If you're unfamiliar with the term "moon phase," you're not alone. The waxing and waning of the moon is a natural phenomenon that has served as a foundation for calendars since our early ancestors recognized its pattern.
29.53 days - the time it takes for our moon to complete an entire cycle from new moon to full moon and back again. Moon phases serve as a powerful reminder of the delicate balance that enormous cosmic bodies conduct that affects our planet through gravity's pull.
Given the moon's intimate ties with the concept of time, watchmakers strive to replicate this beautiful phenomenon in their watches. The moon's predictable cycles, coupled with scientific advancements, paved the way for creating gears that can accurately track its phases. There is beauty in being reminded of moon phases with its gradual shifting instead of numbers on a calendar.
Tracking the moon phase is more of an art than science these days. This feature has been pushed to more expensive watches, where more functions are usually required to justify their high prices.
More people are getting familiar with the term moon phase, and it's becoming a popular yet unique feature of luxury and affordable wristwatches.
By definition, a moon phase is the lighted area of the moon that is visible as it travels around the earth during its lunar cycle. On your watch, a moon phase indicator displays this orbit with a rotating disc that shows the illuminated slice of the moon at any given time.
Moon phases are among the oldest complications (terminology for features that don't involve telling time). In this day and age, they are more stylistic than functional. Adding a starry feature to your watch might bring you closer to the cosmos, and the variety of styles of moon phases is striking; they are as varied as timepieces in general. Whether you're looking for the gold standard or a neat add-on, these are our picks for the most exciting moon phase watches. Starting from the most affordable to a few more expensive timepieces.
1. Casio Men's AQW101-1AV
Price: $28 (Visit Casio website)
Even if you didn't see the name, you might be able to guess that this watch is a Casio, given its signature design. This falls under a "non-classic" definition of moon phase watches and is not up to the same caliber as other mechanisms. This watch is inexpensive, given its resin material and mineral case.
The moon phase comes in data form on this digital display linked to the tides. This is a hit for anyone who focuses on the water, such as fishermen, marine biologists, and surfers looking for that next big wave. For this reason, it's also water-resistant up to 200 meters in depth and can accurately measure the outside temperature. This watch is an excellent introduction to moon phase displays for practical purposes.
2. Sekoni Original Tidal Moonphase Series
Okay, we might be slightly biased to talk about our signature watch in this post because we believe you'll love it.
The Tidal Moonphase has a Swiss movement with a powerful battery lifespan of 5 years and a 2-year no questions asked warranty. We stand by its reliability, mainly since we craft the case from surgical-grade 316L stainless steel, and the glass is scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
The Tidal Moonphase watch is a moon phase timepiece that cares about details as much as the wearer. We sought to create an impeccable watch in this price range with quality and reliability in mind, which is difficult to find.
You'll appreciate how quickly you can change watch straps with our quick-release design. As we mentioned, details. Try it for yourself and get a free strap with the purchase of our Tidal Moonphase (click here to apply the discount code at checkout automatically).
Now back to some other sharp watches.
3. Bulova 96C26 Moon Phase
Price: $255 (Visit non-affiliated Amazon page)
This thin, lightweight timepiece with a rectangular face is worthy of everyday wear for men and women. The America-made timepiece functions as a simple, elegant statement while still employing classical moon phase mechanics, displayed precisely in the bottom center of the rectangular face.
The material is stainless steel with a Japanese quartz movement. The hands are off-white with a blue outline, giving the design a little flair. It's hard to go wrong with this style and price point.
4. Certina DS- 8 Chronograph Moon Phase
Price: $700 (Visit Certina website)
Back to classic chronograph moon phase watches. We have this sleek design from Certina, a Swiss brand famous in its home country but rarely outside (the competition is steep). The Certina runs on Swiss Quartz movement with a transparent sapphire crystal case.
This watch has a clean, simple face with few bells and whistles. The moon phase display easily fits the other two subdials, a golden moon against a starry blue night sky. A brown alligator leather strap adds to the natural look of this watch, which is a great midrange piece.
