A moon phase watch is one of the most unique timepieces you can own. Often made from noble materials and with intricate dials, they recall the romantic mystery of the night sky and have a special meaning to many people.
They are also one of the earliest watch complications and are still used in some watches today. Typically, they use a 59-tooth driving wheel to advance the moon disc once per day after a 29.5 day lunar cycle is completed.
The moon is a fascinating celestial body that’s incredibly important to our lives here on Earth. It can teach us about time and astronomy, help us calculate tides, and even measure the length of our days and nights. Whether you’re an avid astronomer or just an admirer of the natural world, you can enjoy tracking the lunar cycle by wearing a moon phase watch.
These complicated timepieces are a great way to keep tabs on the moon’s phases, and are a fun addition to any collection. Traditionally, they feature a disc that has 59 teeth and advances once per day to display the moon’s position. This makes them an excellent choice for those who want to keep track of the moon’s movement without having to use a complicated app or website.
Aside from being easy to read, moon phase watches are also extremely accurate. However, they’re not as precise as some other complication styles. This is because the gears used to display the moon’s movements are based on a round number, which can be difficult for gear teeth to accommodate. This means that many moon phase watches will lose accuracy after about 2.5 to 3 years, and they’ll need to be adjusted accordingly.
There are a few different methods to set your moon phase watch, but the most accurate is to do so at the day of a full moon. This will allow the complication to be set to an accurate level and will minimize any potential errors that may occur due to manufacturing limitations.
Step 1: Turn the crown clockwise until it’s in the second detent (hand setting). Next, advance the moon phase indicator on your watch until it’s showing a full moon and centered in the display.
If you’re using a quartz watch, you can use a side button or pusher to advance the mechanism; mechanical watches will have a specific crown position that you must move to advance the moon phase. Once you’ve done this, it’s safe to proceed with the rest of the set-up procedure.
You should also set the date to one day behind the current time, unless you’re wearing a quartz watch that allows you to adjust it manually. This will ensure that the date is in sync with the time, and it will also make the moon phase more visible.
Setting the Date
The moon has long provided a means to keep track of the passage of time. This was especially true when it came to tracking the moon’s phase.
The earliest moon phase complication was an Antikythera mechanism developed in 205BC. It was an impressive feat of mechanical wizardry, featuring 30 bronze gears and a single moving disc with two identical moons. A 59-tooth driving wheel controlled the gizmo’s movements.
Today’s moon phase watches display the sunlit portion of the moon as observed from Earth at any given point in a 29.5-day lunar month. This may not be the most accurate complication around, but it is one of the most visually appealing and certainly the most aesthetically pleasing to wear.
To set your watch, you will need to follow a few simple steps. First, make sure your watch is not set for the wrong day of the week (this will cause the moon to miss its sexiest phase). Next, pull out the crown and turn it counterclockwise until you see the most important – if not the most obvious – sign that the mechanism has been properly aligned.
Finally, you will want to set the clock using the crown. This is a bit more complex than changing the date with the crown, and you should use both hands to make sure you get it right.
The WatchNetwork has put together a moon phase calendar that will show you how to set your horological marvel without having to wait for nightfall or a clear night sky. This visual image will also have you noticing the most significant – and most obvious – moon phase on your watch’s dial.
Setting the Time
The moon is one of the most important celestial bodies in the universe. It has long been an enduring symbol of time and it is also a crucial part of our astronomical knowledge.
The world’s earliest horologists used sundials to record the changing phases of the moon. Over time, these early mechanisms became more complex to accurately track astronomical events and help predict them.
While some of these complicated mechanisms were adapted to standalone clocks, many of them were incorporated into pocket watches and wristwatches. The moon phase complication was no longer necessary for keeping time, but it continued to be an alluring feature that illustrated our fascination with the cosmos.
One of the earliest watch complications developed, moonphase complications typically involve placing two identical moons on a disc under the dial. This disc rotates once per 29.5 day lunar cycle, accounting for the waxing and waning face of the moon using curved edges in the aperture.
Controlling the movement of the disc is a 59-tooth driving wheel which advances the disc once per day. The details of the underlying moon disc will vary based on the design of the dial and aperture, but the driving wheel remains a constant.
In order to set a moon phase watch, you must first determine the date of the last full or new moon. Once you have that number, you can then turn the crown counterclockwise and move it around until you have the right moon phase indicator.
Most moon phase watches have a button on the side of the case that allows you to advance the moon phase. If your watch does not have this button, you can use a pointy object to push it, such as a wooden skewer or ballpoint pen.
If you aren’t sure how to do this, you can always check the instructions for your watch or consult a helpful online resource. This will allow you to set the phase of the moon accurately and will also make it easier to change it at a later date.
Despite its antiquated functionality, the moon phase complication is one of the most eye-catching and romantic complications in the watch industry. With its origins dating back to Ancient Greece, the moon phase is a historical and cultural icon that has evolved with trends in fashion and taste.
Changing the Moon Phase
When it comes to a watch complication, few are as visually striking as the moon phase. Known for its ability to display the moon’s different stages throughout the lunar cycle, this complication can be found in many high-end watches and has become a popular accessory among watch lovers.
There are three main phases of the moon: a new moon, full moon and last quarter, and these occur at specific times during the 29.5-day lunar cycle. The next phase, a last quarter moon, will occur on February 13, 2019 at 11:01 a.m EST (1601 GMT).
In the Northern Hemisphere, during this stage of the moon’s cycle, we see half of its surface illuminated. In the Southern Hemisphere, we see only a small sliver of its surface illuminated.
The full moon is the most important phase of the moon, and occurs when the entire surface of the moon is illuminated. This phase also occurs once a month. The next phase, a last quarter, occurs at the end of a full moon and is when only half of the surface of the moon is illuminated.
For this reason, the moon phase is one of the most important features in a watch. It can be found in all kinds of timepieces, from pocket watches to luxury wristwatches.
Typically, the moon phase is displayed on a subdial. However, there are some cool examples of moon phase watches that fully occupy the dial. For instance, MB&F’s MoonMachine 2 features a projected moon disk in place of a traditional engraved moon disc.
This avant-garde timepiece is the product of a collaboration between Finnish independent watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva and Max Busser, founder of MB&F. It’s one of the most interesting moon phase watches on the market, thanks to its expressive “face” design.
To achieve this, the moon phase display is placed on a rotating disc with 59 teeth that move once per day. This allows the watch to accurately represent the phases of the moon during each 29.5-day cycle.
Most moon phase watches only display the moon as it appears in the Northern Hemisphere, but IWC engineers have developed a double moon display that shows the moon’s phases in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. This is a first in the world of Haute Horlogerie, and it can be seen on IWC’s Portugieser Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 5021).
Setting the moon phase in a moon phase watch is not easy because solar time and lunar time do not coincide. But with a few simple tricks, you can make your watch show the correct moon phase.