Few watch complications are poetic and charming, yet technical, as indication of the phase of the moon. The moon phase is self-explanatory, one can both see and keep track of how the moon waxes and wanes over a month, yet also magical, for gazing at the moon creates a brief moment when time stops. If you have had the privilege of chasing these thoughts as you looked at the dial of a fine watch, you will understand this complication’s eternal appeal both for the watchmaker and connoisseur – male and female.
In recent years, Patek Philippe has developed a thoughtfully structured line of moon phase watches for ladies, so let us now take a look at the three distinct families: the Ref. 4968, the pair of Refs. 4947 and 4948, and the top of the line Ref. 7140.
The Diamond Ribbon Reference 4968 gives the moon phase a lavish presentation it so rightfully deserves. The term “Diamond Ribbon” refers to its remarkably unique design: though just 33.3mm wide, the elegant and intricate case features a ribbon-like pattern of diamonds in graduated sizes, 273 diamonds totally 2.12 carats in fact, which flow in a spiral around the bezel.
Framed by the diamond bezel is a sensibly designed and legible dial in mother of pearl, featuring leaf-style hands and applied numerals. At six o’clock, the star of the dial is the moon phase, which has been merged with the subsidiary seconds. Stars are scattered across the fixed, lower segment of the sub-dial, while below is the pearlescent disc that carries the moon.
Patek Philippe Ref. 4968G-010
The references 4947 and 4948 merge the phase of the moon indication with an annual calendar indication. While the Diamond Ribbon brought you only the moon phase, the refs. 4947 and 4948 feature three sub-dials and a date aperture for a full calendar, a splendidly practical companion for everyday life.
As with all annual calendars, the refs. 4947 and 4948 require one adjustment to the calendar every year at the end of February for 28 or 29 days. The newer of the pair is the ref. 4947G-010, launched just this year with a silvery dial and white gold case that has 141 diamonds and another 14 on the crown.
Patek Philippe Ref. 4947G-010
The ref. 7140R is a Grand Complication, a true tour de force by the manufacture and one of the most complicated ladies’ watches produced by Patek Philippe. A beautifully proportioned 35.1mm rose gold case contains the extra-thin 240Q movement, which offers the day, date, month, leap year and 24-hour indicator, as well as the phase of the moon set against a starry, blue night. Being a perpetual calendar, the ref. 7140 only needs correction once a century, many, many moons from now.
With its 275 components and an off-centre micro-rotor, the 240Q calibre measures a slender 3.88mm high, allowing the 7140R to be not only complicated, but also easily wearable during the day. And the rose gold case is set with 68 diamonds on the bezel, making it perfect for a glamorous evening out.
Patek Philippe Ref. 7140R-001
The phase of the moon has been an important regulator of daily life since the dawn of civilization, setting the pace for the days, months and seasons. Whether wrapped in a ribbon of diamonds or surrounded by an eternal calendar, a glance at the serene moon gives reminds you of the infinite rhythm of the cosmos.
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Victor Toth – Czech Republic
Victor Toth is a Prague-based, professional photographer-turned-watch enthusiast and freelance journalist, whose journey into the complex world of fine watchmaking had begun a number of years ago. Over this time it has become his passion to share his understanding of the finer details of beautiful timepieces, all in an effort to encourage a more thorough appreciation of this wonderful and complex universe of fine mechanics.