Get a little bit of the sky on the wrist with moonphase watches.
The romantic beauty of the moon has been a subject of poetry and art since time immemorial. The astronomical skies have always enthralled man and the serene beauty of the moon has fascinated humans from the very beginnings of time. To get a little bit of the sky on the wrist has not been a difficult task for ingenious watchmakers across centuries. Even today, watchmakers continue to explore ways and techniques to get the skies on the earth. It is not a matter of surprise then, to see that watches that depict lunar phases are very much in demand.
The moonphase complication is poetic as much as it is technical. It is something that reminds us of the past and takes us to the time when the moon guided wanderings of men. The moon has a great influence on many happenings on earth even today right from the ebb and flow of tides, to harvests to certain ceremonies. Many people still believe in the mystical powers of the moon. The design of a moonphase also allows for the touch of a different kind of whimsy and fantasy. It is indeed a matter of pride to see the moon that travels through the sky, reflected on your wrist through the moonphase complication.
If one tries to delve into the history of moon-phase complications, it points to the history of time itself. Our concept of time as divided into a year and 12 months, borrows heavily from the moon! The lunar calendar has influenced the notion of time, by depicting the length of a month by the time between two full moons. Many early mechanisms have been found in historical archives that point to implements indicating the phases of the moon. As civilization progressed, moon indicators were often found in clocks and it was just a matter of time before they found way into pocket watches and clocks.
One cannot deny that the moon indeed makes a style statement. A moon-phase watch will be like no other. It depicts the current phase of the moon as seen in the sky, graphically on the dial. Unlike the time or date that is shown by numerals or indices, this one shows an actual resemblance of the moon graphically. The moon travels on the wrist as is does in the sky, and this is what makes the moon-phase complication an almost magical one.
The inner workings of the moonphase
The technicalities of constructing a moon-phase are also interesting. The movement of the moon around the earth is pretty regular and this is the basis of the complication. Since the moon takes 29.5 days for one complete cycle, this is depicted through the two rotating discs that are found in a moon-phase watch. For depicting the waxing and waning of the moon, there are curved apertures in the dial.
The question of accuracy is also relevant here. While the cycle of the moon is relatively accurate, it is not completely accurate and there is a difference of about point zero three days a month between the actual and measured lunar cycle. While this may not really seem much (for the wearer that is!) the watch industry thrives on accuracy. There are thus sophisticated mechanisms to take care of this difference as well.
Many watchmakers too have taken their love for the moon at another level and come out with truly bespoke timepieces that do justice to the celestial body. Today, a moon-phase watch is probably one of the most well-loved complications by men and women alike. The use of the moon-phase watch has changed over the centuries. Many decades ago, a person may have used the moon-phase complication to plan a journey by moonlight. Today, the journey is one within. The movements of the moon reflected on the watch again take you on a journey…either to a nostalgic magic past when time began, or in the realm of poetry and beauty, which can only be experienced!