The beautiful waxing moon escorted me home tonight; this was also a good reminder to finally show you a series of stunning beautiful pictures taken from five A. Lange & Söhne timepieces.
Let yourself be whisked away on a moonstruck journey with A. Lange & Söhne titled “Blue Moon”.
What you will see are five timepieces with moon-phase displays, the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna, Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase, 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, Saxonia Annual Calendar and Datograph Perpetual being showcased in front of impressive star atlas images from the Harmonia Macrocosmica by Andreas Cellarius*.
In English, the term blue moon refers to the second full moon within a given calendar month, a rare phenomenon that on average occurs only every two and half years. Most mechanical moon-phase indications must be corrected by one day “once in a blue moon”. This is because for simplicity’s sake, they round the period of time between two new moons down to 29.5 days even though it is actually 44 minutes and 3 seconds longer. A. Lange & Söhne moon-phase watches are much more precise. Most of them reproduce the lunar month with an accuracy of 99.998 per cent. The new Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase is one example. Its display only needs to be corrected by one day every 122.6 years.
The orbital moon-phase display of the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna presented this year in Geneva at the SIHH is calculated with even more accuracy. The moon-phase display of the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna for the first time in a Lange watch is integrated on the movement side. The display consists of three discs. Visible through a round aperture in the star-studded celestial disc, the moon orbits around the earth anti-clockwise. Additionally, it shows the constellation of the moon relative to the earth and the sun. The mechanism reproduces the synodic month of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3 seconds so precisely that it takes 1.058 years before the display needs to be corrected by one day. The two strong mainsprings in the twin barrel of this watch deliver a power reserve of 14 days, and a constant-force escapement keeps its rate accuracy stable for the entire period.
The patent-pending orbital moon-phase display of the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna is a genuine innovation in the domain of precision watch making. With peerless accuracy, it depicts the changing orbital position of the moon relative to the earth and the sun. It is based on calculations used to determine the orbits and altitudes of planets attributed to Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). His observations of planetary positions were the most precise ones in the era before the telescope was invented.
Since 1994, the Saxon manufactory has developed 15 calibres with moon-phase displays. Five models from the current collection that feature this and other complications were photographed against fascinating backdrops: depictions of the universe from the Harmonia Macrocosmica set the stage for the highly precise timepieces. They come from the magnificent sky atlas created by German-Dutch mathematician and cartographer Andreas Cellarius in 1660*. The scenography emphasises the affinity between astronomy and horology: in timepieces with astronomical complications, watchmakers have always attempted to emulate the progression of celestial bodies as accurately as possible. From today’s perspective, Cellarius’ rich illustrations make it clear how fundamentally our view of the world has changed in the course of the past two millennia: it evolved from Ptolemy’s geocentric standpoint that placed the earth in the middle of the cosmos to the current model of an expanding universe.
* Andreas Cellarius, Harmonia Macrocosmica
With its imaginative cosmic scenographies, the “Harmonia Macrocosmica” sky atlas published in Amsterdam in 1660 by Andreas Cellarius (1596–1665) is one of the most impressive works of art in astronomical history. The celestial charts of the German-Dutch mathematician and cosmographer were reproduced with 29 large-format copper plate prints deemed to be the pinnacle of the golden age of cartography. They show Claudius Ptolemy’s geocentric view of the cosmos, Nicolaus Copernicus’ heliocentric system, and Tycho Brahe’s reconciliation theory as well as the orbits of the sun, moon, and planets, and the constellations of the northern and southern hemispheres. Taschen GmbH in Cologne published an annotated reprint of “Harmonia Macrocosmica” in 2006.
>>> Discover the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase on page 2