A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase
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A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase

For Germany, Reunification represented a renaissance of sorts for a country that had been rent asunder by the Cold War. And for A. Lange & Söhne, whom fate had situated on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain, it was indeed a rebirth; the Lange 1 Moonphase embodied Reunification in watch form.

The brand, which was founded in Glashütte in 1845, its first century was truly a Golden Age. The brand imbued its products with a care and an attention to detail that brought worldwide renown. Its pocket watches, in particular, gained high marks in competition and saw use on the railroads of Europe.

But the coming of World War II and the subsequent Soviet occupation saw that golden age come to an end. The Soviet authorities expropriated the company in 1948. The factory was shuttered, and the once-shining name of A. Lange & Söhne nearly faded into obscurity.

That is, until 1990, when Walter Lange—great-grandson of the founder, Ferdinand A. Lange—resurrected his family’s old company and brought it to prominence once more.

Armed with Ferdinand Lange’s journal, Walter Lange sketched a watch that would adapt his great-grandfather’s designs to modern tastes, while still keeping an eye firmly on tradition. In the journal, Walter Lange discovered sketches of a clock that Ferdinand Lange designed with his mentor Johann Gutkaes. Commissioned by the Elector of Saxony for the Semper Oper House in Dresden, the “Five Minute Clock” was nothing short of revolutionary.

With legibility as their primary concern, Johann Gutkaes and Ferdinand Lange designed a clock that, with its rectangular construction and two counter-rotating drums—one to show the hours, the other the minutes —was essentially the world’s first digital clock.

And, over one hundred years later, it was that clock that would inspire the manufacture’s first watch post-Reunification.

In 1992, Walter Lange filed a patent for a big date window, similar in style to the clock in the opera house; two years later, it would appear on this watch, the Lange 1.

The Lange 1 is without question the manufacture’s flagship model, and the big date function is its hallmark. Though found in watches like the Zeitwerk or the Langematik Sax-O-Mat, it’s in the Lange 1 that it’s shown to the greatest effect. Alongside other details such as asymmetrical sub-dials depicting the hours and sub-seconds, and the A. Lange & Söhne signature with its famous ampersand, it shows a clarity of vision that is wholly Lange.

The Lange 1 has seen many variations, from a tourbillon to the Moonphase, seen here.

Introduced in 2001, the Lange 1 Moonphase maintains the classic lines of the Lange 1 by incorporating the moon phase indicator into the sub-seconds dial at 5 o’clock. Unlike many moon phase indicators, which move in one or two steps a day, the motion of the moon phase in this watch is continuous, like the tides, bound to the Moon itself. This is made possible by the manually-wound L901.5 movement, which also governs the hacking seconds and power reserve indicator (in German, “auf” und “ab”—that is, up or down).

Though available in two sizes and a variety of precious metals, it’s in this configuration— 38.5mm case in rose gold—that the Lange 1 Moonphase really shines.

Coming complete with inner and outer box and papers, it’s a fitting addition to Lange’s collection, and a worthy memorial to the men who inspired it, as well as the one who created it.

 

Read more on why we love Lange.

Details

SKU: AS02284

18k rose gold case is approximately 38.5mm (excluding crown). Reference 109.032. Calibre L901.5 Manually-Wound Movement. Circa 2000s.

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition overall, showing only the slightest signs of use or wear. Dial is in excellent, as-new condition. Lange signed crown.

Includes one 20mm black leather A. Lange & Söhne strap with signed rose gold buckle.

Recently serviced and under warranty by Swiss Watch Company.

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