Deployant readers will need little introduction to the Lange 1 family. A. Lange & Söhne presented some really impressive pieces at Watches and Wonders 2021 on 7 April. We were excited about the introduction of the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, now without the tourbillion. Here is our review of another release that kept the same calibre, but given a romantic and gorgeous makeover- the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase.
The first Little Lange 1 Moon Phase was introduced in 2009 in limited numbers, and then reintroduced in 2017 as regular production with silver guilloche dial and an improved calibre L121.2.
A silver dial with blue hands was also offered as part of the 25th Anniversary releases, limited to 25 pieces. This year, A. Lange & Söhne adds 2 beautiful variants to this relatively new member of the Lange 1 family. Both are in white gold with a blue dial with gold flux. One with a bezel tastefully set with 56 brilliant-cut diamonds, and without. The non-gemset version is the subject of this detailed review.
Review: Little Lange 1 Moon Phase 2021 Edition
The recommended retail price for Ref. 182.086 in white gold case is SGD 64,900 including GST and for Ref. 182.886 in white gold case with diamond bezel is SGD 81,500 inclusive of GST.
The case is the standard Little Lange 1 case, which itself is a slightly smaller version of the now iconic Lange 1. The movements used for Lange 1 and Little Lange 1 are the same, and a little proportion fine tuning by making a slightly slimmer bezel enables the overall diameter to clock in at 36.8mm.
In my personal opinion, this is the better sized Lange 1 at a more wearable 36.8mm. It is a mere 1.8mm smaller than the standard Lange 1 38.5mm yet it wears significantly smaller on my wrist. Even then, I find the name Little Lange 1 quite a misnomer. I am of opinion that 36mm is the universal wearable size for both men and ladies. The Little Lange 1 is a tad larger than that, and maintained thick lugs and bezel design to give it even stronger wrist presence.
I’m guessing A. Lange & Söhne wanted this as a unisex watch because marketing materials feature a well-suited gentleman, emphasizing that the assumption of this as a ladies watch is invalid. At this point, I want to bring your attention to the strap. With this piece, A. Lange & Söhne gave a unique strap which has a shimmery finish. I have not noticed this style of leather on other watches and find that it suits the dial wonderfully.
Instead of buttons like on the Lange 1, the Little Lange 1 has recessed pushers for adjusting the complications, allowing for a sleek, smooth case line. Some find it a bit of a hassle, but I think it’s a good design to keep the overall case simple. Anyway, adjustments should be done at home, before wearing the watch out. These aren’t complications that are activated on-demand.
The dial and hands
The dial on the Little Lange 1 Moonphase is no doubt the star of the show. It looks like a natural dark blue aventurine stone. Small specks of gold and copper were made to flow in the dark blue glass as the glass cools. The result is that of glittering specks at various depths of the glass, portraying the night sky wonderfully. The use of star-shaped hour markers also strengthens the night sky theme of the design.
Technical note: The dial material is solid silver, as is the norm for Lange, and and faced with goldstone or gold-flux. Some people call this aventurine. This may be a bit misleading, as this term technically refers to the natural occurring quartz. Instead of the man-made material of glittering glass created in a low-oxygen reducing atmosphere, known as goldstone or gold-flux glass, used in the dial.
Gold-flux is not new to Lange, having introduced a gold-flux coated dial on Saxonia Thin in 2018, and then again in 2020’s limited edition Saxonia Thin. While Lange 1 typically have subdued and classic dial colours, Little Lange 1’s are more decorated.
This dial is also extremely difficult to be accurately captured in photographs. When in motion and interacting with natural light, each speck sparkles with various intensity, neither saturating the dial nor disappearing completely. But when photographed, the star-filled dial catches the strobe lighting and appears as either exploding with shimmer, or too dark to see any glitter. This really is a watch meant to be worn.
The hands and markers are solid white gold, without any lume fill. I personally prefer these solid hands over lume-filled hands on the Lange 1 family as it looks sharper and more refined. White gold certainly helps complete the overall look of the night sky.
The complications are wonderfully executed. The outsize date has, finally, come in a matching disc colour. It may seem like a small change, but a welcome one. I am not a big fan of white date wheels on dark dials, such as those on the Ref. 101.029 and 192.029. Perhaps Lange thought nothing should steal the show from the magnificent dial.
The moon phase disc is also decorated to the most exacting of Lange’s standards. The moon is a mildly domed gold mirror, accompanied by a stream of stars.
The Movement: L121.2
The Little Lange 1 Moon Phase houses the Calibre L121.2 which was introduced in 2017.
The movement is finished to the Lange quality standards that we know- Glashütte ribbing on German silver plates, screwed gold chatons, smooth anglage and a signature hand-engraved balance cock.
Personally, I find Glashütte Original’s Pano series to be a reasonable competitor. The PanoMaticLunar has an asymmetric dial layout, oversized date (Glashütte Original calls it Panorama date) and moon phase. Cal 90.02 is an automatic movement with 42 hours power reserve and finished to rather high standards as well. The PanoMaticLunar has a much more competitive RRP of SGD 32,000 for the red gold case variants. The RRP of the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase starts from SGD 64,800, and is more than twice that of the PanoMaticLunar. Despite this price disparity, the prestigious branding and execution of the gold-flux dial would likely be attractive enough for fans and collectors to part with their cash.
No doubt I am completely bowled over by this watch. The hands-on experience with the watch was completely different from reading about it on screens. We were told that delivery to boutiques begins around September 2021, and then delivery to Authorised Retailers. The smaller size actually makes this a more wearable and dressy watch for most Asian men with wrist sizes of under 7”. The gold-flux dial is a shoo-in choice for both men and ladies. All in all, this is no doubt a beautiful watch, but we will have to wait and see if the pricing is a significant barrier to buyers.
The Little Lange 1 Moon Phase was photographed in-situ the Lange Boutique in Singapore. Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120. Profoto strobes.
Little Lange 1 Moon Phase Technical Specifications
Timepiece Name: LITTLE LANGE 1 MOON PHASE
Reference : 182.086 for white gold case
Reference : 182.886 for white gold case with diamond bezel
Case: white gold
Dial: solid silver, faced with goldstone, blue rhodié or dark blue gold-flux
Hands and markers: rhodiumed gold
Case Diameter: 36.8 mm; height: 10 mm