Wearing a watch is not a complicated process, but that’s not to say that the watch on your wrist cannot be embellished with a complication or two. From GMT functions to triple-calendars, chronographs to depth gauges, there are horological complications designed to provide the wearer with all sorts of important information.
Arguably knowing the motion of the moon is not terribly important today (unless you are concerned with ocean tides or werewolves), and probably wasn’t when Patek Philippe first introduced it to a wristwatch in the 1920s. But our fascination with the sky at night, and the way that watchmakers interpret our closest celestial neighbors’ 29.5 day passage across it, continues to make watches with astronomical complications a popular choice.
With so many options to choose from it’s hard to know where to start, so to help you find your first moon phase watch, we’ve picked out three of our blue dialled favourites that are currently available from Montredo. Each of them contains a Swiss Made movement, is steel cased, around 40mm in size, has an RRP of less than €4,000 and is interestingly different from the next. Let’s check them out:
The Junghans Meister Kalender in Sunray Blue is a modern take on the classically styled triple-calendar moonphase watches of the 50s and 60s. Designed and assembled in Germany, and powered by a Swiss-made automatic movement, it offers all of the charm of a vintage piece with none of the mechanical worries.
In proportion, the Meister Kalender’s 40.4mm case is closer to the size of a modern dress watch than a vintage triple-calendar and appears larger than its physical dimensions, thanks to the domed plexiglass crystal and gentle curve of the dial below it, which runs right to edges of the bezel-less steel case. From the side it is perhaps a little thicker than you would expect – due to the Dubois Depraz calendar module – but all-in-all the dimensions and case shape make for a watch that’s incredibly comfortable on all but the very smallest and very largest of wrists.
Whilst fans of vintage triple-calendar watches may be used to the day and month windows being dangerously close together, the modern DD module sees them spaced out more evenly across the gorgeous metallic blue dial. With the day resting just below the 10 o’clock marker and the month mirroring its position at 2. The kalendar/moon phase complication is rounded out by a large subdial at 6, with the date running around its outer edge, and the moon phase aperture cut through its upper half.
The entire case of the Junghans Meister Kalender is polished stainless steel, adding a bit of extra sparkle when contrasted against the deep blue of the dial. Which itself features a combination of white printed and polished stainless steel markers, and is rounded out by an incredibly pretty set of polished steel dauphine hands.
Do you need a vintage-styled triple-calendar moonphase watch in 2022? Probably not. Do you want one? Absolutely!
The recommended retail price for the Junghans Meister Kalendar on a leather strap is 1990€/£1990 including VAT.
The Longines Master Collection L2.618.104.22.168 in Sunray Blue offers all the mechanical timekeeping functionality you could ever need, in a handsome 40mm stainless steel package. Ok, so with 30m of water resistance you’re not going to take it diving, but on dry land this automatic column wheel chronograph is the horological business.
It’s worth stating that Longines do not market this as a moon phase watch, but rather as a column wheel chronograph, with triple-calendar, 24-hour, and moon phase functions. Kind of a greatest hits of desirable watch complications wrapped up in 40mm of stainless steel. And something you may have seen in other Swiss Made watches, because the L687 inside our complication-filled watch is based upon the ETA 7751 – a movement which can force some interesting dial layout choices thanks to its structure, but appears perfectly balanced thanks to smart design choices by Longines.
With 8 hands on display plus day, date and moonphase windows, the crisp blue dial remains easy to read thanks to smart typography choices, and slim stainless steel bevels around the subdials. Hour and minute hands are where you would expect, with running seconds and 24-hour indicator at 9 o’clock. The twin register chronographs central sweep-second hand counts off around the outer edge of the dial, whilst the 12 o’clock subdial displays a 30 minute counter and day/month, and its counterpart at 6 o’clock displays the moon phase a 12-hour counter. The date is indicated by a centrally mounted hand, who’s crescent moon shaped tip points to numbers 1 through 31.
Browsing through the Longines you’ll note that they also produce this watch in a 42mm case, however in our opinion, the 40mm on blue alligator leather strap is the one to have. Perfectly sized for nearly every wrist, and as at home under the cuff of a dress shirt as it is paired with a sweater and jeans. This is the complicated wristwatch for the rest of us – no ten year waiting lists or $10,000 deposits required!
The recommended retail price for the Longines Master Collection L2.622.214.171.124 on a leather strap is 3110€/£2740 including VAT.
The MeisterSinger Lunascope Sunburst Blue offers one of the purest (and to our eye, most beautiful) interpretations of the moon phase complication ever made. Which given that it is MeisterSinger’s first astronomical watch makes that perhaps even more impressive.
The slender 40mm stainless steel case with its thin bezel and curved lugs, makes a perfect frame for the sunburst blue dial and its unusually large moon phase display. Dominating the upper half of the dial between nine and three, the cut-out shows a large moon moving across a starry night sky. Its deep blue background colour matched to the sunburst blue of the dial.
Behind the dial we find a modified version of the SellitaSW 220-1 automatic movement, with a highly accurate moon phase module designed specifically for MeisterSinger that only requires slight adjustment every 122 years thanks to the 135 teeth on its moonphase gear. Flipping the watch over (if you can bear to tear your eyes away from that dial!) gives you ample opportunity to see the Swiss Made movement through the Lunascope’s screwed down exhibition case back.
For those that are new to MeisterSinger, this single handed watch with date at six might initially provide a moment of confusion. But once you know that the white printed 144 segment track denotes the passing of time in 5 minute units, the slightly larger markers show the quarter and half hour, and long markers capped with double digits display the hours telling time at a glance is simple.
Tearing your eyes away from the beautiful blue dial is however a little more complex.
The recommended retail price for the MeisterSinger Lunarscope Sunburst Blue on a leather strap is 3390€/£3390 including VAT.