The German watchmaker A. Lange & Sohne has presented whole seven new watches at SIHH 2014 event that has just opened its doors in Geneva, but it is the gorgeous Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna” model that will possibly get the most attention from both journalists and connoisseurs alike. While most currently available high-end “moonphase” watches are only good for 122 years before they will require adjustment by a qualified serviceman, this model will (theoretically) display correct phases of the Moon for whole 1058 years. And the complication looks great, too.
Although the moon phase displays are usually located on the face side of a watch, Terraluna has the indicator placed on its back like those hidden tourbillon modules on obscenely expensive timepieces. The choice of layout not only allowed the German engineers to make the sky disk unusually large, but also preserved the signature tri-compax, regulator-style dial layout of the gorgeous Richard Lange Tourbillon that was first presented at SIHH 2011 and re-released at the end of the same year in an ultra-exclusive Pour le Merite Handwerkskunst execution.
If you take a look at the pictures at the end of this brief review article, you will notice that the moonphase complication consists of whole three rotating disks. It not only displays current day of lunar month, but also indicates precise position of our natural satellite in its relation to Earth and Sun with the former presented as a fairly accurate map of Northern Hemisphere and the latter imagined somewhere in the vicinity of the balance wheel.
When the moon disk comes directly between Earth and Sun, its aperture completely opens fully revealing the golden moon disk. As the disk continues its slow counter-clockwise rotation, the aperture gradually closes completely hiding the disk when it hides from Sun behind our planet. Must be quite fascinating, that.
Of course, besides the moonphase there is also a neatly executed perpetual calendar complication built into their new Caliber L096.1 hand-wound movement. Many watches of this type usually feature cramped, hard-to-read dials, but this one seems to be quite easy to get all the necessary information with a single glance with their signature big date indicator dominating the view at 12 hours.
As you can see, the watch features three sub-dials with a minutes disk on the top and a hours and seconds displays at 4 and 8 hours, each holding small “MON” and “DAY” indicator respectively. Oh, and there is also a rather unusual power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock that tells you how many days you have left before the watch requires re-winding its twin mainspring barrel that gives you enormous two weeks of constant power supply.
At 45.5 mm in diameter and a tad less than 17 millimeters thick, this beautiful device doesn’t look like the best choice of a dressy wristwatch. However, like many timepieces of this sort, the new Terraluna was designed to amaze you with the level of craftsmanship displayed by the German brand’s highly skilled artisans: given its price and rarity, the watch will spend most of its life in a secure safe, anyway.
According to the brand’s press release, the watch will be issued in two versions featuring rose gold and while gold cases. I hope that later this year we will also see a Pour le Merite version of the watch with an even more elaborately decorated dial crafted from solid silver.
Photos: A. Lange & Sohne
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna” watch specification
Price: $230,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Manual, Caliber L096.1, 787 parts, constant force escapement, remontoir spring, adjusted to five positions, in-house, Made in Germany
Number of jewels: 80
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 336 hours (14 days)
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand, three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, balance cock engraved by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar, big date, moonphase
Case material: Rose gold (180.032) / White gold (180.026)
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 45.50 mm
Case height: 16.50 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Solid silver, argente
Hour markers: Black
Hands: Blued / Rose gold
Water resistance: No data
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap (reddish brown or black) on Lange deployant clasp in respectively solid rose gold or white gold
Case back: Sapphire