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January 1, 2021updated Aug 10, 2021

Moonphase Watches: Romantic Complications for Women

Moonphase watches depict the moon's stages using a small disc, typically painted or engraved with them.

By Roberta Naas

Moonphase watches are one of the most romantic complications for women, but they’re also sophisticated. Moonphase indications depict the stages of the moon’s rotation cycle in real time using a small disc, typically painted or engraved with them. Through an aperture on the dial, the correct portion of the moon disc coinciding with the night sky is displayed. Those discs, or that display system, can be simple or complex. Simple ones are accurate for about two and a half years, more advanced ones for up to 122. The typical real-life moonphase cycle is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds. In most moonphase watches, this time is condensed to an average of 29.5 days — meaning that in a few years, the accuracy is affected and the watch needs an adjustment.

[See also: The Top Luxury Watches in the World]

Piaget Limelight Stella High Jewelry

Moonphase Watches

The master artisans at Piaget work wonders with this 39mm watch by setting the diamonds in graduated sizes to evoke a stunning oval look. The inner ring is mother-of-pearl, and the center of the dial boasts the complex moonphase indication – enhanced by a diamond baguette-cut motif. In total, the watch is set with more than 250 diamonds (9.40 carats). The watch is powered by the brand’s in-house Caliber 580P self-winding movement with a high degree of precision, needing a day’s adjustment after 122 years. It is finished with a gray alligator strap.

$252,000 in 18K white gold, Piaget in New York, +1 877 874 2438,

Chopard Happy Moon

Moonphase Watches

From a limited edition of just 250 pieces, this 36mm Chopard Happy Moon watch offers a lovely interpretation of the starlit skies via its exquisite aventurine glass dial with glittering inclusions. Chopard enhances the dial with gold threads and studs that trace the outlines of famed constellations in the Northern Hemisphere. The moonphase is so accurate that it will display only a one-day deviation from the path of the moon after 122 years. This is the first Happy Sport watch to boast an astronomical complication. It’s powered by a new in-house-made automatic movement with 65 hours of power reserve and is a COSC-certified chronometer. The seven free-floating diamonds are a signature of the Happy Diamonds series.

$44,600 in 18K ethical rose gold, Chopard in New York, +1 212 223 2304,

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Harry Winston’s Premier Moon Phase

For those who prefer a quartz movement so they don’t have to worry about setting the time and moonphase if the mechanical watch sits still for a few days, Harry Winston’s Premier Moon Phase watch may be the answer. It is powered by a Swiss quartz movement and offers time, date and moonphase in the center of the decorative dial. The main dial is crafted of iridescent white mother-of-pearl and is set with diamond markers and diamond accents throughout. The center moonphase dial is blue mother-of-pearl with gold moon and intricate motif. In total, the watch is set with 10 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 2.58 carats.

$29,900 in 18K white gold, Harry Winston in New York, +1 800 988 4110,

Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon High Jewelry

Easily one of the most successful launches of a women’s collection in the 21st century, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rendez-Vous continually delights women around the world. This high-jewelry version is set with 301 blue sapphires that pave the center dial and moonphase indication. Behind the stylized numerals, diamond baguettes, outlined by round brilliants, provide a stunning backdrop for the time indication. The watch is powered by the in-house-made Caliber 935 self-winding movement, which is designed to offer accurate moonphase indication for 122 years.

$267,000 in white gold, Jaeger-LeCoultre in New York, +1 646 828 4328,

Bovet Récital 23

From Bovet, this stunning Récital 23 is the first Bovet women’s watch to be housed in the brand’s creative “writing slope” case (inspired by the sloped writing desks of yesteryear). For the first time, though, it is in an oval shape rather than round. The dial at 6 o’clock is aventurine glass with 10 diamond indices, and the two hands form a heart shape once an hour when the hours and minutes overlap. The three-dimensional globe at 12 o’clock is engraved to reflect the moon’s surface and is filled with a luminescent material. The blue discs with stars rotate with the globe, and the moonphase is read via a circular aperture above the Bovet logo. The moon is accurate for 122 years before needing an adjustment. The watch is powered by a self-winding movement with 62 hours of power reserve.

$103,000 in 18K 5N rose gold, Watches of Switzerland in Las Vegas, +1 702 792 0183,

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