Review: A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moon Phase, A Watch With Serious Heart

The Saxonia collection has been a part of A. Lange & Söhne’s history since the brand had its rebirth in 1994. Today the collection serves multiple purposes – the most inexpensive Lange can be found in this collection (still mechanical) but you can also turn to this collection if you want seriously complicated watches. The Saxonia Moon Phase that we’re reviewing today was unveiled at SIHH 2016 – we thought it was brilliant back then and now, after spending some more time with it, we’re completely taken with it.

This is one of the best looking moonphase watches of 2016 in our book.

This is one of the best looking moonphase watches of 2016 in our book.

The Saxonia Moon Phase is offered in pink-gold and white-gold, our prototype featured a pink-gold case (ref. 384.032) and was mated to a brown alligator strap. The watch’s case measures 40mm in diameter and is 9.8mm thick – these are svelte proportions but just a bit larger than what would be considered appropriate for a classic dress watch.

If you’re in the market for a superlative German dress watch however, don’t worry, there’s a manually-wound Saxonia that measures 35mm in diameter and 7.3mm thick or, if you want something a little bigger, you can look up the Saxonia Automatic (38.5mm/7.8mm). There are also two ultra-thin models, one measuring 40mm and the other 37mm – both clock in at 5.9mm thick. Basically, you’re spoiled for choice with A. Lange & Söhne.

A sneak peek of the macro-goodness to come later in this article. Don't forget to check out the gallery at the end.

A sneak peek of the macro-goodness to come later in this article. Don’t forget to check out the gallery at the end.

Coming back to the Saxonia Moon Phase, the design of the case is very typical of the collection. It features a high-polished bezel and lugs, while the side and caseback are satin brushed. The case looks and feels like a million bucks, and there’s perfect harmony with regards to the proportions of each individual element. The sides of the case are where you’ll find all the ‘controls’ that make the Saxonia Moon Phase one of the easiest moonphase watches to set and wear.

At the 10 o’clock position you’ll find a pusher that allows you to advance the outsize date (a calling card for the brand), while the crown for adjusting the time sits at three o’clock. Just below the crown, at roughly four o’clock, you’ll find a recessed corrector to adjust the moonphase indication. We can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have a watch that allows you to independently manipulate its individual complications, it just makes everyday life so much easier, particularly if you’re a collector with several watches, and you come back to a watch that has to be set before it can be worn.

No fuss, the crown manipulates the time and the recessed corrector is for the moonphase.

No fuss, the crown manipulates the time and the recessed corrector is for the moonphase.

The silver argenté  dial on the Saxonia Moon Phase is a thing of absolute beauty. The dial is crafted from solid silver and it boasts polished gold faceted baton-style hour indexes (double batons at 12, three, six and nine o’clock). The slim alpha-style hands look great and are also created from pink-gold, and you’ll find a beautiful gold frame neatly highlighting the outsize date aperture below the 12 o’clock position. We’re normally not a fan of date windows on classy or vintage style watches but Lange has done a great job here, and the dial is perfectly balanced by the running second/moonphase subsidiary dial at six o’clock.

Speaking of which, Lange has done a wonderful job with that sub-dial because it is both super attractive and highly legible. The top half of this sub-dial features the moonphase aperture, while the bottom half is silvery-white, and has a fine circular grain texture. This combination is incredibly elegant and gels with the rest of the watch’s dial perfectly.

That dial can stop traffic. Seriously.

That dial can stop traffic. Seriously.

Going back to the moonphase disc, there’s actually an interesting story behind how Lange produces this. You see A. Lange & Söhne has been offering moonphase watches since 2001, and with every new introduction they’ve acquired know-how with regards to producing both the moonphase disc, and the complication within the calibre (more about the calibre later).

The moonphase disc is made from solid gold (pink-gold with the pink-gold reference and white-gold with the white-gold model), and Lange applies a transparent treatment to this disc. The treatment however, appears to the human eye as deep blue (which is what you see on the disc), and to create the stars and moon, Lange turns to laser engraving. The laser engraving process removes the treatment in the shapes that are needed, and this then allows the exposed gold to shine through. The effect is beautiful.

Magnificent. There's nothing more to be said...

Magnificent. There’s nothing more to be said…

Turning the watch over, you’re in for a treat once again because the design and decorations you find on Lange calibres are just as beautiful as the dials. Within this watch sits the Lange L086.5 automatic movement, it is made up of 325 parts, beats at 3Hz and offers a power reserve of 72-hours when it’s fully wound. The power reserve is impressive, especially if you consider the calibre has just one barrel to power all of the watch’s complications.

The L086.5 is actually the 16th moonphase calibre that Lange has developed in 15 years – that’s one heck of a track-record. With this calibre Lange says the moonphase complication is accurate to 99.998% and if you set the watch correctly – and never let it run out of power (keep wearing it or have it on a winder) – the moonphase will only have to be adjusted by one day every 122.6-years. We’ve no way of verifying that claim but we’re sure that Lange has done its homework before arriving at that number. For reference, a lot of moonphase watches have to be adjusted every three-years.

A. Lange & Söhne consistently makes us wish we could wear watches up-side-down.

A. Lange & Söhne consistently makes us wish we could wear watches up-side-down.

In terms of finish, well, what did you expect? It’s a Lange. While the gold rotor (it has a platinum edge) hides a bit of the movement, you can still see the famous three-quarter German silver plate. The plate is decorated with Glashütte ribbing, and you’ll find that the edges of the plate are hand chamfered. As you’d expect you also get a hand-engraved balance cock, and sitting on top of that is a swan-neck regulator. You’ll also find an assortment of blued screws, perlage and black polish – it’s truly a feast for the eyes despite the fact that a lot of the going-train is under that beautiful three-quarter plate.

On our 7.2-inch wrists, the Saxonia Moon Phase wears like a dream. It sits very well, feels like your best bit of clothing, and delighted our eyes each time we looked at it. The brown alligator leather strap is comfortable and soft (after a minor break in period), and there’s even a beautiful pink-gold pin/buckle. On watches like this a pin/buckle just makes perfect sense – if you’re worried about dropping the watch while you’re putting it on or taking it off, well, just be mindful and put it on over something soft. Trust us on this, a deployant clasp would look out of character on a watch like this.

The Saxonia Moonphase looks brilliant on the wrist. Is that justification enough for us not giving it back :P?

The Saxonia Moonphase looks brilliant on the wrist. Is that justification enough for us not giving it back :P?

All-in-all A. Lange & Söhne has produced one hell of a watch in the Saxonia Moon Phase. There’s not a single element we’d change, and Lange has been very sensible with the pricing. Sure $29,000 is a lot of money but in relative terms, we think it’s rather good value-for-money (more so if you consider the Saxonia Automatic is just $3,500 cheaper). Check it out at A. Lange & Söhne Dubai Mall, and do look up the image gallery below to see more of this amazing timepiece.

What would we do to own a Saxonia Moonphase: Fight a ship full of pirates for their treasure. Arrr!

Check out our video review of the Saxonia Moon Phase by clicking the link below.

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