As its name suggests, the lunar calendar is based on the moon phases and, unlike the solar calendar, it is not connected to the seasons. It forms an integral part of all sophisticated calendar systems and, in watchmaking, it serves as a basis for calculation for more cutting-edge moon phase indicators.
Moon phases and age (one correction every 1,027 years)
The moon phase indicator mechanism in the Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 Watch is so precise that it only requires correction every 1,027 years and 108 days.
The four visible displays represent the new moon, the first quarter, the full moon and the last quarter. The moon performs a complete cycle in around one month. More precisely, the synodic period of a lunar month is 29.5305882 days. On this dial, the exterior disk counts the days that have passed at a rate of 29.5306667 per cycle. In 1,027 years and 108 days, the Vacheron Constantin moon phase mechanism will only be one day out.
A new moon occurs at the moment when it is positioned between the Earth and the Sun. The three celestial bodies are almost aligned and the Moon is lit from the opposite side to the Earth. It is therefore not visible.
For the full moon, the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are again almost aligned but the Moon is on the other side of the Earth and we can see all of the part that is lit by the Sun. The first and last quarters, more commonly known as half moons, appear when the moon is positioned at a 90° angle to the Earth and Sun. Facing the Earth, it is therefore half in the light and half in shade.
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