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Phases of the moon - The different faces of the moon

Phases of the moon The different faces of the moon

The moon isn’t just a convenient excuse for a watch complication. Moon depictions form a stylistic genre in their own right. Here’s a portrait gallery.

The moon changes. Every day, it shows us a slightly different face. From complete invisibility to a perfect, luminous disc, it waxes and wanes, declines and precesses and, sometimes, blushes. Its important role in how human societies operate has made it a rich source of study for astronomers, and a logical choice for a watch complication. The moon’s ever-changing appearance also lends itself to a wide range of aesthetic interpretations. Whether stylised, anthropomorphised or rigorously naturalistic, it becomes part of the identity of each brand, which has its very own particular moon.

They are typically two dimensional: a disc rotates beneath the dial and, according to how it is revealed or concealed, it represents the heavenly body as it appears from Earth. These are the moon phases. The disc may be blue, black, white or gold. Sometimes, as in the case of Vacheron Constantin, it also comes speckled with stars. Piaget prefers it to be smooth, while Jaquet Droz’s versions are pocked with craters, like the real thing. This type of representation leads us to the kind of extreme verisimilitude that we find in Geo. Graham and Patek Philippe watches. Blancpain gives it a mischievous smile, and Breguet gives it a woman’s face. Sometimes the moon is three-dimensional. This tends to be in hefty grand complication watches, such as the Colossal by Hysek. Finally, the moon may also be simply a graphical device taken from an inspirational work. For Van Cleef & Arpels, the moon is not a complication but an episode from Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon, poetically illustrated on the dial.

Brands

Blancpain is the archetypal Manufacture: with a watchmaking heritage dating back several centuries, it has successfully preserved its watchmaking tradition, whilst welcoming a spirit of innovation.

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The Bovet Manufacture upholds the tradition of decorative arts applied to its delicately engraved, chased, enamelled, engine-turned or hand-painted cases, dials and movements, thus passing on the...

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Breguet’s archives, kept in Switzerland and in Paris, record the developments that have sustained Breguet watchmaking for more than two centuries. The firm is committed to remaining ahead of its...

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Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari...

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Characterised by audacity and inventiveness, Cartier’s watchmaking history reflects a unique state of mind: “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. Its renown is bound up in the tradition of...

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Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, Graham preserves the legacy of London clockmaker George Graham, developing modern timepieces that combine sophisticated techniques with an atypical design.

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“La Montre Hermès” has adopted an epicurean philosophy that values the creation of sober, contemporary timepieces.

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The firm’s foundational principles are avant-gardism and technical prowess. Each new timepiece is not simply the modification of an existing aesthetic model, but is completely designed from...

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An elegant, outward-looking philosophy that dates back to the Age of Enlightenment is still at the heart of Jaquet Droz's identity. The fine and rare handcrafts practiced at the company’s workshops...

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Representing a blend of Italian design with Swiss watchmaking technology, Officine Panerai follows the inspiration of its home city of Florence, which was the cradle of the Renaissance movement and...

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Patek Philippe enjoys outstanding renown and rare prestige, due to the constancy with which the Manufacture has applied its philosophy of excellence ever since it was founded.

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One hundred and forty years’ worth of uninterrupted history have allowed Piaget to forge its unique jewellery and watchmaking expertise. The Brand is a genuine Fine Watchmaking manufacture that...

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An exploration of the history of Vacheron Constantin is a voyage of discovery, revealing the excellence of age-old watchmaking. Each timepiece is the result of the creative inspiration of the...

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Each of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations is imbued with jewelry and watchmaking excellence, drawing inspiration from whether nature, couture or the imagination. Its creations evoke a timeless world of...

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