts: 36.8mm diameter x 9.5mm height – 18k pink gold – guilloché decoration on dial with large date, off-centred hours and minutes, power reserve indicator and precision moon phase complication – calibre L121.2 in-house manual-winding – 3Hz – 72h power reserve – white alligator strap – EUR 38,000 – more information www.alange-soehne.com
Breguet Classique Dame 9088
If you prefer a more classic look and a smaller, daintier-sized watch, this moon phase model by Breguet fits the bill. The 30mm white gold case is set with brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel and lugs revealing a Grand Feu enamel dial with Breguet’s signature codes on view; from the slightly inclined Arabic numerals to the open-tipped hands in blued steel and the secret signature. The moon phase indicator, set against a traditional blue sky features a ‘Man in the Moon’ face at 6 o’clock and doubles up as a small seconds counter. Below deck, more Breguet inventions like the self-winding movement and balance spring meet 21st-century developments like the escape wheel and lever in silicon. This particular model comes on a lavish white gold bracelet with a dynamic chevron pattern often seen on the guilloché work on the dial.
Quick facts: 30mm diameter x 9.8mm height – 18k white gold with fluted caseband – bezel and lugs set with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds – 30m water-resistant – welded lugs with screw bars – sapphire crystal caseback – grand feu enamel dial – Breguet calibre 537L automatic – Swiss lever escapement and balance spring in silicon – 3.5Hz – 45h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds and moon phase functions – 18k white gold bracelet – EUR 50,000 – more information www.breguet.com
Frederique Constant Manufacture Slimline Moonphase
With a less daunting price tag, the Slimline Moonphase model offers a fairly traditional yet feminine take on the complication and is equipped with an in-house Frederique Constant automatic movement. As part of the Manufacture Collection, models in this family are considered the most technologically advanced. The case measures 38.8mm and is made from rose gold-plated steel with a sprinkling of diamonds on the bezel and an old-school onion crown. The silver dial is slightly curved and is decorated with diamond and rose gold-plated hour markers. Simple yet elegant, the moon phase complication is placed at 6 o’clock and incorporates a date function on its periphery.
Quick facts: 38.8mm diameter x 11.17mm height – rose gold-plated stainless steel – bezel set with diamonds – 30m water-resistant – sapphire caseback – silver dial with diamonds and gold-plated indices – FC-703 automatic calibre – 4Hz – 42h power reserve – hours, minutes, date and moon phases – alligator strap – EUR 5,390 – more information www.frederiqueconstant.com
Glashütte Original PanoMatic Luna
Another proposal from Germany’s watchmaking epicentre in Saxony, the PanoMatic Luna displays the phases of our friendly satellite in a crescent-shaped aperture on the upper right part of the dial. Housed in a steel case (the largest in our selection) with a diamond-set bezel, the silvery moon is depicted with a slight relief against a starry sky providing a striking contrast to the dark (Tahitian) mother-of-pearl dial. Glowing with its natural pearly iridescence, the dial displays the traditional Panorama double date – in a feminine oval-shaped window – and the off-centred hours and minutes ring with diamond markers intersected by a small seconds counter. Inside, an in-house automatic movement with fine finishes and the traditional swan-neck fine adjustment.
Quick facts: 39.40mm diameter x 12mm height – stainless steel – bezel set with 64 brilliant-cut diamonds – crown with diamond- sapphire crystal caseback – 30m water-resistant – Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial – 18 brilliant-cut diamond indices – Glashütte Original manufacture automatic Calibre 90-12 – 4Hz – 42h power reserve – ¾ plate with stripes, swan-neck fine adjustment – alligator strap with pin buckle – EUR 17,400 – more information www.glashuette-original.com
IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36mm
Launched in the 1980s, the Da Vinci was revamped in 2017 and presented in a 36mm case size with rounded contours more suited for women’s wrists. This 3-hand Moon Phase model comes in a stylish polished stainless steel case with a dome-shaped crown and the redesigned articulated lugs that let the strap sit comfortably on the wrist. The blue and silver colour scheme of the dial – with its applied blue Arabic numerals and blue hands – is echoed in the moon phase counter at 12 o’clock. The complication is extremely precise and will diverge from the actual phase of the Moon by just 1 day in 577.4 years. The automatic movement is hidden by the caseback, which in turn is engraved with a Flower of Life motif – a nod to Leonardo da Vinci’s pursuit of beauty and proportion. The blue alligator leather strap is made by the renowned Italian leather company Santoni and is fastened with a three-wing butterfly clasp.
Quick facts: 36mm diameter x 11.7mm height – stainless steel – 30m water-resistant – automatic Calibre 35800 – 4Hz – 42h power reserve – hours, minutes seconds and moon phase complication – blue Santoni alligator strap – EUR 8,850 – more information www.iwc.com
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Medium
Launched in 2012, the Rendez-Vous was Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first collection made exclusively for women. Now one of the brand’s most successful timepieces, the Rendez-Vous includes this dreamy iteration housed in a 34mm pink gold case with a diamond-set bezel. The silvered dial features the large black numerals intrinsic to the family and a lovely central area decorated with guilloché. However, what catches the eye is the large golden moon in a round aperture at 6 o’clock and its golden grainy texture. Fitted with the most precise moon phase complication in our line-up of Top Ten candidates, that only needs to be corrected once every 972 years, the bumpy lunar surface is recreated on the moon and the guilloché pattern on the dial is continued on the moon phase disc. Powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Calibre 935A, this automatic movement offers a 40-hour power reserve and can be admired through the exhibition caseback. The matching leather strap features an easy change system allowing you to exchange it for any of the tempting array of strap colours offered by the Maison.
