Pre-SIHH 2017: A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon PhaseWritten by Alvin Wong
A. Lange & Söhne's elegant take on the astronomical complication.
The Saxon brand is famed for over-thinking things so that we don’t have to. And once again, it shows its knack for why-didn’t-anyone-do-it-already mechanical innovations with the new Lange 1 Moon Phase.
A complication that charts the waxing and waning of the moon, the moon phase display is usually regarded as an ornamental feature, performing an aesthetic-driven function that is more poetic than practical. But as with all of Lange’s technical timepieces, the new Lange 1 Moon Phase is powered by a nuanced movement that belies the watch’s subtle classicism and apparent simplicity.
The most distinguishing feature of the new moon phase mechanism is that it is integrated with a day/night indicator. Not that you need a watch to tell you if it’s day or night (just look out the window, buddy!), but it certainly makes more sense to have the moon phase indicator accurately reflect the time of the day, instead of displaying a perpetual night sky as it is with other moon phase watches.
This is achieved via a 70-part moon phase mechanism comprising two discs – one on top depicting a solid gold moon, and a separate gold disc at the bottom, which turns once every 24 hours, coloured in a brilliant gradient azure hue that appears bright blue during the day, and turns dark navy at night. The concept sounds so simple that it is befuddling that no one has attempted it until now.
Of course, visual oomph is the main draw of any moon phase display, and Lange scores with not just the aforementioned depiction of day and night skies, but also the superbly well-polished gold disc that represents the celestial orb, and the laser-cut stars that shimmer realistically against midnight blue.
At the heart of the watch is the hand-wound L121.3 movement, which debuted two years before with the relaunch of the Lange 1 collection. Just to refresh your memory, the said movement boasts several important upgrades, including instantaneous date jump for the out-sized date, and twin barrels offering up to 72 hours of power reserve. Incidentally, the 38.5mm case of new Lange 1 Moon Phase is similar to the revamped version, featuring a thinner bezel for a more ‘open’ look on the dial.
Three versions of the watch are available: white gold case with black silvered dial, pink gold case with argente silvered dial, and platinum case with rhodie silvered dial. Thanks to the sensibly sized dimensions, all three wear superbly, and add to the refined nature of the collection. It is tough to pick a favourite but the version in the white gold case and black dial is certainly the most eye-catching of the lot.
|38.5mm, white gold, pink gold or platinum|
|Solid silver black, argente or rhodie|
|Manual-winding Calibre L121.3|
|Hours, minutes, stop seconds, outsize date, moon phase with integrated day/night display|
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.