A. Lange & Söhne released its stunning watch-Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch at SIHH 2016.
Seeing a new piece that literally integrates the selling points of previous models is quite unusual. You might wonder how the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch reflects on its forerunners, but given there will only be 200 pieces of this exceptional piece made available, it seems like there won’t be enough to go around in any case.
We débuted the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Lumen watch way back in December 2012, when it first came out. In that model, we saw the big date for which A. Lange & Söhne is so renowned glow in the dark for the first time. One year and one day later, we went hands-on with the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase watch. With that release, A. Lange & Söhne débuted a moon phase complication that dominated the main dial at nine o’clock. Two years down the road, and the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch adds that celestial dance to the largely unchanged dial of the Lumen, and ensures it marries aesthetically by bringing it to life in the dark.
Obviously, one of the key aspects of this watch is the fact so many of its elements are luminous. This is kind of a weird selling point for a watch of such high horological integrity. Sure, the green tint of the luminant does give this A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch a much more modern appearance than its truly classical contemporaries, but just because it is different doesn’t mean it is bad.The effect of the glowing big date is incredibly satisfying, and the starry scene of the moon phase enlivens the whole face the second the lights go out. Normally, A. Lange & Söhne would use gold moonphase discs, but not on this watch, The moon phase disc is made of lume-backed glass, which is then coated via a patented process that effectively turns the surface of the glass black. The disc is then passed under a laser beam that accurately cuts-out 1164 stars and the moon to create this heavenly vista. And it doesn’t just look awesome: once it has been set-up, the moon phase will only need correcting by one day every 122.6 years.
When analysing a watch of such visual interest, it’s almost possible to overlook the quality of the underlying calibre. The extremely wearable 41mm platinum case of the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch houses the in-house L095.4. The L095.4 is an elaborately finished calibre with a three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver and decorated with Glashütte ribbing. The large top plate of this manually-wound movement is studded with seven screwed gold chatons. A screw balance with a free-sprung hairspring guarantees superb accuracy. The A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch has a power reserve of 72 hours, features 446 parts, 45 functional jewels, and an operating frequency of 21,600vph.Made of blackened silver and black tinted, semi-transparent sapphire-crystal glass, the dial of the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch is a fantastic muted backdrop to the excitement of the complications at work. The resulting appearance is, in my opinion, one of the sportiest ever seen from A. Lange & Söhne. The special coating applied to the glass blocks most of the visible light but dos not prevent the luminous elements behind the glass from charging. This is particularly important for the ‘tens’ cross that is responsible for the first digit of the date, displayed through the ample aperture at one o’clock.
Most people recognise the big date windows for which A. Lange & Söhne has become known, but fewer appreciate how the effect is achieved. Using two date discs that are not centrally mounted presents a challenge A. Lange & Söhne have solved in a very cool way. Thanks to the semi-translucent sapphire dial of the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange Moon Phase Lumen watch we can see exactly how this optical illusion is performed. Rather than using two discs to indicate the big date, A. Lange & Söhne use one disc and one cross. This enables the close bunching of the numbers and the crisp separation between the disc and the cross.
The result is a spectral and sporty piece that uses tiny flashes of colour to excellent effect. The only negative I can muster is that it is a little expensive for a watch of this general mien.