The Lange 1 has been the anchor of the A. Lange & Söhne collection since the brand’s re-emergence in 1994. Back then it was considered quite a disruptive piece, although still exceptionally elegant… and it still is. Another recurring theme at A. Lange & Söhne is the moon, which can be found on several watches from the Saxonian Manufacture – for example the Saxonia Moon Phase. So what happens if you combine both? You get the Lange 1 Moon Phase of course. And since the standard Lange 1 received a subtle but welcomed update in 2015, it is now the Lange 1 Moon Phase’s turn. Updates include the addition of the new Lange 1 movement and a new day/night indication incorporated right into the moonphase indication. Here is the new SIHH 2017 A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase (not to be confused with the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase).
Let’s be clear from the outset. This new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase is nothing revolutionary. Just as the standard Lange 1 discretely evolved back in 2015, this Moon version of the Lange 1 follows the exact same recipe: minor (and by minor we mean really minor) visual updates, an impressive mechanical update under the “hood”, and the addition of a small, quite hidden but nicely integrated display feature. Overall, this new Lange 1 can be seen as an update, with huge respect shown to the original 1994 design – and its iconic use of the golden ratio.
Visual evolution of the new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase
Just like the Lange 1 phase 2 introduced in 2015, this new Moon Phase edition of the Lange 1 only offers minimal aesthetic changes. Essentially they are the same two updates we saw in the Lange 1, meaning: a slightly thinner bezel (while the diameter remains the same, at 38.5mm), thus offering a more open dial (although just barely), and secondly the logo and fonts have been made slightly narrower. The visual impact of both changes is extremely subtle and probably won’t even be noticed at first glance. They will probably just lend a bit more elegance to the overall dial. That’s all.
Everything else remains the same in terms of display and layout: off-centered hours and minutes at 9, power reserve at 3, large date at 2 and a combination a small second and a moonphase at 4:30. This last tiny sub-dial has evolved however with the new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase, but we’ll come back to that in a minute.
Technical Evolution: the arrival of the Calibre L121
Just like the 2015 Lange 1 Phase 2, the new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase benefits from a modern and performance-enhancing new movement, the Calibre L121 (in this case dubbed Calibre L121.3). Here we don’t just see an evolution of the movement introduced in 1994, we’re in fact talking about a brand new engine that features an entirely different architecture. When comparing the two movements it becomes quickly apparent that they are quite different from each other. At a first glance we can already spot two main differences. The first one comes from the position of the balance wheel (next to the crown for the new movement and on the opposite side in the older edition). This detail has in fact a larger influence than expected and by just changing the position of the balance the whole architecture of the movement is renewed. Then comes the shape of the 3/4 plate, now full and not opened by two sub-bridges like in the older Lange 1.
Here are the main changes:
- A new in-house balance wheel. The older A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Moon Phase featured an outsourced and classical balance wheel with screws on the rim and with a swan neck regulator. The new Lange 1 Moon Phase comes with A. Lange & Sohne’s own free sprung balance made to a chronometric standard. It features 6 eccentric poising weights – while screwing or unscrewing these weights, you can adjust the diameter of the balance wheel and thus the rate. The old swan neck regulator is replaced by a visually identical part in the new edition, which is in fact a mechanism to adjust the attachment point of the balance spring.
- A completely different movement layout. As we said before, the 3/4 plate and the balance wheel are now positioned differently, with a full bridge on the top (no more holes) and a balance wheel that is located next to the crown (opposite side on the older Lange 1). The small second indicator and the fourth wheel (the one that is just after the escape wheel and thus running the seconds) are now positioned one on top of the other. This means that the small-second is driven directly by the fourth wheel. Before that, the small-second and the fourth wheel where positioned on opposite sides of the watch, meaning that the old Lange 1 featured a complicated additional gear train to transfer energy to the small-second.
- A new date mechanism. Even if the outsize date remains visually the same, it now features a quick-change mechanism that makes an instant jump at midnight (and not a slower transistion like in the older version)
- Still a double barrel architecture, with 72h power reserve and a 3Hz frequency.
The Hybrid Moonphase – Day/Night Indicator
The main update here is of course the new Day/Night Indicator. While the previous Lange 1 Moon Phase was fitted with a classical moonphase indicator incorporated within the small second sub-dial, the new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase adds another complication into the mix: a day and night indication. I’m sure right now you’re wondering how, because clearly, it’s not that simple to see. In fact, the solution is quite ingenious and also rather visually attractive.
A separate solid-gold moon pursues its orbit in the foreground. Behind it, a celestial disc – also made of solid gold – performs exactly one revolution every 24 hours. On the disc, the different times of day are represented by varying blue hues created by the effects of the second disc contrasting against the first one. During the day, it shows a bright sky without stars, while at night it depicts a dark sky with prominently contrasting laser-cut stars. Thus, the moon always orbits against a realistic background that doubles as a day/night indicator when setting the watch. The moon is, as usual with Lange, very precise, as it takes 122.6 years for the display to deviate from the true synodic period by just one day.
Details, Price and Specifications
The new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moon Phase will be available in 3 versions:
- 18K White Gold case with black dial and black strap – 39,500 Euros
- 18K Pink Gold case with argenté dial and brown strap – 39,500 Euros
- 950 Platinum case with rhodium dial and black strap – 52,000 Euros
While the technical side has greatly evolved, the Lange 1 Moon Phase retains all the attributes of its predecessor, meaning a 38.5mm x 10.2mm case and the same, ever so elegant dial with the perfect integration of the moon phase display. Of course it’s not really a revolution but when the aesthetics of a watch already look this good why would you change them? www.alange-soehne.com.
- Case: 38.5mm diameter x 10.3mm thickness – white gold / pink gold / platinum – polished and brushed surfaces – sapphire crystal on both sides – water resistant to 30m
- Movement: Calibre L121.3 – in house produced – manual winding – 72 Hours power reserve – 3Hz / 21,600vph – hours, minutes, small seconds, large date, moon and day/night indication
- Strap: black or brown alligator strap on prong buckle matching the case material
- References: 192.029 (white gold) – 192.032 (pink gold) – 192.025 (platinum)
Post-scriptum – A .Lange & Söhne is now on Instagram, under the account @alangesoehne. The plan is to use the platform to present both new products and models from the current collection. But the company’s account will also fulfil another important purpose: “We can use it to provide watch fans with an in-depth look behind the scenes, for example, by posting close-ups of dials or macro shots of parts of a movement,” says Schmid. “Plus, it will allow us to show the highlights of our work in the manufacturer in future.”