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Best Moonphase Watches Under $500 | Our Top Picks in 2021

There’re many many different types of watches in the world, with designs styles for everything from formal occasions to underwater diving. From a technical standpoint, watches have become more and more sophisticated too, not just tracking meer minutes and hours, but also the day, date and month. 

One of those technical advantages is the moonphase complication, something that is not only mechanically impressive but also looks great on the watch itself. But first, what is a moonphase watch? Here’s a definition: 

“A moonphase watch displays the sunlit portion of the moon as observed from Earth at any given point during each 29.5-day lunar month.”

The way this is displayed is often very graphical and as such, moonphase complications are most often found in dress watches where the night sky stylings can be seamlessly incorporated. 

Many people associate a complication such as this as something that’s reserved for premium watches only. And whilst that’s partly true, with the vast majority of moonphase complications found on expensive watch models, there are some budget watches which incorporate the moonphase feature! 

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best moonphase watches you can get on a budget – a sub-$500 budget to be exact! There are some fantastic watches in here, so let’s get started!

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5 Affordable Moonphase Watches (Under $500)

1. Rotary Windsor Multifunction Moonphase Watch

We start off with a classic brand in the budget dress watch range in Rotary. With their roots in the UK, the brand pride themselves on creating affordable watches with their specialism firmly within classic but timeless design. The Windsor Moonphase piece is no exception to this! 

This 40mm piece combines a gold-plated steel case, brown leather strap and sapphire crystal to create a solid and stylish feel on the wrist. Underneath the glass, the combination of roman numeral markings and three small windows for day, date and month mean this watch also packs a technical punch. 

The hands on the watch and complication windows are all coloured electric blue and whilst at first this may seem quite striking, they offer a contrast to the face that helps make this watch unique. The moonphase window sits at the 6 o’clock position and combines itself nicely with the Rotary logo to round off the look and feel of a classy dress watch! 

This watch falls well within the sub-$500 range with the MRRP at around $225. Expect to commonly find this watch on sale where you can save at least an additional $40. At that price, and with the range of complications and sapphire crystal, this watch is an absolute bargain!

2. Citizen Calendrier BU0050-02L 

Citizen is a staple of the budget watch market and regularly creates fantastic watches across the dress, sport and diving markets. The Citizen Calendrier is a fantastic analog/digital hybrid, bringing together classy dress watch design and enhanced digital functionality to create a watch with a little bit of everything! 

Let’s start with the look and feel of the watch; 44mm, a stainless steel case, a black leather strap, a mineral crystal and a royal blue face. After this is where the watch gets a little more interesting. The face itself is busy, merging together four small windows driving day, date, month and moonphase to give a complete perpetual calendar!

Where this moonphase complication differs from every other watch in this review is that with the Calendrier,the display is digital rather than analog. Some people will like the sportier and modern style of this display whilst others will yearn for the glitzy night sky design seen in the other watches. 

At around $300, the Calendrier is a great moonphase watch delivering a huge amount of functionality for a very respectable price! If you’re looking for a watch with both hybrid design and hybrid features, this watch just could be for you!

3. Filippo Loreti Venice Moonphase Silver Mesh

We now come onto a brand who are new to the watchmaking scene but are doing a great job of taking the market by storm and that’s Filippo Loreti. In particular we’ve picked out their Venice Moonphase watch which combines many great features, including of course a moonphase indicator, with fantastic design style to create an overall fantastic watch! 

This watch balances off looking sleek and minimalist whilst packing a range of complications onto the dial. By utilising a clean white and silver colour combination alongside small windows for tracking day, date and month, the 40mm piece keeps the dial looking smooth helping its main feature stand out – the moonphase indicator. 

Found at the 6 o’clock position, the blue and yellow indicator looks incredible and compliments the watch very well. The moonphase indicator is accompanied by other premium features such as a sapphire crystal, a steel mesh bracelet and 50m of water resistance. 

The best thing about this watch? The price! Retailing at $400, it’s well worth every dollar and is often found even cheaper as part of one of FP’s many clearance events. If you’re looking for a sleek moonphase watch on a steel strap, this is an absolutely fantastic choice! 

4. Victorinox Swiss Army Watch 241833

Victorinox are a brand best known for their versatile and universally used Swiss Army Knife but their watches are equally impressive pieces of engineering. Specifically for this review, we’re picking out the 241833 model which provides a very sleek and simple moonphase watch. 

Bringing together a 35mm case, silver plated steel bracelet, 100m of water resistance and a quartz movement this Swiss Army watch has a fantastic functional base for the moonphase functionality to sit upon. You may notice at 35mm this is fairly small. Whilst by definition this is a ladies watch, it’s also popular with men who like a smaller watch and is seen by many as unisex. 

The dial is incredibly clean. Spear tip hour markers mix together with silver baton hands to create an ‘all metal’ look. There’s a small circular date window housed at the 6 o’clock position with Victorinox’s logo replacing the 12 marker. 

This leaves a lot of room in the centre of the dial for the deep blue and silver moonphase indicator which doesn’t look out of place and instead rounds off what is an incredibly good looking watch. The watch’s $400 price tag completes an incredibly good deal and makes it the perfect moonphase watch for those that like small, steel watches! 

5. Citizen Mickey Mouse Moonphase AP1053-15W

We finish up with a timepiece that offers something completely different to most watches we feature in the Watch & Bullion blog. We’ve already had a Citizen in our line up today but this model has a twist in that it pays homage to the biggest icon of the Disney universe, Mickey Mouse. 

Firstly we’ll cover off the design. The red and black strap will be the first thing which stands out, bringing this watch straight on theme with the character. It’s also complemented by a rose gold plated case, funky fonts for the numbering and an image of Mickey himself at the 6 o’clock position. 

Don’t be fooled by the silliness of this watch though, technically it’s still a very respectable piece and lines up against all the others we’ve shown in this review. Inside the sapphire crystal protected case, the watches utilises Citizen’s famous Eco Drive movement alongside additional features such as 50m of water resistance.

On the dial you’ll get day and month indicator wheels with the date indicator coming in the form of an additional yellow hand pointing to date markers around the outside of the watch. The moonphase itself is found in the lower centre of the watch, and compliments the overall design of the watch well without making the dial look too busy! 

If you’re after a moonphase watch with a difference, or are looking for a unique gift for a Disney fan, this watch may just be perfect for you. The added bonus? It’s super affordable with prices often found around the $350 mark! 

Summary

There’s something magical about a moonphase watch. Whilst the functionality itself isn’t super complex, having it on the dial adds an element of class and sophistication to any watch!

Luckily moonphase functionality isn’t reserved for the luxury watch market, with budget brands such as Citizen, Rotary and Filippo Loreti all coming up with fantastic moonphase watches for bargain prices! 

That’s all for our round-up today, we wish you happy moonphase watch hunting! Be sure to check back to the Watch & Bullion blog again soon for another look at some of the best watches the world has to offer.