5. Citizen Men’s AV3006-50H
Price: $820 (Visit Citizen's website)
A great perk of this model is that as an Eco-Drive, it's solar-powered and never needs a battery replacement. The window material is sapphire crystal, roughly three times as hard as mineral crystals and over 20 times harder than acrylic crystals. Its movement, or inner mechanism, is made from Japanese quartz, while the dial is made from unique grey steel. Its stainless steel 5-link bracelet has contrasting rose gold accents and screws through the links for maximum security.
The subdials on the watch are either blue or grey, including the moon phase display. However, the phases are orange against a blue backdrop, which evokes a stunning three-dimensional effect. This sturdy design can bring added elegance to an active lifestyle.
6. Junghans German Made Moonphase
Price: $1,900 (Visit a blog about Junghans Moonphase)
The perfect model of minimalism, the Junghans Moonphase watch embodies German engineering. No subdials, line markers rather than numerals; its clean design gives a blank slate for the equally minimalistic moon phase to sit upon. All tied together with a smooth brown genuine leather strap.
The Germans are also keen on sustainability; this watch is powered by the movement of your arm and thus never needs battery replacements as long as you are in motion. This is your best bet for a high-end watch that flies under the radar, and few would notice it as a more high-tech moon phase mechanism.
7. Baume & Mercier BMMOA10055
Price: $3,240 (Visit Baume & Mercier website)
This piece is undoubtedly unique in many ways, starting with the Arabic numerals for displaying the time. Another Swiss brand watch design that is both sturdy and refined, giving up neither resolve nor beauty. The watch strap is made of genuine black leather, tailored and padded to ensure a perfect fit.
No other subdials compete with the moon phase display on this watch, which is an interesting departure from others on this list. The white face and rose-colored numbers allow the black background and golden moon to pop, making this stand out from the crowd.
8. Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Master Co-Axial
Price: $13,700 (Visit Omega website)
And now for something completely different. For the ultimate horology enthusiast, we have this blue dream, one of the few watches that can say it was a part of all six lunar landings. Given its historical meaning, no luxury was spared in its design, including:
- Certified Master Chronometer approved by METAS
- Blue ceramic tachymetric bezel
- Scratch‐resistant sapphire crystal with anti‐reflective treatment
- 18K SednaTM gold indexes and hands
While the price point puts this out of the realm of many buyers, it certainly reflects how spectacular this piece is. The moon phase display is magnificent, its illustration bearing hyper-realistic lunar craters and shadows rather than just a simple circular outline. This watch is absolutely fit for an astronaut.
9. Hermès Arceau L'Heure De La Lune
Price: $25,500 (Link to Hodinkee blog about this watch)
And lastly, a watch that's not flying under anyone's radar. Coming in at just under the price of the Rolex, this Hermes design could be found in a fashion show or art gallery with its avant-garde presentation. Two realistic moons are covered by mother of pearl dials, signifying time and date against an inky black, starry background.
Taking a page from Rolex's book, some versions of the dial background are made from meteorite, adding to the space-age feel. The case is 18-carat white gold, and the matt black leather strap adds to its universal appeal. This striking piece will certainly not go unnoticed.
10. Rolex Cellini Moonphase
Price: $26,750 (Visit Rolex website)
Did you think we would get through the list without a Rolex?
For a brand known to be at the height of impeccable watch design, this unique piece that strays from the norm does not disappoint, and it should come as no surprise that it is the most expensive on the list. Its features include:
- White lacquer dial with a blue enameled disc displaying moon phase
- The full moon and the new moon are depicted by a meteorite applique and silver ring
- Everose pink gold, created and patented by Rolex itself
- Self-winding movement
- Alligator leather strap
Every detail on this watch is exquisite, and there's no question that it is in a class all its own.
Putting together this list of watches was no easy feat because we could only select 10 excellent moon phase watches. We tragically had to leave out so many others. While not exhaustive, this list shows several moon phase watches that you should pay attention to as you carry on your journey in the world of watches.
We learned that despite the price differences, one can find as much joy, beauty, and value in the $28 timepiece as the $26,750 timepiece.
With that, find the one piece that speaks to your style and design preferences- the world of horology is fascinating. We are confident you will not regret learning more about it.
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