Review: echo/neutra Averau 39 Moon Phase

What does a watch need? In its simplest form, perhaps just an hour hand from which you can determine the minutes to a relative accuracy, as one-handed watches have proven, but typically, a simple watch features three hands. Anything else is what we refer to as a complication. That word says a lot. There are many times in life when a “complication” is a bad thing. Medical scenarios of course come to mind (if you were to search all of the scripts for ER or House, how many times would “there’s been a complication” have been said?). It’s a word that implies difficulty, a problem, perhaps even distraction.

Of course, in watches, the implications aren’t negative, but they do mean, or at least indicate, that a watch is beyond its simplest form. There are times when complications are quite useful, like a day/date indicator on those hazy mornings when you forget if it’s Wednesday or Thursday, GMTs when traveling, and times when they are less so. I’m a huge chronograph fan but the amount of times I’ve truly needed a chronograph is quite few. Yet, they do come up (usually in the kitchen).

With that said, there is a complication that is fairly common, generally speaking, that really serves little purpose beyond adding complexity to a dial in our modern lives: the moon phase. I’ve literally never made a decision based on the phase of the moon, nor needed to know its phase. If I did, I’d look up at night. Perhaps that makes me the odd one, but I doubt it. Sure, the moon affects tides, etc, but should you be a surfer or a sailor (or, likely, one of many other types of people for whom the tides matter) I imagine you have tools that are more exact and reliable than a smiling circle traversing a tiny section of a watch dial.

No, the moon phase is really more poetic than that. It’s functional, yes, powered by gears performing a calculation (the lunar cycle is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds, so it’s not simply linked to the date, for example), but our appreciation for it is one of wonder. On your watch is an indicator tracking a celestial body. Our closest neighbor in the universe (which, last I checked, is really big) with your watch you can know, well, not where it is in the sky, but how it will appear. It’s a functional decoration. It takes you out of the rigid system of hours, minutes, and seconds, and lets you ponder something larger, if only for a moment.

As you’re likely aware, moon phases tend to be a semi-ornate affair. Typically consisting of little golden circles on blue surfaces studded with five-pointed stars (why are they always five-pointed? Are they stickers for good behavior?), they peek out from behind peculiarly shaped windows, which create the shadow effect. They look great on dressier watches, reminding us that watches aren’t all about toughness and durability, but odd elsewhere. This, finally, brings me to the watch I’m here to talk about, the echo/neutra Averau 39 Moon Phase.

A mouthful of a name for sure, but this watch, when first announced caught my eye. Averau did something very few do successfully – design a moon phase for a sports watch. And not just that, but do so at an affordable price. Now, admittedly, they aren’t the first to do the former, and their execution does seem to draw from perhaps one of the greatest watches (in scale as well as function) featuring a moon phase, the IWC Big Pilot Perpetual, but the watch overall is its own thing. A hybrid of sporty elements that don’t quite resemble anything else, but also feel familiar. With a 39mm case, a Sellita SW280 elaboré beating within, Swiss-made on the dial (if that matters to you), and a starting price tag of $840 the Echo/Neutra Averau 39 Moon Phase is clearly a compelling watch worthy of a deeper look. So, let’s get to it.


Review: echo/neutra Averau 39 Moon Phase

Stainless Steel
SW 280-1
Water Resistance
39 x 46mm
Lug Width


Though it’s easy to be distracted by the moon phase, the Averau offers a lot of great design throughout, starting with the case. Proportioned like it was designed to satisfy watch reviewers, the Averau comes in at 39mm x 46mm x 13.9mm (our measure to the top of the domed crystal). No complaints there. Ok, just to predict comments, it’s a touch thick, but the case is broken up well, putting 3 – 4mm of height into the case-back, which bows out underneath the watch. So, on the wrist, it reads thinner.

In terms of the design, there’s nothing about the case that will necessarily make you turn your head, but it’s genuinely nice and well-executed. echo/neutra calls the Averau a “contemporary field watch,” which can mean just about anything, and I don’t envy them having to pigeonhole their design into an easy-to-understand category. It’s modern. It’s sporty. It’s just a touch elegant, and it gets the job done. Averau is a mountain in the Dolomite range, so you can get a sense of where some of the watch’s inspiration comes from. With that in mind a sort of “luxe” adventure watch makes sense, though once again, that can mean just about anything.

