A. Lange & Söhne: Starry Starry Night

by Jamie Tan

The moon against a starry celestial backdrop, right on your wrist.

A. Lange & Söhne’s calling card is, without a doubt, the Lange 1. Introduced in 1994 as part of the brand’s re-founding by Walter Lange after Germany’s reunification, it heralded the revival of the Glashütte-based manufactory his grand-grandfather had established. In the short time since the Lange 1’s debut, it has become both A. Lange & Söhne most recognisable timepiece, as well as a modern watchmaking icon unto itself.

The Lange 1’s age belies just how fully-fledged it is as a collection. Today, it spans some 40 references across 10 models, with several being limited editions. A. Lange & Söhne continues to bolster this line-up with new timepieces – such as the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar introduced at Watches and Wonders this year – while improving existing ones with technical upgrades and new colourways.

For the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase, two new references in white gold have been unveiled. Their standout feature are their aventurine glass dials, which A. Lange & Söhne refers to as gold flux. Formed by crystallising flecks of copper into molten glass that is then allowed to cool and solidify, aventurine glass glitters and shimmers as light plays across its surface. It’s reminiscent of the night sky and its numerous stars, and lends a poetic touch to the eponymous moon phase complication of the timepiece. In turn, the dazzling dial is framed by either a “plain” bezel, or one set with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds for an even stronger statement.

Apart from the new dial material, the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase retains all the other features that have made it a familiar classic. The Lange 1’s iconic dial design remains untouched here, from the outsize date display to the harmonious relationship between the various dial elements. Note, for instance, how the date indicator’s width and height form the Golden Ratio, and how its centre forms an isosceles triangle with the two sub-dials’ centres.

Aesthetics aside, A. Lange & Söhne has obviously also paid special attention to the watch’s technical aspects. Like its other siblings, the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase is powered by calibre L121.2, which was introduced in 2019. This movement’s moon phase display tracks the lunar cycle to a high degree of accuracy, with a deviation of just one day every 122.6 years instead of the 2.5 years typically seen. Of course, the timepiece will require servicing well before that, and corrections are necessary should the watch be left unwound. There’s no denying the appeal of a moon phase display that offers a lifetime of accuracy though, and A. Lange & Söhne has delivered in spades here.

Like its moon phase display, the rest of calibre L121.2 is quintessentially A. Lange & Söhne. From the engraved balance cock to the usage of untreated German silver and the three-quarter plate, the brand’s signature touches are all on display via the see-through case back. A. Lange & Söhne’s German heritage is also obvious too, as details such as the gold chatons and blued screws show.

The Little Lange 1 Moon Phase measures 36.8mm across, compared to the Lange 1 Moon Phase’s diameter of 38.5mm. On the wrist, it feels noticeably smaller than what a 1.7-milimetre reduction in size would suggest though. This has made the watch popular with women as originally intended, while also offering a compelling choice for men with smaller wrists or a preference for smaller timepieces. This wide-ranging appeal speaks both to the strength and the universality of its design. With the addition of two references sporting dials of aventurine glass, the demand for the timepiece looks set to grow even further.

Images courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne. Artwork, additional feature and stylised images by Curatedition.

Related links:

A. Lange & Söhne: Simply Saxonia

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus: In Good Sport

A. Lange & Söhne: Perfect 10 on 25

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