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Introducing the Lange 1 Moon Phase “25th Anniversary”

Number six in the anniversary set.

With one watch unveiled each month since January, we are now more than halfway through the 10-piece Lange 1 “25th Anniversary” set.

The latest addition, the Lange 1 Moon Phase “25th Anniversary” was supposed to be launched in June, but instead made its debut this month to coincide with the opening of the brand’s Zurich boutique.

First introduced in 2002, the Lange 1 Moon Phase is essentially the base Lange 1 with the clever incorporation of a moon phase in the sub-seconds. Subsequently, the second generation Lange 1 Moon Phase also evolved to feature a more advanced moon phase display.

Lange 1 Moon Phase 25th Anniversary

The new and improved Lange 1 Moon Phase was novel for the fact that its moonphase display also doubled up as a day and night indicator. Instead of a single disc with two fixed moons as is convention, the display relies on a rotating figure of 8, with each end forming one gold moon.

The “8” is superimposed on an independently revolving blue disc that represents the sky. Half the disc is in a light blue, indicating day time and the second half is dark blue for the night sky, with laser-cut stars dotting it.

Lange 1 Moon Phase SIHH 2016-3

The deconstructed display of the Lange 1 Moon Phase

On the commemorative Lange 1 Moon Phase “25th Anniversary” however, the moons are in white gold keeping in line with the anniversary colours of silver and blue.

The dial of the watch is solid silver, with blued steel hands and blue printed numerals.

A. Lange & Söh Lange 1 Moon Phase 25th Anniversary 1

Visible through the sapphire case back is the 25th Anniversary set’s signature engraving on the balance cock of the calibre L121.3, with the number “25” worked into the motif that has been filled in with blue lacquer.

The handwound L121.3 is based off the L121.1 movement that was introduced in 2015 with the second generation Lange 1.

Features of the calibre include a three-day power reserve on account of the double mainspring barrels, an instantaneous date and a seconds that stops at zero when the power reserve runs out.

A. Lange & Söh Lange 1 Moon Phase 25th Anniversary 2

Interestingly, the L121.3 is only 0.4mm thicker than the standard Lange 1, even with the moonphase display and day/night indicator that required 70 extra components.

There are only another four more limited editions to be announced before the actually anniversary in late October. All 10 anniversary watches will be sold as a set – with only 25 sets in total – but each watch has its own retail price, making it possible for a retailer to split a set.

Key facts

Diameter: 38.5mm
Height: 10.2mm
Material: 18k white gold
Water-resistance: 30m

Movement: L121.3
Frequency: 21,600bph, or 3Hz
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Blue alligator leather

Price and Availability

The Lange 1 Moon Phase “25th Anniversary” (ref. 192.066) is priced at €43,300, including 20% German VAT. It is a limited edition of 25 watches, and will be part of the 10-piece set that will be launched in October 2019.


 

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Hands-On: Patek Philippe Rare Handcrafts “Japanese Cherry” Pocket Watch

The delicately artisanal ref. 982/159G.

Contemporary Patek Philippe pocket watches are uncommon, and Rare Handcrafts examples – all of which are unique one-offs – are even more scarce. More objet d’art than portable timekeeper, only a handful are made each year.

Sold at Sotheby’s late last year for almost US$290,000, the Rare Handcrafts ref. 982/159G “Japanese Cherry” pocket watch is a particularly delicate example of Patek Philippe’s enamelling.

Rare Handcrafts pocket watches are often figurative or detailed in the extreme. This year’s line-up of pocket watches feature decorations that include a leopard, several landscapes, and a miniature of Vermeer’s The Wine Glass. The “Japanese Cherry”, on the other hand, takes a difference approach to its art; the decoration is simple yet vivid in colour and form.

Unveiled in 2015, the “Japanese Cherry” watch was arguably the most important piece of the Rare Handcrafts collection that year, because the Japanese cherry motif formed the cover of the year’s catalogue. It’s a Lépine pocket watch, with the crown and sub-seconds arranged in a line (as opposed to a hunter movement that has them at right angles to each other).

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 5

A plant synonymous with the country, the Japanese cherry produces the cherry blossom, or sakura, a cultural icon of Japan. On the watch branches of the cherry tree are depicted against a pale beige background.

The branches are hand engraved in relief, with the individual cherries being bright red fired enamel with a glossy, rounded finish. And texture of the bark is echoed in the engraving of the oversized, ornately formed bow.

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 6a

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 7a

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 3

The same pale beige enamel on the back is also used for the dial, which has solid gold, applied Breguet numerals.

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 2

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 4

The watch itself is a smallish pocket watch of 44mm diameter, with the case in 18k white gold. It contains the cal. 17”’ LEP PS IRM, a beautifully constructed pocket watch movement from an earlier age of watchmaking.

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 14

The “PPCo” hallmark on the bow indicates Patek Philippe produced the case in-house, as it does for its wristwatches

Patek Philippe has been producing the 17-ligne pocket watch movement for decades, keeping it pretty much unchanged, explaining the elegant, classically formed bridges that seem to flow.

In fact, the same movement is used by apprentice watchmakers at Patek Philippe as a base to demonstrate their knowledge of finishing. Rexhep Rexhepi, the founder of independent watchmaker Akrivia and a Patek Philippe alumnus, completed one such pocket watch to complete his apprenticeship at the firm.

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 8

Another gorgeous detail that is reminiscent old school watchmaking is the large snail cam regulator index.

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 13

Because because it is large, or perhaps it is made in tiny numbers, the movement is decorated – most probably by hand – to a notably high degree.

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 11

The only detail that could be improved: the inward angles of the bridges are rounded, rather than sharp.

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 12

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 9

Patek Philippe 982 Rare Handcrafts Japanese Cherry 10

The black polished steel cap for the escape wheel cock

The watch was delivered with a matching 18k white gold chain, but like many other Rare Handcrafts pocket watches, also accompanied by a desk stand. Styled like a Japanese gate and covered in red lacquer, the stand is also in 18k white gold.

Patek Philippe Japanese Cherry pocket watch stand

Photo – Sotheby’s

The Rare Handcrafts “Japanese Cherry” pocket watch sold for HK$2.25m, or about US$286,875, all fees included, at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2018.


 

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