And then there’s the finishing, which is where the Averau really shines, no pun intended. I’m always amazed by how far the finishing quality has come on watches at this price point over the last few years. The mid-case is brushed along its sides and on the top of its lugs with an appealing grain, while a polished chamfer along the edge of the lugs adds a nice contrast. The bezel alternates from a polished side to a brushed chamfer to a polished top circle, which surrounds the dial. All of the lines are clean and sharp.

The crown has a bit of an unexpected look to it. It’s screw-down and measures 5.7mm in diameter and around 3.25mm long, which looks longer than it sounds. Rather than typical coin-edge style grips, it’s fully knurled with a fine texture. In your fingers, you don’t feel the knurling, yet it grips well, like fine-grit sandpaper. On the flat side is a surprisingly detailed etching that says Dolomiti Averau around a drawing of a mountain. It’s so small, I could only make out those details with a loupe. The case back, luckily, has a similar piece of art, but on a much larger scale.


The dial of the Averau is complex, and not just because of the complication that brought us here. There’s a lot going on and little empty space. Yet, after an initial wave of adjustment, the elements click into place and it becomes quite easy to read at a glance. The version seen here has a matte black surface though sunray blue and matte white are also available (more on those later). The first element that draws your attention is the large lumed blocks at 3, 6, 9, and 12.

Much thicker and bolder than any other element on the dial, they serve as poles of the watch, anchoring your eye and helping to orient your eye to the position of the dial. They are also the only lumed element on the dial, save the hands, glowing blue in the dark. Between these monolithic markers are small lines for the minute / second alternating with very long, thin lines per hour / 5-minute interval.

Around the very edge of the dial is a small trench depressed into the otherwise flat surface that, though barely visible, helps break things up a bit. On the far side of this line are very small numerals indicating 5-minute intervals at the tip of those very long lines. Follow that line in, and then you’ll find a larger hour indicated in two-digit format (01, 02…). One oddity is that the minute numerals rotate with the angle of the marker, while the hours are all aligned with their baseline towards the bottom of the dial. Something about this irks me, and I’m not sure why. Either way, both indexes are easy to read at a glance.

Next to the large marker at three you’ll find a circular date window showing a customized date disk with type that matches the dial. Though more common these days, I’m always glad to see a brand go the extra step and customize the date. Directly across at nine, “automatic” is printed in red, while under twelve you’ll find “echo/neutra” and “Averau”. Like I said, there is almost no empty space on this dial.

At six, finally, you find the moon phase complication. Rather than consisting of the typical half-circle window that displays a moon in the night’s sky, echo/neutra went for a version with two small circular windows set diagonal from each other. In the common moon phase, the edge of the window represents the shadow of the Earth. Here, the window is the moon. The shadow is then printed on the disk, and rotates through. I’m not sure where this concept originated, but, like I said in the intro, it’s definitely present on a few IWCs.

It’s odd to call it a sub-dial as there are no hands, but around the windows you’ll find some graining, a region of dark gray, which provides some general contrast and a little text. “Southern Hemisphere” and “Northern Hemisphere” are written in gray and white, respectively, and have accompanying arrows indicating which window pertains to the moon in your region of the world. Through the windows, you’ll then find a print of the actual surface of the moon as well as dark black shadow.

What I like about this execution is that it doesn’t feel dressy or fussy, but rather technical. It doesn’t seem out of place at all on a sporty watch. A golden circle and some five-pointed stars definitely would have. It takes the complication from poetic to purposeful, as though I do need to know the phase of the Moon (I don’t, but whatever). It’s not distracting either. This is also because of the general design of the area. It’s all gray, and dark. Even the Moon graphic itself is relatively subdued, almost to its detriment.

That brings me to those other dial colors. Rather than matching the dial surface, as it does here, the blue and white dials get the same version found on the black dial. It looks pretty rad, especially on the white dial as it gets a sort of “panda” vibe, but would certainly be more of a visual focus of the dial. There’s something very sleek about the execution on the black dial. Though the Moon phase is a big feature of the watch – heck it’s why I’m writing about it – it’s differential to the basic functions of the dial.

