A few weeks ago Lange, were generous enough to loan us the new Lange 1 Moon Phase, which incorporates one of the neatest little day/night indicators I’ve seen in some time for a couple of weeks. I fondly remember when this watch was announced last December and distinctly remember thinking what was so different? Soon all became clear of course but even then, I was left somewhat underwhelmed by this announcement. I remember in recent years when December announcements were made the watches introduced sported some kind of handwerkskunst or enamel dial. But this new Lange 1 Moon Phase, somehow was a little more subdued or perhaps subtle is a better word? Nonetheless, we just had to get our hands on it to see Lange’s subtle refinement that has quite the impact.
It was way back in 2002 that Lange decided to bestow the moon phase complication upon the Lange 1, only further enriching the Lange 1 family line. And while the Lange 1 family is perhaps Lange’s most successful range it probably doesn’t make your heart flutter as much as say, a Datograph but the combination of the moon phase in the Lange 1 is rather special.
The moon phase complication is a sight to behold on any timepiece but what makes the new Lange 1 moon phase very special is that you are in fact looking at two rotating discs. Ordinarily the moon phase disc comprises of just one disc, with the actual moons (yes there are two) sitting on the disc which not only display the night sky but also the stars. In the Lange 1 moon phase the disc that you’d ordinarily assume is the backdrop for the night sky with stars, is actually a 24hr indicator, which throughout the day changes from an incandescent beautiful sky blue (during the day) to a starry deep blue night sky. It is such a minute change but the impact is just stunning.
The day/night indicator or celestial disc (which is its correct name), is made of solid gold but as mentioned sports varying hues of blue. Pursuing the orbital rotation of the background are two round gold discs, representing the moon. These sit atop the celestial disc and track the lunar cycle – with an average duration of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds – so accurately that it takes 122.6 years for the display to deviate from the true synodic period by just one day. We’ve spoken here before about just how accurate Lange’s moon phase complication is.
The new Lange 1 moon phase takes advantage of the new Lange 1 movement introduced only a couple of years ago and of course offers the same performance benefits too. The addition of a moon phase complication atop of the calibre L121.1 adds some 70 extra parts, which have been so cleverly integrated in the L121.3 manufacture calibre that it is only marginally larger.
The dial of the Lange 1 moon phase is a beautiful thing; the asymmetrical layout of the dial (which is centred around triangles) is remarkably more harmonious than it perhaps suggests. The black dial is the perfect canvas for the luminous time and power-reserve indications, which are complemented with an outsized date window, moon-phase display and the day/night indicator.
The 38.5 mm case is what makes this Lange pretty much perfect, it’s no fuss yet simple and functional design is a standout feature – I only wish manufactures would utilise this kind of case size more often. Made in pink-gold, white-gold and platinum, all angles and curves have been polished to a mirror shine, with the exception of the case band that sport a satin finish. And while I’ve mentioned it before I just have to mention it again, I just love the way that the lugs on Lange timepieces meet the case. It amazes me how small details like this make all the difference to the overall look and feel of a timepiece, both visually and physically.
At 10 o’clock is a push piece that allows the wearer to advance the outsized date function, with much ease. Down at 8 o’clock, is a recessed pusher to advance the moon phase complication, which when pushed not only gives great tactile feedback but also makes a distinct and peculiar ping!
As you may or may not be aware, I am a fan of Lange timepieces – their German precise, bolt like action, fine-tuned mechanical wristwatches are pure genius, not to mention the meticulous and artistic finishing of their movements. Yet the Lange 1 for me has also been (in my opinion) a little less exciting than say the Datograph or even the 1815 Flyback for that matter, it’s just never been one of their sexiest pieces in my eyes. Yet this new Lange 1 Moon Phase kind of changed my stance on the Lange 1.
I’ve spoken to many collectors and while they may have some truly exquisite timepieces in their collection, more often than not it lacks a Lange and when asked why, I tend to hear the same comment – emotional connection and I somewhat get it. But when I strapped this 38.5mm Lange 1 Moon Phase to my wrist, it was hard not to form an emotional connection with it, it’s charm offensive. It reels you in. I admittedly spent countless moments just gazing into the celestial day/night indicator – those hues of blue are seductive and it honestly doesn’t help with blue being my favourite colour either.
Then there’s the size of the case, it is just perfect. I’ve only ever spent a good couple of weeks with one other Lange 1 and that was the Time Zone and while it has some charm to it, it’s 41.9mm case can at times feel large on the wrist. This though, just feels more organic on your wrist and with a thickness of just 10.2mm it is perhaps easier to understand why. With all that said, if I were in the market for a Lange 1, this would be my preferred model bar none, with the exception of the uber cool and rare Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst with enamel dial!
The new Lange 1 Moon Phase, as mentioned is available in pink or white-gold, as well as platinum and comes on a brown or black leather crocodile strap. Both the pink and white-gold models are priced at £32,500 with the platinum model priced at £42,700.
For more information on the Lange 1 Moon Phase, visit the official A.Lange & Söhne website.