How to Set a Moonphase Watch?

Moonphase watches an exquisite blend of science and art, are one of the true marvels of horology. With their intricate mechanics and captivating displays, these timepieces enable wearers to track lunar cycles, reflecting the celestial dance that unfolds in the night sky. An elegant testament to the centuries-old bond between timekeeping and astronomy, moon phase watches are both a fascinating relic of the past and a sought-after piece of modern luxury.

This comprehensive guide walks you through the fascinating world of moon phase watches, from their rich history and workings to a detailed guide on setting and maintaining one. Whether you’re a new owner of a moon phase watch or simply intrigued by its mechanics, you’ll find valuable insights and practical advice that demystify this timeless horological treasure.

Understanding Moonphase Watches

Moonphase watches hold a special place in the realm of horology. These timepieces incorporate an additional complication that displays the current phase of the moon as observed in the sky. This unique feature traces its roots back to the earliest days of watchmaking, providing a valuable tool for early astronomers and helping navigators find their way across the seas. Today, moon phase watches are revered for their sophistication and complexity, adding a unique flair to the aesthetics of a timepiece.

The beauty of a moon phase watch lies in its intricate mechanism. This ingenious design operates on a 29.5-day cycle, the same duration as a lunar month. It uses a specially crafted disc, displaying two identical moons on a rotating platform. This disc moves slowly, revealing various stages of the moon as viewed from Earth – from the new moon to the full moon and back again. While the specifics can vary, the essence of all moon phase complications lies in their representation of this lunar cycle.

Setting Your Moonphase Watch

Moonphase watches, due to their precision, require periodic settings to ensure an accurate representation of the moon’s phase. Ideal times to set your moon phase watch are during the new moon or full moon when the moon’s phase is most distinguishable. To find the current lunar phase, you can refer to a reliable almanac or a trusted online source.

Setting the time and date

Before adjusting the moonphase, set the current time and date on your watch. This ensures the moon phase complication will be synchronized correctly with the watch’s other functions.

Locating the moon phase indicator

The moon phase display is typically located on the dial of the watch. Some watches feature a pusher or a secondary crown that allows you to adjust the moon phase.

Adjusting the moon phase

Rotate the moon phase disc until it matches the current lunar phase. Ensure to turn it in the correct direction as indicated by the watch manufacturer.

Fine-tuning and synchronization

After setting the moonphase, you may need to fine-tune it to match the exact appearance of the moon. Once you’ve completed this, synchronize the moon phase with the time and date.

Setting a moon phase watch can be a delicate process. Avoid over-adjusting the moon phase or setting it during the wrong phase, as this can lead to an inaccurate display. Certain watches also have periods during which adjustments should not be made, typically around midnight when the date change mechanism is in action.

Maintaining Your Moonphase Watch

To ensure the longevity of your moon phase watch, regular care and maintenance are crucial. Follow these guidelines to keep your timepiece in optimal condition:

  • Cleanliness: Gently wipe your watch with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove any dirt or smudges. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the delicate components.
  • Storage: When not in use, store your Moonphase watch in a dedicated watch box or a soft pouch to protect it from dust, moisture, and potential scratches. Consider investing in a watch winder to keep the movement running smoothly.
  • Water Resistance: Check the water resistance rating of your moon phase watch. Avoid submerging it in water if it is not designed for such activities. If your watch is water-resistant, ensure that the seals are periodically checked and replaced by a professional to maintain its integrity.
  • Servicing: Regular servicing by a qualified watchmaker is essential to keep your Moonphase watch in optimal condition. The watchmaker will perform tasks such as cleaning, lubricating, and regulating the movement to ensure accuracy and longevity.

Despite their craftsmanship, moon phase watches may encounter certain issues over time. Here are two common problems and their potential solutions:

  • Slipping Moonphase Disc: If you notice that the moon phase display is not advancing correctly or slipping, it may require adjustment or repair by a skilled watchmaker. Avoid attempting to fix it yourself to prevent further damage.
  • Inaccurate Moonphase Display: If your watch consistently displays an incorrect lunar phase, it may require calibration. Consult the watch’s user manual or contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to recalibrate the moonphase complication.


Why is my Moonphase watch losing time?

If your Moonphase watch is consistently losing time, it may indicate an issue with the movement’s regulation or a worn-out mainspring. Consult a professional watchmaker to diagnose and address the problem.

How often should I set my Moonphase to watch?

Moonphase watches typically require adjustment every two to three years to maintain accuracy. However, if you notice a significant discrepancy in the moonphase display, it’s advisable to adjust it sooner.

Can I set my Moonphase to watch anytime?

While you can technically set your moon phase watch at any time, it’s recommended to set it during the new moon or full moon for the most accurate representation of the lunar phase.

What happens if I set my Moonphase watch incorrectly?

Incorrectly setting your moon phase watch may result in an inaccurate display of the moon’s phase. To rectify the issue, carefully follow the correct setting procedure or consult a professional watchmaker for assistance.


Setting a moon phase watch is both a functional and captivating process that connects the wearer to the celestial rhythms of the night sky. By understanding the inner workings of these intricate timepieces and following the proper steps, you can ensure an accurate and mesmerizing display of the moon’s phases. Remember to care for your moonphase watch diligently to preserve its beauty and functionality for generations to come.

By immersing yourself in the world of moon phase watches, you’ve embarked on a journey that blends art, science, and timekeeping. Whether you choose to wear one as a stylish accessory or appreciate them as intricate mechanical marvels, moon phase watches continue to capture the hearts of horology enthusiasts worldwide.

Sherry's editorial journey seamlessly merges with her passion for horology at WatchReflect. As a seasoned editor and watch enthusiast, she curates insightful guides that cater to novices and connoisseurs alike. With a penchant for research and a flair for storytelling, Sherry transforms horological complexities into engaging narratives. Her mission is to illuminate the path for those navigating the multifaceted realm of timekeeping.

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