The hour and minutes hands suit the dial well. The hour is short with a large arrow tip, while the minute is a long straight sword that is about the width of the lume markers on the dial.. Both are lumed edge to edge glowing bright blue, and feature black paint covering their centers. It’s extremely easy to tell them apart at a glance and they work with the tech/sport aesthetic at work. The seconds hand is then a straight stick in matte black with a painted tip in red and white. Though this might call an unneeded amount of attention to the seconds as it appears like a warning flag of sorts, it does look cool and adds a touch of color.


Powering the echo/neutra Averau 39 Moon Phase is the Sellita SW280-1 caliber. This is essentially the SW220 we’re all very familiar with at this point, but with the addition of the moon phase caliber. It features 26-jewels, automatic and manual winding, date, hacking seconds, moon phase, 41-hour power reserve, and a frequency of 28,800 bph. The movements in the Averau are also elaboré grade, which in Sellita terms means they come from the factory adjusted in 3 positions for tighter accuracy.

In terms of the moon phase, reading it is easy. You look at it, see the moon in your hemisphere, and assuming it’s set right, you should be good to go. Setting it is easy too, though does leave a lot of room for inaccuracy. With the crown in the second position you turn it counterclockwise to rotate the moon phase disc in small clicks. How many degrees, or days, etc this equals is unknown. So, as you try to match what the actual moon phase is likely via a website, you’re just doing so visually. As such, it’s really just a “close enough” type of situation. That said, the inaccuracy is a bit frustrating, if only conceptually. Why bother with a complication if it’s impossible to truly set?

Of course, you don’t really need to know the exact moon phase, and to be clear, this isn’t an issue that’s specific to the Averau. This is likely all moon phases that one sets themselves. Something like a perpetual calendar, or the incredibly accurate ochs und junior moon phase, is likely set by a watchmaker. Perhaps this inconsistency is only jumping out to me on the Averau because the execution makes it feel more purposeful than a smiling moon drifting through the sky. I just want to know if it’s right.


The Averau came mounted to a two-piece nylon strap that, to be honest, came off fairly quickly. It was plain black with “Averau” printed on it, which felt like too much branding. It just didn’t add anything to show. There are also black buffalo leather strap and a steel h-link bracelet options for a little extra money, the latter of which I’d definitely go for if I were to purchase. Anyway, I threw the watch on a Shadow Matte Supreme mil-strap by Crown & Buckle, as well as some rugged brown leather, and it felt more at home. Luckily, with a black dial and a 20mm lug width, you’re not going to be lacking in strap options for the Averau.

More importantly, the watch wears really well. 39mm x 46mm is pretty spot on for my 7” wrist and my preference for medium to small-sized watches, this one being firmly medium. It takes up just the right amount of wrist real estate, and thanks to being a little chunky and having broad, pilot watch-esque lugs, has an appealing sturdiness to it. It’s definitely a watch that feels like it can take a bump or two. The dial is also nice and large, giving the watch an overall greater amount of presence. The polished bezel surface around the dial seems to extend this even further.

And, of course, it looks great. It’s modern through and through, sporty, and toolish, but not without some style to it. The large markers at the cardinal points jump off the dial with the hands, giving a bit of a cross-hair look and a slightly tactical feel as well. At a glance and from afar, these elements are what jump out. The moon phase only appears up close. The case finishing speaks for itself, adding some refinement.



Though the moon phase brought me to the echo/neutra Averau 39 Moon Phase, the watch as a whole won me over. It’s well-executed, well-sized, pleasantly different, and very well-priced for the package. If you’re in the market for something smallish, sporty, and Swiss-made, I’d call it a viable contender to consider against the likes of Christopher Ward, Hamilton, Farer, etc. All offer something different around the same price point, the Averau being the only combining something sporty with a moon phase, and perhaps with the most modern aesthetic as well.

That said, the moon phase is a complication on the Averau in the sense described in my intro. It adds complexity. It’s not needed, or necessarily practical, but it’s enjoyable, giving the watch an overall more technical feel. If you’ve always wanted a moon phase, but never liked the typical fussy look of them, this is an excellent option. But, if you like what you see here in a 39mm sport watch with a Swiss movement, echo/neutra also makes a straight-up three-hand auto version and a manually wound small-seconds version starting at $630 and $745 respectively. So, even more value and less fuss. Choices, choices. echo/neutra

Images from this post:
Related Reviews
Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw