For most modern-day watch wearers, a moon phase watch is probably not the most necessary of complications, but it’s certainly one of the coolest-looking. Rather than the hands-and-numbers standard seen in most timepieces, moon phase watches tend to have a more creative and artistic interpretation of the passing of time.
This particular watch is no exception.
The Real Moon 1980, from famed astronomical watch and clock maker Christiaan van der Klaauw, is one of the best moon phase watches you can find and is the most accurate 3D moon phase watch in the world. What does that accuracy look like? Since the lunar cycle lasts 29.5 days compared to our monthly calendar of typically 30 days, most standard moon phase watches need to be adjusted every two years or so because they get off by a day or two. With the incorporation of a more finely-toothed gear to increase accuracy, higher quality moon phase watches need adjustment after 122 years. In comparison, the Real Moon 1980 will only need an adjustment after 5,400 years have passed. Impressive, right?
But beyond its intense precision, the Real Moon 1980 is simply a nice-looking timepiece with some really neat complications. Here, the moon phase is imagined as a 3D moon on the 6 o’clock position of the dial that rotates in accordance with the lunar cycle. And beyond the monthly date calendar on the left face of the dial and the typical hour and minute hands, the Real Moon 1980 can also indicate the height of the sun in relation to the horizon depending on the time of year, and it features an eclipse hand on the right face of the dial that indicates when a solar or lunar eclipse is happening somewhere in the world.
The watchmaker, Christiaan van der Klaauw, began his career creating clocks in 1974, quickly becoming recognized as one of the best and most innovative clockmakers in the world. He began making wristwatches in 1994, bringing a particular interest in astrological complications to his designs; van der Klaauw’s watches are all handmade by the watchmaker himself.
Given how few of these watches exist in the world, it’s rare to find one out in the wild. This one is in excellent condition, with an 18k rose gold case and the original black leather strap; the moon phase and other indicators are set against a painted white dial. It also features a beautiful exhibition back with images of the sun and moon, and “the inside movement is solid and sophisticated,” according to one of our watchmakers.