Thursday, October 22

Throwback Sundays: Six Moonphase Watches for Mid-Autumn Festival, from Our Archives

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It is the time of the year again, where the moon appears to the biggest and brightest. And of course, for the Chinese, it is the period where we get to feast on delectable mooncakes once again. 

During this time last year, we featured six gorgeous watches that has a moonphase display to pay tribute to the much beloved Mid-Autumn Festival. It was certainly not enough to feature just six pieces, considering the number of candidates that deserve a place on list. Hence, for this year, we have included yet another six (or specifically, five) timepieces that have a great moonphase indicator. What have we selected? Let us find out!

Arnold & Son HM Perpetual Moon Aventurine

We begin the article with the Arnold & Son HM Perpetual Moon Aventurine.

For those who thought that this piece was familiar, it was one of the six timepieces that were featured in a similar column last year. However, the new variant of the HM Perpetual Moon certainly takes the timepiece up a notch. This particular version is fitted with an aventurine quartz dial. This complements the blue lacquered guilloché moonphase disc, which made it appears as though it was scene taken out of a stunning starry night. Even though the difference between this and the previous watch is just the dial, but that difference is so significant that make it seems as though this is an entirely new timepiece altogether.

The watch is powered by the Calibre A&S1512, a manual-winding movement which boasts an impressive power reserve of 90 hours. The 42mm is priced at CHF 31,900 (approximately S$47,326) and it is limited to a production run of 28 pieces. For someone who loves a moonphase display, this is perhaps one of the best candidates to consider and add into one’s watch collection. 

Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune

Hermès – a brand that is known for its exclusive Birkin bags – is certainly lesser known for its watches. But the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune might just be one of the watches that changes everything.

Launched in SIHH 2019, the 43mm timepiece provides a classy yet contemporary touch to the moonphase complication. For this year, Hermès had done a slight facelift to the collection. This time round, the watch is fitted with a main lapis lazuli dial in the background – which adds a nice touch to the timepiece. The main dial notably houses two mother-of-pearl “moons” – each representing the northern and southern hemisphere of the Moon. The rotating off-centre dials – which houses the date and time display – then acts as a moonphase indicator; its orbital follows the different phases of the moon and it displays that accordingly. 

Priced at S$48,100, the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune certainly commands a premium for its gorgeous aesthetics. It is limited to 200 pieces, and all of them have already been accounted for. If Hermes can continue to impress us with such offerings, we do think that the traditional watch manufacturers will start to have something else to worry about.

H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept

H. Moser & Cie is a brand that is no stranger to controversy. But beneath that cheeky demeanour, the brand had produced many brilliant award-winning watches in the last couple of decades. The relatively new Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept is one of such watches that was executed with finesse and simplicity.

Fitted with the signature 42mm Endeavour case, the watch comes with a Vantablack dial – supposedly the darkest shade of black, and consequently does not reflect any incident light as a result. Interestingly, due to the minimalism, the moonphase display is the element on the dial that predominantly stood out. Powering the watch is the in-house Calibre HMC 801, a hand-wound manufacture calibre equipped with the interchangeable Moser escapement. The movement beats at 18,000 vph, but it has an impressive power reserve of minimally 7 days. The moonphase is highly accurate too; it needs adjustment once every 1,027 years. The finishing, needless to say, is of haute horlogerie standard as well.

The Moser comes with a price tag of S$54,310, which is slightly hefty for a stainless-steel piece. However, it is a damn fine watch – and one that is both prowess in both the technical and artisanal aspects of the watch.

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase

When it comes to A. Lange & Söhne’s watches, collectors can definitely be assured of its finishing and quality. But nothing can really prepare us for the gorgeous Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase.

Launched in 2014, the Grand Lange 1 Moonphase is an extension to the iconic Lange 1 family. Cased in gold, the 41mm timepiece is beautifully designed with the right proportions and symmetry in mind. The watch’s main highlights are certainly the big date display, as well as the moonphase indicator. The latter is definitely one of the biggest within the range of Lange timepieces. The disc is made with solid gold, and it comes with a blue coating that gives the indicator its stunning colour. The best part of all is its size – where the owner is able to enjoy the brilliant piece of art in full glory.

Priced at €45,900 (approximately S$73,525), the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase comes with a pretty hefty price tag. But for a collector who can afford it, we would certainly recommend this piece highly. There are just not many other watches out there that can match this one in terms of quality, and the way it looks.

MB&F HM3 MoonMachine

The MB&F HM3 has been around for quite a number of years now, but this striking timepiece is perhaps one of Maximillian Büsser’s most recognisable work. The watch, which features an unusual case shape and two intriguing time indicators (each for a separate hour and minute display), certainly possesses a mysterious aura around it.

There are many variations of the HM3, but the one that left one of the most lasting impressions is the MoonMachine. The watch is the result of a collaboration with Stefan Sarpaneva, in which the watchmaker included his signature moonphase display on the watch. In addition, the time indicator is also domed, which gives it an appearance that resembles a frog or an owl.

This particular piece is certainly rare, and it is virtually impossible to find a brand-new piece for sale. However, some of them do pop-up in the pre-owned market once in a while, and a titanium version was recently sold on MB&F’s pre-owned platform at around CHF 62,000 (approximately S$91,980).

Ferdinand Berthoud FB1L

Ferdinand Berthoud is an intriguing project by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele of Chopard. The idea behind the brand is to recreate watches by the late master clockmaker Ferdinand Berthoud – but re-imagined with modernised technology and materials.

The FB1L is one of the latest pieces from the brand itself. The design dialect is an entirely mind-boggling concept – in which it is unlike any usual regulators (the main central hand indicates the seconds, which is vastly different from the usual), and the dial is predominantly a large negative space in the earlier versions. As more complications are added on to the later editions, the negative spaces are then slowly filled up. The latest variant comes with the usual patented power reserve indicator, as well as the rare “age of the moon” complication.

The surprise does not stop only at the dial. The movement – Calibre FB-T.FC.L. – is certainly a treat, with brilliant finishing and different technical bits incorporated. It also features some of the most sought-after complications, such as a giant tourbillon (measuring 16.5mm) and fusée and chain system. This is a visual treat for watch collectors.

Not surprisingly, the FB1L comes attached with a hefty price tag. Prices for the titanium model with white gold bezel begins at CHF 250,000 (approximately S$370,890), while the full white gold variant retails at CHF 265,000 (approximately S$393,143). This is, however, something that is truly special – and we reckon that there are not many watches out there that is capable of matching what the FB1L has to offer.

Concluding Thoughts

The moonphase is a poetic complication. It might not be as sophisticated as the other complications, but there is surely some form of romanticism behind it. The very fact that many manufacturers have put in additional effort to decorate the moonphase disc – such as Arnold & Son and A. Lange & Söhne – definitely makes it very special. It no longer casts itself as a mere supporting role within an annual/perpetual calendar complication; it has definitely attained more significance over time. 

So, what are some of your favourite watches that has a moonphase display? What are some watches that you reckon deserves a spot on today’s list as well? Let us know in the comments section below!

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Robin,

    Thank you for the enjoyable article. All the choices are great, and while I particularly like the Moser, my favourite is the FB1L. I think I may have commented before that, on the Moser, the moon phase disc itself does not appear to vantablack, so there is a bit of a black contrast. At least that’s what I thought when I saw the watch.

    The only other watch I’d mention in this list is the De Bethune DB28 with their gorgeous spherical moon phase, particularly when it is blued.