Light Up: A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase "Lumen"Written by Melissa Kong
A. Lange & Söhne takes its luminous dials to the stunning landscape of Iceland and the Northern Lights.
It’s unlikely you’ve never seen a watch with luminous markers. Glow-in-the-dark indexes and hands are found in all manner of watches, from casual pieces which incorporate them for a cool vibe to diving and aviation timekeepers where they’re actually instrumental.
But while luminous markers are completely safe now, that hasn’t always been the case. The first luminous markers were made with radium which, as we all know now, is radioactive and toxic to the human body. The women hired to paint the dials with radium would lick their brushes repeatedly to give them a pointed edge, unaware of how deadly the chemical element was. Some of them even painted their teeth and faces with the radium to surprise their partners at home. Unfortunately, these “radium girls”, as they were called, often fell seriously ill and many died.
Tritium was later discovered as a good substitute for radium but was still a radioactive material. Only later did scientists develop safe alternatives like LumiBrite and Super-LumiNova, both completely free of radioactive materials but which need to be charged in order to glow.
These days, watch lovers don’t have to worry about their tickers being radioactive. Rather, the beauty of the luminous glow takes centre stage, as demonstrated by the new Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen”.
Unlike Lange’s previous moon phase models with gold lunar discs, the “Lumen” features a glass disc coated with a patented process, then laser-cut with 1164 stars and a moon. When the Super-LumiNova behind it is charged, the stars and moon light up in a dazzling display of nocturnal beauty. Once the moon phase is set properly, it only needs to be adjusted by one day every 122.6 years. Which (in terms of the owner’s lifespan) is never.
The Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen” joins the Zeitwerk “Luminous” and the Grand Lange 1 “Lumen” as the third model in the series with a semi-transparent sapphire crystal dial. Thanks to its light-permeable coating, the numbers are exposed to enough light for them to glow in the dark for several hours. Endowed with a 41mm platinum case, the watch comes with a power reserve of 72 hours and is limited to just 200 pieces.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".