For thousands of years, the moon’s mystical nature has captivated our spirits — serenaded in art and poetry, a symbol of romance and a certain yearning for the unknown. A constant presence in time, the lunar cycle has naturally found a place in fine horlogerie. Today, despite the claim that a moon-phase display has little day-to-day practicality, the world’s best watchmakers continue to spare no effort designing this function into their most eloquent creations. And upon a closer look, the watch and our nearest celestial body are more closely connected than you may think.
Its continuous motion first recorded by the lunar calendars of ancient China, the moon can be said to be man’s earliest timepiece. Locked in eternal rotation, the sun, the moon, and the Earth mirror the complex movement of gears at the heart of a watch.
Contrasted against the cool metal dial, the moon’s delicate silhouette brings romantic softness to a modern sleek form. But aesthetics aside, the moon-phase indicator is a testament to a watchmaker’s time-honed expertise. The lunar cycle is not a neat and tidy number — it’s 28 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.9 seconds long. Its precise yet irregular nature is a craftsman’s technological challenge, one that world-class houses such as Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre have met spectacularly, creating watches and clocks with moon phases that need no correction for hundreds, even thousands, of years.
Trends in wearable technologies may wax and wane, but our love affair with the Earth’s orbiting satellite endures through the ages — and so does the timeless appeal of these romantic moon-phase watches.
Produced and Chinese Text by Rui Chen English Text by Kate Missine