You may dismiss the moonphase as but a pretty adornment on the dial of a watch, especially when you compare it to peer complications such as the chronograph (measures time intervals), minute repeater (sounds the hours, quarters, or minutes), tourbillon (counteracts gravity’s muddling effects on timekeeping), or even the calendar or date.
Consider, however, how this complication offers an elemental perspective of time. More than letting you know when to wake up or tuck in, the moonphase measures the beginning and ending of the month as marked by the passage of that silvery satellite in the sky, from a barely visible new moon to the howling face of a full moon and back again to the waning of the last quarter moon. For geeks, that’s a period of 29 days and a half or, in superior moonphases (those that require an adjustment every 122 years only—in other words, never in your lifetime), 29 days, 12 hours, and 45 minutes.
But forget the numbers. This miniature theater of the moon and stars set against the romance of a night sky is really a window into that long-ago time when men stared into the heavens to predict the ebb and flow of tides, mark the bloom of harvests, and observe the never-ending parade of life.
Rolex Cellini Moonphase
Its moonphase disc is hewn from a rhodium-plated meteorite, a flourish that, aside from making the Cellini a truly cosmic timepiece, adds an organic feel to the otherwise high gloss construction of Rolex. Rolex Center, Paseo de Roxas, Legazpi Village, 811.3029; rolex.com.
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Maurice Lacroix Les Classiques Moonphase
Les Classiques offers two versions of the mysterious complication: A quieter silver dial with a blue moonphase disc or a bolder star-strewn blue dial with a matching blue moonphase disc. Both are perfect for any occasion. Lucerne, Glorietta 4, 728.2828.811.3029.
Launched in 2012, the Rendez-vous collection boasts a precise automatic movement and sophisticated design. The 2017 assembly introduces a wider array of playful colored straps, and, for the first time, yellow gold options and a moonphase function. Greenbelt 5, 728.0094.
Patek Philippe Ref. 4947 Annual Calendar
Featuring a patented full calendar that needs to be corrected only once a year, the Patek Philippe Ref. 4947 for ladies is beautifully updated with a double vertical and horizontal satin finish, combining delicacy and utility in one superior timepiece. It comes with a handstitched alligator strap in peacock blue. Greenbelt 5, 756.0566.
IWC Da Vinci Automatic Moonphase
The moonphase’s placement at the 12 o’clock position makes this new version of the Da Vinci far from the usual. Also inspect the reverse of the case, where the Flower of Life pattern, the sacred geometry that Leonardo da Vinci studied, can be found. Greenbelt 5, 756.0821.