A.Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moon Phase - Bye bye understatement...
When it comes to a timepiece, the concept of “moon phase” might sound like an easy one, but when you are dealing with the 825 stars counted by Anthony de Haas – product development executive at A.Lange & Söhne – on the moon phase disc, in a nice video produced by the brand and with the L086.5 caliber that is the sixteenth in-house-built caliber crafted by the Saxonian manufacturer to mount this complication, it actually means that this particular and ancient complication is something that they are pretty familiar with in Glashutte.
The Saxonian watchmakers have inserted a 3Hz-caliber inside the 40mm-case of the A.Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moon Phase with the aim to create a faithful reproduction of the movement of the only natural satellite that rotates around the earth in 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds. The creation of a mechanic caliber that faithfully mimics the difference between two new moon phases with extreme precision, is almost as complicated as the process of bringing down to zero the difference between any (natural) continuous movement and its best mechanic approximation.
A.Lange & Söhne claims to have developed a 7-speed-mechanism that allows the user to reduce the difference between the calculation of the two successive new moon phases and its real cycle to 0.002 percentage points only. I have no doubt that he has managed to come up with such a complicated mechanism.
However, I think that it would have been way nicer if Lange had backed up his discovery with some technical explanations rather than with a surface analysis so that I could have better appreciated it and also been able to share it with you all. The idea that we are actually dealing with a third decimal point, however, clearly shows the level of sophistication of the A.Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moon Phase.
The hours disc that is located at 6 o'clock under the continuous seconds has been entirely crafted in solid gold. The two moons have been carved off this disc while the pale blue colour of the sky has been obtained by adding in a thin semi-transparent layer on which, thanks to a process of laser ablation, 852 stars and one of the finest depictions of the Milky Way that has ever be seen on a watch dial have been set. The moon-phase-complication is coupled with another of A.Lange & Söhne's classic complications, the big date that can be adjusted using the button located at 10 o'clock. This is an exceptionally formal and elegant dial with a perfectly symmetric structure.
If you are curious to find out why the retail price of this timepiece totals 28,500 euro, you simply need to turn it and take a look at its case back. The apparent simplicity and the perfect understatement of the Saxonia's dial make room for the L086.5 automatic caliber that has been entirely hand- assembled and hand-decorated. The caliber is made up of 325 parts, it sports a ¾-natural-Alpaca-silver-made-mainplate while the bridge of the balance wheel is hand-decorated. The main features are the beautiful oscillating rotor made of platinum and the swan-neck spring regulating system. Hidden from sight is also one barrel that guarantees up to three days of power reserve.
The A.Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moon Phase enters the market offering a complication that has been considered state-of-the-art since 2001. It is not simply a matter of exceptionally high quality technical features - they are not unique if you actually only look at plain figures and then compare them with those of other brands from the same group - but it is rather a matter of style and the manufacturer's ability to give some warmth to a collection that, since it's launch, has been mainly recognized for its austere look rather than for the level of its crafting.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®