6 of the best Seiko (& Seiko-Style) Affordable Moonphase Watches
James Elliott22 September 2021 | 7 min read
Moonphase watches are one of the most sought-after and adored watch types in the world. While tracking the phase of the moon has been crucial to humans for centuries, it’s a novel feature in a watch that, alongside being technically brilliant, also looks great as part of the design.
Although many watch fans associate a moonphase watch with the premium market, the good news is that there are many budget options out there. We find that a ton of people ask about, and search for, Seiko moonphase watches. Problem is though, they have a very limited moonphase watch range.
So instead, we’ll pull out our favourite Seiko-style moonphase watches from a number of different affordable brands, comparing them on their design, specs, price, and moonphase features.
To get us started, we’ve pulled out the only common Seiko moonphase watch that’s available to buy, the SRX015P1. And in actual fact, this watch is part of the Seiko Premier line, a range of more expensive watches from Seiko that offer ‘refined elegance’ in the dress watch category.
This 42.5mm piece is a real beauty, combining a steel case and bracelet with a clean white dial. On that dial, you’ll find a mixture of numeral indicators which are combined with a really nice set of dark blue arrow hands.
This watch is absolutely pumped full of spec, too, with indicators for the power reserve, 12/14 hours, date, and day all found on the dial. And of course, at the top of the dial, you’ll find the moonphase indicator which incorporates a lovely deep blue and yellow colour combination.
As the name suggests, this watch is equipped with a Kinetic movement which has an impressive 1-month power reserve. Given this is a premium watch, you’ll also get added features such as a sapphire crystal and 100m of water resistance.
Directly from Seiko, you can expect to pay in the range of $1,200 for this watch. It’s a nice piece but by no means a budget-friendly option, even though you’ll commonly find this model from trusted watch vendors for nearer to $700. But, if you love Seiko’s and are on the hunt for a Moonphase watch, this is the only model out there!
Next, we’ve pulled out the Calendrier model from Citizen, one of the best analog/digital hybrid watches available at this price point. While the watch comes in a couple of different design styles, we like the look of the black and gold version below, which offers something different from everything else we’ve featured so far.
The 42mm piece combines an all-over black steel finish with a dial that’s pretty busy thanks to a range of complications. Alongside tracking standard time, you’ve got analog day, date, and month indicators for keeping track of the entire calendar.
Another unique feature of this watch is the moonphase indicator, which is the first one we’ve seen today that’s digital. A small digital screen replaces that deep blue and yellow design, showing precisely the shape of the moon you can expect to see that night!
It’s that combination of analog/digital features that drives the popularity of this watch right up, with it being the perfect companion for those who want a dark and mysterious sports watch with a difference. If you like the look of the Calendrier, the good news is it’ll only set you back around $380, which is an excellent price for a moonphase watch with a hybrid mechanism.
At #3, we’ve gone for a brand that may be new to some in Armand Nicolet. If you haven’t heard of them, you should have, as the brand is steeped in history dating all the way back to 1875. The luxury Swiss outfit are on a mission to bring back the golden age of Swiss watches, and they do a great job with the MH2.
The Black Dial Automatic shares many Seik-like characteristics, with many of the components of this watch reminding us of Seiko’s classic SARB033. The 42mm MH2 is a good size watch for those with larger wrists, and does a great job of combining a sporty look and feel with a classy understated design style.
We especially like the dauphine hands and shiny silver hour markers, which are matched nicely against a deep black dial and a petite 3 o’clock date window. Of course, we’ve got a moonphase indicator on this watch too, which is subtly placed just about the 6 o’clock marker. Inside the case you’re getting an automatic Sellita Caliber SW280 movement, all protected by a 100m water-resistance rated sapphire crystal.
As always with watches, you get what you pay for, and given this watch is such a high spec, it easily justifies its $950 price tag. For that you’re getting a really great Seiko-style moonphase watch that’s packed full of quality and looks amazing on the wrist!
Moving back down to the budget market, one of the best seriously affordable moonphase watches on the market right now is the Rotary Windsor.
Rotary are well known for their budget dress watches, but this might be one of their best ever watches when you weigh up the spec vs. cost. The quaint 40mm model combines a stainless steel gold-colored dial with a comfortable feeling brown leather strap.
You’ve got a full calendar setup on the dial itself, with date, day, and month indicators accompanying the moonphase indicator at 6 o’clock. All of these sub-dials sit within a classy roman numeral design, with the electric blue hands standing out nicely but may be a little bit much for some.
While this classy little dress watch has several great features, it’s the price that stands out. At just $160, it’s an absolute bargain and one of the best ways to get your hands on a cheap moonphase watch from a reputable brand. It’s definitely not a hard one to recommend!
If you’re a frequent reader of the Watch & Bullion blog, you’ll know we’ve recently taken an interest in German watches. Zeppelin may not be a brand you’ve heard of before, but they aren’t new to the watchmaking world, given their near 35-year lifespan since being founded in 1987 by Wilhelm Birk.
The retro-styled Hindenburg combines a sleek silver dial with large numberings and gold accents to deliver a metallic and sporty dress watch. While the watch comes in a number of different configurations, we like the gold case/black leather strap combination as the contrast really adds to the design.
On the dial, you’re getting a full range of complications, including a rarely-seen week tracker around the chapter ring. Of course, you’re getting a moonphase indicator with this Zeppelin, too, that’s almost looks tucked away in the 6 o’clock position when compared to the other, larger sub-dials.
Cost-wise, if you’d like to get your hands on this unique piece from a relatively unknown brand, you’ll need to part with around $300. We think that’s a fairly good deal for a watch not many will have on their wrists, from a brand that’s both established but still up-and-coming all at the same time!
The first of the two Citizens we finish this article with is a bit of a fun one, with the Japanese brand teaming up with one of Disney’s most lovable characters, Mickey Mouse. While a Mickey Mouse watch may seem like a joke to some, this Citizen AP1053-15W is not to be underestimated as it packs a punch with its specs.
A rose-gold tone stainless steel case is matched beautifully with a white dial and black/red leather strap. On the dial itself, you’ll notice it’s actually relatively classy with the large numbers and Mickey Mouse character picture catching the eye.
You’re getting day, date, and month indicators on this watch, with the date tracking managed through an additional hand following a number sequence inside the main numbering. The moonphase indicator sits just about that Mickey Mouse icon and, like some other models we’ve seen, provides a lovely deep blue and yellow design style.
The watch comes equipped with Citizen’s famous Eco-Drive technology, giving you a high-quality Quartz movement that’s powered by solar energy – so there’s no need for new batteries! The whole thing is protected by a sapphire crystal and offers a nominal 100ft of water resistance.
While many may look at this as a novelty watch, it’s actually a pretty powerful piece of kit. For $340, you’ll be the proud owner of a moonphase watch from one of the best budget brands on the market that offers something a little different for watch fans, especially those who are also fond of Disney!
While Seiko doesn’t do a comprehensive range of moonphase watches, many Seiko-style competitors do have models available on the market.
There’s nothing quite like the allure of a moonphase watch, and whether that comes from the like of Rotary, Citizen, or someone new like Zeppelin, there are several budget options out there to choose from. We’ve picked out our five favorites, but do shop around for more moonphase watches as you’ll be sure to find the one that’s perfect for you!