Humankind’s fascination with the moon isn’t a recent phenomenon — it goes back to when early humans kept tabs on the lunar cycle for hunting and migrating.
In today’s technological era, it’s easy to forget about the importance of the lunar cycle, but its position can affect us greatly, even our ability to get a good night’s rest. Displaying the current phase of the moon on the dial of a mechanical watch may not sound like a big challenge, but in practice, it is complicated.
The main difficulty lies in the fact that the moon does not follow an exact 24-hour rhythm. Generations of watchmakers have tried to display the moon’s orbit of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.9 seconds as realistically as possible on the dial of a watch.
Moonphase watches show the current phase of the moon as it appears in the sky. Its miniature version on the wrist travels around and is displayed in an aperture on the dial. This type of watch is perhaps the most elemental in its graphical representation of the passage of time, as opposed to the more precise and sterile hands and numbers that other complications use. Moonphase watches are considered by many collectors to be an artistic complication, one that is fun to own, linking us with our sky-watching ancestors and a lineage of watchmakers and artisans all at once.
And while there are plenty of experts and enthusiasts who would argue that lunar-based complications are superfluous, that hasn’t stopped a legion of modern collectors from placing orders every time a striking new moonphase watch is released.
Functionality aside, this special complication evokes romance, artistic savvy, increases the value of a watch and makes for the perfect addition to a watch connoisseur’s collection.
Here, WWD highlights the top whimsical men’s moonphase timepieces that might quench your fascination with the moon.