A watch. With a moon on it? Tell me more Moonphase watches have long been a symbol of high-level horology. As well as telling the time, a moonphase watch follows the moon’s 29.5-day cycle as it journeys across the sky (taking in every part, from ‘new’ moon to ‘full’ moon). The moon is represented on the watch by a disc which arcs across the dial in step with the real thing. Timekeeping has always been linked with the movement of planets, so it’s no surprise that our nearest celestial neighbour – and something that directly affects life on earth – has become a fixture of elite watchmaking.
Does Christopher Ward make moonphase watches? Yes. And they’re some of the most advanced timepieces we’ve ever made. We started with the C9 Moonphase, then progressed to the C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase and our latest, and most popular lunar watch, the C1 Moonglow.
Why did you feel the need to make one? “When we’d get together with customers, it was the one complication they’d always ask for,” says co-founder Peter Ellis. “The problem was, most moonphase watches on the market were unforgivably dull.” The Christopher Ward solution was to take the moonphase watch and revamp its design, and use an extraordinary modified movement to power it.
How? On many moonphase watches, the ‘moon’ is small, but on ours, we use a larger, embossed nickel disc. Firstly, to celebrate the moon’s vital role in our lives, and secondly to show off the capabilities of the watch’s JJ04 movement as the ‘moon’ tracks across the dial. If you keep the watch fully wound it follows the moon in real-time for 128 years, whereas most other moonphase watches are only accurate once a day. Today, JJ04 powers our two moonphase watches, the C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase and the C1 Moonglow.
The problem was, most moonphase watches on the market were unforgivably dull.
What’s so special about JJ04? JJ04 is a modification of the Sellita SW220, a well-respected calibre used on some of our other watches. Here, the date wheel, along with its spring-loading assembly, have been stripped out and replaced by four extra wheels to drive the moon disc, with two more required for the setting mechanism. The latest version of the complication, as found on the C1 Moonglow, was overseen by Christopher Ward’s technical director, Frank Stelzer. He changed the structure of the wheels to allow for the date to be seen on the dial’s outer ring with a red marker indicating the correct date.
Tell us more about your current moonphase watches Our latest moonphase is the C1 Moonglow: a phenomenally popular watch with Christopher Ward customers. Launched to mark the 50 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings, the watch displays two three-dimensional – and ultra-realistic – moons on the dial, both of which are painted Grade X1 GL C1 Super-LumiNova® that emit the ‘moonglow’ of its name. The phase of the moon is read through an aperture at 12 o’clock, while the other moon remains clouded through smoked glass. You’ll also love how the watch shows the date. Instead of a conventional date window, a rotating ring, coated with Grade X1 GL C1 Super-LumiNova®, aligns with the current date on a lumed outer-date ring.
Are there other options? If you’d prefer a classic dress watch with a moonphase complication, you may find the C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase to your taste. Here, the moon is made of nickel, which along with the polished numerals at 12 and 6 o’clock, give the watch a refined, classic, look. The piece’s size is also understated – at just 40mm it’ll suit most wrists and most occasions. And like the C1 Moonglow, the moon plays the ‘hero’ role, reminding you of our relationship with our near neighbour and our own planet’s place in the cosmos.