FLY ME TO THE MOON

Lange’s Ter­raluna doesn’t ex­actly do that, but it of­fers the next best thing: it shows, in real time, how the moon ap­pears from the Earth.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - Contents - Words by Aaron De Silva

The piece de re­sis­tance is the back of Richard Lange Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar “Ter­raluna”.

WHAT’S IN A NICK­NAME? Well, just about ev­ery­thing, re­ally. Snoop Dog just wouldn’t be the same if he went by his birth name, Calvin Broadus. Ditto Sean Combs, a.k.a. P Diddy, or Shawn Carter, bet­ter known as Jay-Z. So it was prob­a­bly a good thing that Lange coined the moniker “Ter­raluna” for its 2014 show-stop­per, the Richard Lange Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar. It not only saves us a mouth­ful, but also hints at what makes the watch so phe­nom­e­nal.

As you might have al­ready guessed, “Ter­raluna” is a port­man­teau of “terra” and “luna”—“earth” and “moon” in Latin—so the watch must have some­thing to do with those el­e­ments. Like a dis­creet gen­tle­man who doesn’t lay all his cards on the ta­ble, how­ever, those de­tails are only re­vealed on the case back. But first, men­tion must be made of the clas­si­cal reg­u­la­tor-style dial, which dis­plays per­pet­ual cal­en­dar and power re­serve in­di­ca­tions, and for the first time in the Richard Lange col­lec­tion, a sig­na­ture out­sized date.

The dial de­sign takes its cues from Jo­hann Hein­rich Seyf­fert’s reg­u­la­tor clock, circa 1807. Lange owes a debt of grat­i­tude to the Saxon watch­maker, who helped de­velop Dres­den into a hub of fine watch­mak­ing in the 19th cen­tury. Reg­u­la­tor clocks such as Seyf­fert’s, with their pre­cise dis­plays of min­utes and seconds, were used by watch­mak­ing man­u­fac­tures to syn­chro­nise new time­pieces, and re­lied on by ob­ser­va­to­ries to keep good time.

The Ter­raluna, like Seyf­fert’s clock be­fore it, is also an ex­cel­lent time­keeper, thanks to Cal­i­bre L096.1’s twin bar­rels that de­liver a 14-day power re­serve, and a con­stant force mech­a­nism de­signed to keep the rate sta­ble dur­ing this pe­riod. It’s the same sys­tem used in the Lange 31, where a re­mon­toir (French for “win­der”) spring is pe­ri­od­i­cally re­wound by the main­spring and then de­liv­ers a con­stant torque to the es­cape wheel, re­sult­ing in a uni­form am­pli­tude and high rate ac­cu­racy.

This means you could scoot off on a two-week va­cay and come back to find your watch still keep­ing per­fect time. To avoid over-con­sump­tion of en­ergy by the in­stan­ta­neously jumping cal­en­dar dis­plays, the force re­quired for this pur­pose is grad­u­ally built up by a cam and then re­leased abruptly at mid­night.

Now for the pièce de ré­sis­tance: the case back. It showcases, for the first time on a wrist­watch, the moon phase and its po­si­tion rel­a­tive to the earth and the sun. “The idea was to show how you see the moon in the real sky,” says Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor An­thony de Haas. “It’s our most ac­cu­rate moon phase in­di­ca­tion. You only need to cor­rect it by one day after 1,058 years,” he adds. In­ge­niously—per­haps even quite hu­mor­ously—Haas and his team used the bal­ance assem­bly to rep­re­sent the sun, since the sun re­mains in a fixed po­si­tion and, well, the bal­ance’s gilded sur­face is anal­o­gous to its so­lar coun­ter­part.

The patent-pend­ing mech­a­nism fea­tures three discs: a ce­les­tial disc that ro­tates pre­cisely ac­cord­ing to the lu­nar cy­cles, i.e. once ev­ery 29 days, 12 hours, 44 min­utes and three seconds, in an anti-clock­wise di­rec­tion; a lu­nar disc that re­veals it­self in the aper­ture; and an earth disc that spins on its own axis once a day.

“All three discs are made of solid white gold, and have that spe­cial blue coat­ing which we have patented and used over the years for our moon phase watches. And all th­ese lit­tle stars—2,160 of them—are laser-en­graved, as are the con­ti­nents of the Earth,” says de Haas. There’s also a pe­riph­eral ring with a 24-hour scale for users to ap­prox­i­mate the time any­where in the north­ern hemi­sphere. A 45.5mm case in pink or white gold pro­vides the req­ui­site back­drop to this sub­lime com­pli­ca­tion

Top: A Lange & SÖhne Richard Lange Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar “Ter­raluna”.

Right: Re­verse side show­ing the earth and the star con­stel­la­tions and the moon­phase.

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