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Review: A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moonphase

by  on February 15, 2016
Reviews
Overview
Brand

A. Lange & Söhne

Complication / Type of Watch

Moonphase Date

Recommended Retail Price

28,500 Euros

Positives

Great size at 40mm. Excellent finishing both case and movement. Movement is very well executed, be it technical performance or aesthetics. 3 days power reserve and a super accurate moonphase. Gorgeous moonphase disc with laser engraved stars.

Negatives

Nothing really. Unless one prefers a less pricey alternative.

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Concept & Originality
Movement
Overall Finishing
Price Performance / Value
Future Outlook
Bottom Line

Possibly the best seconds at 6 with moonphase modern timepiece in the market today. But undoubtedly one of the priciest as well. Montblanc and Jaeger LeCoultre have similar offerings at a fraction of the price, but less well finished nonetheless.

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A. Lange & Söhne releases the Saxonia Moonphase at the recent SIHH 2016. As fervent fans of moonphase timepieces, this piece spiked our interest. Lange’s specialty German engineering and age perfected finishing art are all evident in this timepiece. A notable Lange signature to the otherwise predictable moonphase layout is the large date display at 12, above the brand inscription. The famous outsize date is a style-defining facet of A. Lange & Söhne watches. It was first showcased in 1994, together with the SAXONIA model.

 

lange-saxonia-moon-dialup

The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moonphase which measures 40 mm in diameter and 9.8 mm in height.

 

The Case and Dial

As with previous Saxonia cases, the design is similar, with a mix of polish and satin finished surfaces. The watch comes in pink gold and white gold. It measures 40 mm in diameter and 9.8 mm in height, a moderate size for a modern automatic timepiece. Constructed in a traditional three piece layout, the watch has a transparent caseback which showcases the movement. The dial is made from solid silver, and fitted with rhodiumed gold hands (pink gold on the white gold case version). All in all, a no frills classic design that is sufficiently well crafted without unnecessary fan fare.

lange-saxonia-moon-back

The selfwinding calibre L086.5 is hand decorated and assembled. It bears the signature 3/4 bridge plate and tip top quality finishing.

 

The Movement

The movement used is not only an eye teaser, but also a great workhorse. It is said that A. Lange & Söhne has accrued considerable experience in the development of precise moon-phase displays. The selfwinding calibre L086.5 inside the Saxonia Moonphase contains a 72-hour power reserve with only one mainspring barrel. Clearly, Lange has worked out how to efficiently use power without having a Panerai sized case. The movement uses a lever escapement with shock-resistant screw balance; balance spring manufactured in house with a frequency of 21,600 bph and a precision beat adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring.

lange-saxonia-moon-balance

The movement is precision-adjusted in five positions, and its plates made of untreated German silver. Other finishing features like the cotes-de-geneve, anglage, and perlage brings the movement to life.

That is not all, the movement is designed to have the moonphase display connected to the hour-wheel continuum so, just like the moon itself, it is always in motion. This is unlike some other movements with a jumping moon, much like a date change mechanism. Lange reports that the movement reproduces the period from new moon to new moon with an accuracy of 99.998 per cent, calculated through a highly precise seven-stage transmission. Once set, and assuming that the watch runs continuously, the display only has to be corrected by one day every 122.6 years.

lange-saxonia-moon-balance-detail

A close up reveals the beautifully beveled interior angle screw holes. Other external parts like the swan neck regulator is poli noir (black/mirror polish) treated.

The less visible parts behind the balance wheel can also be seen to be nicely dressage (or straighten/true up) finished. Instead of the circular graining, or geneve waves, a dressage finishing creates linear straight grains on the metal. This is achieved via rubbing the component on a piece of abrasive paper repeatedly and in the same direction.

lange-saxonia-moon-wrist

On the wrist: The intense blue tone of the solid-gold lunar disc is created by a special patented coating process. Then, a laser is used to cut out no fewer than 852 stars.

 

Concluding thoughts

The watch is excellent in its category. It is well finished, and technically well engineered. Given how well its made, product wise, there is really nothing to complain about. That said, as a matter of preference, it is possible that hardcore purists may find a large date display at 12 to be obscene. Then again, the date does not ruffle our feathers. A more legitimate concern about the 28,500 Euros price tag should be raised. If one is looking for a seconds at 6 timepiece with moonphase complication but does not want to live on bread and water for a good few years thereafter, it may be heartening to know that if the Lange is too out of reach, there are always good alternatives to be found in Jaeger leCoultre’s Master Ultra thin Moonphase and Montblanc’s moonphase offerings as well.

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