Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar | Wristwatches360

5 Best Moonphase watches under £5000

Discover the moonphase complication in some of the most affordable yet highly received wristwatch brands.

Watchmakers and their accompanying brands have since mastered the art of combining many different components and functions to luxury wristwatches.

One of their most elegant functions created has to be the moonphase aperture, which offers a complex yet simplistic, design based on the moon moving through its rotation cycle. 

Looking back in time, the moon once played a vital role in various different cultures in rough predictions of time telling.

The requirement for the moonphase function has since become somewhat obsolete, as we have since mastered time-telling accuracy, yet it makes a reoccurring appearance on some of the most prestigious watch models ever produced. And the appearance on a wristwatch gives off a powerful sense of prestige and class – making it a perfect combination for formal social events.

To just understand the important role the phases of the moon have played in the formation of our society today, we need to look back in history. Learning how the moon was used as a reference point for time, and how humans utilized this understanding and made apparatus to provide ways of reading it.

This became known as the moonphase complication, which is a complex movement, that takes effort and time to build it. This makes it especially challenging to find a wristwatch in this day and age that doesn’t come with a cheap unreliable movement that is going to need constant maintenance.

History of the Moonphase watch

The very first astrological computer was the Antikythera mechanism that was invented by the ancient Greeks in 205BC as an astronomical calculator that was used to predict astronomical events.

Some 11 centuries later, the Chinese scientist, Su Song, followed in the ancient greeks’ footsteps and invented the first astronomical clock.

By the Renaissance period, his design of clocks was being incorporated in churches and cathedrals all over the world, and eventually, in the 16th century, the moonphase complication started to make a common appearance in many grandfather clocks. Then by 1928, the high-profile watchmaker, Patek Philippe, became the first company to feature a moonphase complication in their watch.

On modern timepieces the moonphase design has become a masterpiece, by artistically mimicing a crescent-shaped display that depicts the current phase of the moon. The display measures the full cycle from new moon to new moon, which takes roughly 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes, and 3 seconds to complete.

This aperture is portrayed on the face of the watch,  presenting the four main phases that the moon transitions through. The accuracy of this phase complication is largely dependant on the individual watch designs however it is said to be accurate to 99.998%.

The lunar calendar is still very important to a number of cultures and religions. Farmers work closely with the changing phases of the moon to know the optimum times for planting seeds and harvesting their crops and fishermen know which moon phases will ensure them a good catch. Many people wear a moonphase watch as a sign of class, the fascination with astronomy, or just appreciation of watchmaking excellence.

A stylish moonphase watch is considered highly desirable by watch enthusiasts everywhere. Whether you find this type of watch a technical masterpiece or admire human evolution, there is no denying their aesthetic beauty.

What is the best moonphase watches under £5000?

Our review of the best moonphase watches under £5000, explores five different watch brands that have created some of the best moonphase complications in the £5,000 budget. These timepieces demonstrate the prestigious precision and design in their wristwatches whilst being able to maintain a reasonable price.

1.  The Longines Master Collection L2.738.4.71.3

Best moonphase watch under 5000 - The Longines Master Collection

Founded in St Imier in Switzerland in 1832, longines soon developed several impressive innovations that would distinguish it from its competitors. Today, the company has built a world-class reputation and offers its clients a two-year warranty with all purchases.

There is something classically elegant about this stunning timepiece that is the perfect blend of technical superiority and superb workmanship that makes it the flagship of the Longines Master Collection.

This successful collection was launched 2005 and has taken horological craftsmanship to a new level. This watch has an automatic movement with a self-winding mechanism. There is a day of the week aperture at 12 o’clock and the moon phase aperture with classically styled gold lunar symbols, at the six o’clock position- just above the second counter.

The round stainless case measures 41 mm in diameter and is beautifully slim with a silver barley corn face which is protected by scratch-resistant sapphire glass. There are Roman hour numerals and clearly marked minute intervals. The soft dark brown leather strap features white contrast stitching on each edge. This watch is waterproof to a depth of 30 meters.

If you are looking for a stylish watch that is classically styled and will get you noticed, this Longines wristwatch is perfect.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Calibre
L707 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
Power Reserve
48 hours
Case Diameter
41mm

Price
£3,040.00

2.  Oris Artelier Complication

best moonphase watch under 5000 - ORIS ARTELIER COMPLICATION

 The Swiss watchmaking company of Oris was founded in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian in an old watchmaking factory in Hölstein. The company was named after a nearby brook. By 1911, the company had become the biggest employer in the town with 300 staff. In 1925, buckles were fitted to its pocket watches so that they could be worn like wristwatches and in 1925, the company began to specialize in making pilots’ watches.

More recently, Oris has been best known for its diving watches, but another of its collections – the Artelier- has been getting plenty of positive reviews since it was launched in 1991.

This superb collection was warmly welcomed by watch lovers after getting a completely fresh look in 2017.

The watch is designed with a pearl white face and deep blue arrowhead minute markers that have been designed to complement the hour and minute hands.

At the 12 o’clock position sits the moonphase aperture, is painted with a deep blue background, blending in perfectly with the overall appearance of the watch. 

