A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase 25th Anniversary
The latest anniversary release from the Glashütte-based manufacture features two of its iconic complications.
Which do you think is greater — the number of people who can name at least two Kardashians, or the number of people who can explain how the phases of the moon work? It’s a genuine question, because I really don’t know. Even if you restricted this survey to your local high school, a place where you think the majority of those present would know the basics of our solar system, I’m not entirely sure that the moonphase-explainers would outnumber the Kardashian followers.
Look, I’m not being a cultural snob or anything. I think the Kardashians do great work; their makeup tutorials are pretty amazing. But I also think that the moon has been around for 4.5 billion years and we should give it some respect by learning a bit about how it works. After all, if not for the moon, we would all be dead. This is a fact; you can Google it.
So, you might ask, how can we, as watch lovers, expand our knowledge of the moon and appreciate it more?
Firstly, we can know the difference between various moonphase watches. Not all of them are created equal. The majority of moonphase watches approximate the lunar cycle to 29.5 days. The actual lunar cycle is closer to 29.53 days, meaning that most moonphase watches will be off by an entire day after about two years and eight months. At A. Lange & Söhne, the moonphase is calculated via a highly accurate system that comes into one day of error only after 122.6 years. In fact, this is the minimum accuracy of any moonphase watch from the Glashütte-based manufacture.
Secondly, we can understand how exactly the moon moves across the sky. This part is harder; it drives me slightly crazy every time I try to visualise this information. (It’s not a coincidence that “lunar” and “lunatic” share the same etymological root.) Here’s the thing. The sun, by definition, only comes out in the day. However, the moon doesn’t just come out at night. Sometimes, the moon comes out in the day too, and you can see both the moon and the sun in the sky at the same time. This is what causes the different phases of the moon — not its position relative to the Earth, but its position relative to the Sun as viewed from Earth. If your head is starting to throb slightly, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Lange 1 Moonphase 25th Anniversary © A.Lange & Söhne
The great thing about the combined moonphase and day/night indicator in the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase is how it gives us a little reminder about all this. Conventional moonphase discs frequently show the moon permanently located against a background of stars. Obviously, as we can see with our eyes, this is not always true. The Lange 1 Moonphase has a gold disc whose position within a crescent-shaped aperture indicates the phase of the moon. Behind it, a variably coloured disc rotates once every 24 hours to depict either a bright blue daytime sky or a starry dark night sky.
The little gold moon remains visible on the dial throughout the day even though the actual moon might still be lurking somewhere below the horizon, so it’s important to remember that this is, after all, an indication of moonphase rather than an exact representation of what we see in the sky.
Still with me? Good. Because the day/night indicator doesn’t just give us information that we could find out by looking out of the window! It is also extremely useful in showing us whether the time displayed is in the AM or PM half of each day. You need to know this when setting and winding the watch so the large date doesn’t end up changing at noon instead of midnight.
This is the sixth watch released in 2019 that commemorates the 25th years since A. Lange & Söhne was re-established as a watchmaking company. Like the other anniversary timepieces, the Lange 1 Moonphase 25th Anniversary features blued hands and blue dial markings to distinguish it from the main collection. The large date in blue is a particularly strong touch for the anniversary watches; the only other time we’ve seen a blue date that I can recall is the spectacular hand-decorated Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst from 2013.
© A.Lange & Söhne
A 25th anniversary is important for being a quarter centennial, sure, but the number 25 also has particular significance for A. Lange & Söhne. All official images of their watches that feature a large date have the date set at 25. As the legend goes, this was a deliberate choice by Günter Blümlein, the architect of A. Lange & Söhne’s modern revival. The relaunch of A. Lange & Söhne was on 24 October 1994, and the photographs of the watches from that iconic collection showed the date that would match the next day’s newspapers, where they were to be published. This is the defining characteristic of A. Lange & Söhne; how they look at the bigger picture. That brings us back to what we were discussing in the beginning.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase 25th Anniversary is part of the drive to make us more aware of what goes on in the skies above us than on the screens in front of us. I don’t know about you, but I am 100 percent down with that.
© A.Lange & Söhne
Following the vision of Ferdinand Adolph Lange to build the world’s best watches, A. Lange & Söhne strives for ultimate precision and explores new avenues in order to advance the art of fine watchmaking.Find out more >
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