It wouldn’t be fair of me to write this review without stating upfront that this brand is one of my all-time favourites for a host of reasons that run the gamut from history to craftsmanship and more. Still, I refused to let that cloud my judgment as I was wearing the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase watch, an elegant and slightly different conception of Haute-Horlogerie for Ladies.
A. Lange & Sohne is undeniably one of the premier German watch brands on the market today. With roots dating back to 1846, the brand’s incredible watchmaking ended abruptly during World War II with the expropriation of the company by the government. It was not until after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, that Walter A. Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolf Lange, seized the opportunity to revive the German watch company.
In 1990, Lange Uhren GMBH was registered in Dresden and the brand set about creating watches once again in its German homeland and according to incredibly strict standards of excellence. The brand registered its first patent in 1992 for the outsized date, and by 1994 was showing new timepieces to the public. Today, A. Lange & Sohne has created and produced dozens of in-house-made calibres and won hundreds of awards. Recently, too, the brand opened its all-new state-of-the-art CO2-free Manufacture – constructed using geothermal energy and offering a carbon-free environment. Here, the brand produces its own components, including hairsprings, and other watch parts, and executes the finishings, engravings, assembly and testing.
Since its rebirth in the early 1990s, I have watched this brand grow, extend its wings and soar to new heights under the vigilant eye of the late Walter A. Lange. This brand boasts classically elegant watchmaking with cutting-edge technology for collections that continually surprise and delight us.
This is also true in the realm of women’s watches – including the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase. Some pundits argue that this watch is just a scaled-down version of the larger Lange 1 for men, and to some degree that may be true. After all, it is a smaller sized mechanical watch inspired by the Lange 1. However, it all stops there. With this Little Lange 1, the brand has proven that it understands what discerning women want and delivers outstanding watchmaking under the hood, elegance in design and a few useful functions all wrapped up in one sweet package for the wrist.
The 18-karat rose gold Little Lange 1 Moon Phase watch houses a new movement inside the 36.8mm case (which is 1.7 mm smaller than the Lange 1 Moon Phase). A tour around the dial begins with a large jumping date indication via a double window at 2:00, the power reserve indicator spanning from 2:00 through 4:00, the elegant moon phase indication at 5:00 with integrated small seconds and the off-centered time indication at 9:00.
The 411-part manually wound L121.2 movement that powers this watch is based on the calibre of the Lange 1 introduced two years ago with twin mainspring barrel offering 72 hours of power reserve. With lever escapement and shock resistant balance wheel with eccentric poising weights, this watch beats at 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour. The moon phase indication of this watch – with two golden moons on the lunar disc in agenté colour – is so precise that it will only need one correction (by one day) once every 122.6 years.
The plates are made of untreated German silver and the balance cock, along with all of the other movement components, are finely finished and engraved by hand. A sapphire caseback allows for viewing of the mechanical beauty. The winding of the watch and setting of the time is done from the crown, but there is a button for quick corrections of the outsized date and a push piece for correcting the moon phase display.
This Little Lange 1 Moon Phase watch is sold with either a black satin strap or a beautiful white leather strap. For change, I decided to go with the fabric strap. There’s a beautiful contrast between the black strap and the silvery white dial, and it easily moves from day to night with no problem: I wore this watch working; I wore this watch to the apple orchard and I wore this watch dancing.
This is a watch of substance. I loved winding it; I loved watching the power reserve hand rise from empty to full with each wind. I loved knowing I had German silver on my wrist and I loved looking at it. Of course, not every woman wants a mechanical hand-wound watch; many prefer an automatic calibre that you give a little shake or two of the wrist and it keeps on going – but I love winding a watch. It is a peaceful thing to do; it makes you stop and consider time and how fast it fleets by. The entire Little Lange 1 Moon Phase – from functions to movement, to gorgeous looks – retails for US$39,500 / 38,800 Euro. Secretly, I wanted to abscond with it.
Perhaps the only complaint I have about this watch is that it doesn’t have a quick-strap-change option. I loved wearing the black satin strap, but I would have loved it more if I could have several straps and quickly and easily changed them out myself. I think it would be an amazing advancement because sometimes discerning women also want choice. More details on www.alange-soehne.com.
Technical Specifications – A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Moon Phase
- Case: 36.8mm diameter x 9.5mm height – 18k pink gold, polished – sapphire crystal on both sides
- Movement: Calibre L121.2, in-house – hand-wound – 72H power reserve – 3Hz frequency – 411 parts – Hours, minutes, small seconds, moon-phase, outsize date, power-reserve indicator
- Dial: hand-guilloche dial – silvery-white with pink gold accents
- Strap: satin black fabric or white alligator
- Reference: 182-030
- Price: US39,500 – 38,800 Euro
This article has been written by Roberta Naas, founder of watch-magazine A Timely Perspective. Roberta is also the author of six books on watches.