I know we’re all very keen to get over this cold cold winter and hopefully enjoy the warmer weather that Spring should bring about. But many cultures are about to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival in just over a week’s time. It’s also known as the moon festival, or the festival to throw all health cautions to the wind and the perfect excuse to scoff down all manners of “moon” cakes and completely justify behaviour which would normally be frowned upon at any other time of the year.
This is also an occasion where luxury brands will gift mooncakes with elaborate packaging and presentation to their bestest clients and bestest influencers and celebrities.
So officially, the calculation of the dates for these festivals are based on the Lunisolar calendar, something not exclusive to Asian/Eastern culture, as it was also used by Western culture in the past. But we’ll leave the boring lecture notes here, and go onto something a bit more fun.
Given the importance of the moon in this festival, let’s have a look at the top…. nah… I’m not going to be that boring and just give you a list of watches with some specs. You have google for that. Instead, let’s talk a bit more about the moon phase in watches and I’ll give you one example where the bang for your buck ratio is off the charts.
Nowadays, much like the actual watches themselves, we don’t use these functions for its intended… function. Well, apart from knowing when the full moon is out so I can avoid the crazies. But the moon phase goes together with a watch like steak and red wine. It’s a great combination and potentially adds texture and colour to something that might otherwise be quite plain and ordinary. It lifts the over aesthetics and allows the brands to err… charge more for the added complications….
How much of a complications is the moon phase though? In most cases, the most basic moon phase disc would come with 59 teeth and two moons, which makes half a rotation every 29.5 days, so relatively close to the actual “moon month” of 29.530587981 days. But this does mean the moon phase will be out by 1 day every 2.5 years. Not great. But be honest – how many people actually care about the accuracy of their moon phase?
For those who do care, read on.
A step up in the complications is to up the teeth count to 135. This will give you an accuracy to 1 day in 122.5 years. As long as you keep it running, the moon phase will be accurate within your lifetime. (Ignoring real world factors such as letting the watch run out of steam by accident, sending it away for service every so often…) But hey, it’s bragging rights. Most brands who talk about having a highly accurate moon phase will be at this stage, as it’s also generally accepted as being “enough”. There are other more accurate moon phase watches though, but not many.
However, I must address the misconception that the more accurate the moon phase, the more expensive the watch is. This is probably true in a very broad sense, but I will give props to one watch brand who is known for its absolute genius in engineering, and that is Ochs und Junior.
One of the founders of the Ochs und Junior brand is the legendary Ludwig Oeschlin, famous for creating simple solutions to complications. Now isn’t that sentence an oxymoron! The moon phase complication in the watch has only 5(!) parts, with the calculation being accurate to 3478.27 years before it’s off by one day. And the price for this genius? starts at CHF 7,400, and you can even customise the watch to your heart’s content. I created one (hypothetical creation) and below is the result. It’s ready in 3-6 months and it’s unique mine! (It was also customised the cheapest possible way…).
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