Quick facts: 34mm diameter x 9.56mm thick – 18k pink gold brushed and polished finishes – 60 brilliant-cut diamonds in bezel – sapphire caseback – 30m water-resistance – guilloché details on dial and grainy golden surface on moon – JLC automatic Calibre 935A with precision moon phase complication – 4Hz – hours, minutes, seconds, moon phases – interchangeable alligator leather strap – EUR 23,600 – more information www.jaeger-lecoultre.com
Jaquet Droz Eclipse Aventurine
A delightful proposal from Jaquet Droz with a sparkling blue aventurine background and diamonds, the 39mm steel Eclipse Aventurine gets its name from the ingenious ‘eclipse effect’ enacted over the surface of the moon. Instead of revealing the different phases of the moon in a traditional aperture, the silver moon is static and placed directly on the dial. To show the current phase, a round-shaped shield is deployed from the bottom of the dial. Although the hallmark eight-shaped motif is not present, there are eight stars around the moon. In addition to the phases of the moon, the watch displays the days and months in apertures and the date with the squiggly, serpentine hand.
Quick facts: 39mm diameter x 13.04mm height – stainless steel set with 176 diamonds – 30m water-resistant – blue aventurine dial – Jacquet Droz automatic Calibre 6553L2 – double barrel for 68-hour power reserve – 4Hz – hours, minutes, days, date, month and moon phases – dark blue alligator strap – steel ardillon buckle – EUR 23,800 – more information www.jaquet-droz.com
Parmigiani Tonda Metropolitaine Sélène
With its elegant design and sensual contours, the Tonda collection has “classic-in-the-making” written all over it. Meaning “round” in Italian, this 33.7mm stainless steel model comes on a dreamy white mother-of-pearl dial which has been carved with a delicate lacy lotus pattern in the centre. Peering out above the wispy pearly clouds, the moon is peppered with craters to recreate the lunar surface, complete with lunar seas. The indices are made from applied 18k rose gold and the hands are classic Parmigiani Delta-shaped with luminescent coating. A larger white opaline subsidiary counter at 6 o’clock provides the small seconds and date. Running on an in-house automatic movement, the watch has a power reserve of 50 hours.
Quick facts: 33.7mm diameter x 9.6mm height – stainless steel – bezel set with 72 diamonds – sapphire crystal front and back – 30m water-resistant – mother-of-pearl dial with lacework – PF318 in-house automatic movement – double barrel for 50h power reserve – 4Hz – hours, minutes, small seconds, date and moon phase – pearly white calfskin strap – steel pin buckle – EUR 13,200 – more information www.parmigiani.com
Patek Philippe 7121J Moon Phases
No list would be complete without a model from Patek Philippe, especially since this Maison has always promoted complications for women from day one. The Ref.7121 first appeared in 2013 and is fitted with a precision moon phase complication that will only need one correction every 122 years. The 33mm yellow gold case is a vintage Calatrava case (Officer’s style) with smooth, round case flanks and straight lugs. Framed by a halo of 66 diamonds on the bezel, the dial is creamy coloured with a fine-grained texture that gives it a silky look. Complemented by 18k yellow gold numerals and hands, the phases of the moon and stars, also dusted with gold, are located in a small aperture at 6 o’clock. The beautiful finishes of the manual-winding in-house calibre are visible through the sapphire caseback.
Quick facts: 33.3mm diameter x 8.40mm height – 18k yellow gold Calatrava case – bezel set with 66 diamonds – 30m water-resistant – Calibre 215 PS LU ultra-thin manual-winding – 44h power reserve – 4Hz – Spiromax® balance spring and Gyromax® balance – hours, minutes, small seconds and moon phase – Patek Philippe Seal – matte pearly beige alligator strap – prong buckle in 18k yellow gold – EUR 31,230 – more information at www.patek.com
Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Moon Phase 36mm
The combination of mother-of-pearl and diamonds provides a spectacular backdrop for Vacheron’s homage to the Moon in 18k white gold. In the case of this 36mm Traditionelle model, the diamond setting is particularly prominent on the case and even the crown features a large inverted diamond. The placement of the moon phase aperture between 8 and 9 o’clock is somewhat unconventional and gives the watch its distinct personality. The arched power reserve indicator on the dial, with its pointer-type indicator, is placed above the moon aperture for visual harmony. Equipped with a high-precision gear train, the astronomical moon complication requires a single day adjustment once every 122 years. Just in case you need to adjust the moon, the watch comes with a corrector pen to activate the pusher on the case side.
Quick facts: 36mm diameter x 9.10mm height – 18k white gold – 80 diamonds on bezel, lugs and crown – 30m water-resistant – Calibre 1410AS in-house, manual-winding – 4Hz – 40h power reserve – hours, minutes, power reserve indicator, small seconds and precision moon phase – Hallmark of Geneva – EUR 40,100 – more information www.vacheron-constantin-com