There are three easy to read dials on the lower half of the watch face.  At 3 o’clock there is the day and at 9 o’clock on the date, whilst at 6 o’clock there is a quickly adjusted second-time zone.  The stylish look of this watch is enhanced by the dark blue leather strap, but there is the option to choose a stainless steel strap.  This watch is water-resistant to 50 meters.

With its contemporary looks and well-designed functions, this watch is perfect for wherever you are, whenever…

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Calibre
Oris 781 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
Power Reserve
38 hours
Case Diameter
40mm

Price
£1,550.00

3.  Fredrique Constant Classic Moonphase Manufacture

Best Moonphase watch under 5000 - FREDRIQUE CONSTANT CLASSIC MOONPHASE MANUFACTURE

Based on the outskirts of Geneva in Switzerland, Frederique Constant was formed in 1988 by Peter Stas and Aletta Stas-Bax. They very quickly established the company with a reputation for clever designs and mechanisms that were largely invented using computer programs. In 2016, the company was taken over by Citizen Holdings of Tokyo, Japan to give more choice in the luxury end of their product range. 

This Frederique Constant watch is classically styled and effectively makes time stand still! This handsome dress watch is presented in a rose-gold plated polished stainless steel case with a 42 mm white face.

The hours are written in black Roman numerals with the minutes clearly marked with easy read marks. At the 3 o’clock position is the moon phase aperture displaying classic gold moon silhouettes behind a large puffy white cloud, the date is displayed at the 9 o’clock position.

This watch is water-resistant up to five meters and its style is completed by the dark brown strap which has been crafted in crocodile calf leather. If you are feeling that this watch sounds a step too classic for you, it is available with a blue face and white features and numerals which look younger and trendier.

As a dress watch, it is thicker than many of its contemporaries but it still has classic good looks although the blue version definitely puts a stop to the criticism that the rose gold plated version is just a little too old-fashioned in its appeal.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Calibre
FC-712 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
Power Reserve
38 hours
Case Diameter
42mm

Price
£2,295.00

4.  Louis Erard Excellence Moonphase Chronograph

Moonphase watch under 5000 - LOUIS ERARD EXCELLENCE MOONPHASE CHRONOGRAPH

Louis Erard is an independent Swiss watch manufacturer who went into business in 1929 and produced its first watch two years later. What makes a Louis Erard watch so different is that it is made with a regulator layout that was first designed in the 18th century, but ensures that the watch is the most accurate of all.

Luxurious and ageless, the Louis Erard Excellence Automatic will bring many years of pleasure to the wearer. Well-balanced and refined, this is an exquisite timepiece. The watch face is circular and 42mm in diameter with sapphire anti-scratch and anti-glare crystal on both sides.

The watch is fully automatic and has the day and month displayed at 12 o’clock, the moon phases at six o’clock, and a second counter at nine o’clock. The hours are written in Roman numerals and the hour, minute and second hands are in blue. The look of the watch is completed by a soft crocodile calf leather strap in black. This watch is water-resistant to 50 meters (165 feet).  

Wearing this watch is a very special experience because it oozes precision and style in its design and is perfect whether you are wearing a suit, smart casual, or sports kit as its classic good looks suit all occasions.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Calibre
ETA 7751 Valjoux
Crystal
Sapphire
Power Reserve
48 hours
Case Diameter
42mm

Price
£2,850.00

5.  Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar

Best Moonphase watches under 5000 - Montblanc Star Legacy

To the top of the list of the most affordable moonphase watches, has to be the Montblanc Star Legacy full calendar.

The craftsmen at Montblanc can draw on 160 years of experience and heritage as they continue to make the most perfect timepieces. Situated in Villerat and Le Locle, the craftsmen pride themselves on the company’s history which began in 1858 with the minerva era. Since then the company has had many achievements that have ensured that the name Montblanc is synonymous with the finest watches.

Launched last year (2019) in the new line-up of Star Legacy watches, this watch is cleverly designed so that a little is definitely more. The 42 mm face is silver white, with clear black Arabic or Roman numerals and easy to read minute marks. The hands are blue and unusually, there is a fourth really fine hand which is tipped with a red crescent to highlight each date in the month. These are written around the periphery of the watch face.

At the 12 o’clock position, there are apertures for the day (left), month (right), and the beautiful moonphase aperture is positioned at six o’clock. All packed with its very own in-house movement, which makes it an even more impressive piece. for a price well below its competitors. This watch is aesthetically pleasing and the look is completed by the blue Matsumoto alligator calf leather strap.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Calibre
MB 29.12 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire, Domed
Power Reserve
42 hours
Case Diameter
42mm

Price
£3,895.00

The decision on which of our top five watches is best for you is purely subjective, as each brings with it a rich heritage of luxury watchmaking.  Deciding which classic timepiece is for you, will take time as you explore the different possibilities and find the allure of owning a moonphase watch irresistible. For pure aesthetic and quality build you cannot beat the classical Montblanc Star Legacy, which produces such a high profile design at a bargin price.

Yet, each watch shown above all have the characteristics of a prestigious watch brand without the heavy price tag that usually goes with it. Finding an impressively complex watch that powers a moonpahse movement with elgence is no easy thing. Yet, these watches listed above have no only built a beautiful collaborated master piece, but they have also managed to produce them all below the £5000 mark.

Max Laird | Wristwatches360

Written by Max Laird

Founder of Wristwatches360 & keen watch enthusiast.