Dynamic Duo: A. Lange & Söhne Luna Mundi Limited Edition Set

The moon phase complication is one of the more charming in the mechanical watch world. It gives watchmakers an excuse to add a very picturesque display of the night sky on a watch dial but also connects modern timekeeping with the historical roots of horology.

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A. Lange & Söhne agrees with my sentiment, and as it stands, over a third of all their calibers to have the complication. I’m not surprised, as Lange watches have a particular magic to them that lines up with the moon phase’s romantic nature. In 2003 the brand introduced a limited edition set of watches known as the Grand Lange 1 “Luna Mundi.” Only 101 of these sets were ever produced.

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Two beautiful watches pay homage to prominent constellations in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. The “Luna Mundi/Ursa Major” cased in white gold represents the Northern Hemisphere, and the “Luna Mundi/Southern Cross” in rose gold represents the Southern Hemisphere. While aesthetically these two make an attractive pair, there is also a practical reason for this to be a set of watches.

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Most moon phase watches are built for the Northern Hemisphere, but if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, the moon is viewed differently. Only the full moon and new moon are viewed as the same in the different hemispheres, so this set gives its owner an accurate moon phase regardless of their location. 

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The movements that make this possible are the manual winding calibers L901.8 and L901.7. The L901.8 powers the white gold Ursa Major and includes 398 components. The L901.7 of the Southern Cross has four additional parts and an extra wheel that reverses the direction of the moon disc to match the Southern Hemisphere. Both are finished in classic A. Lange & Söhne fashion, which is to say it’s arguably the highest level in watchmaking. 

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The dial these timepieces is almost identical except the material used for the hands and indices, both using the same material as the case. Displayed are the hours, minutes, seconds, big date, power reserve, moon phase, and within the main time display, a small symbol of the constellation correlated to the watch.

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I love the dial layout on these watches, the dials and read-outs are situated in such a way that they guide your eye from the nine o’clock position counterclockwise to one o’clock. The hours and minutes dial overlaps with the sub-seconds, and the moon phase is titled within that sub-dial. Above the seconds is your power reserve, which guides you up to the big date at one o’clock. It’s a flow I haven’t seen before, and it is entrancing.  

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The Luna Mundi sets have a lot going for them. They’re gorgeous limited edition watches that are beautifully handcrafted. But what most draws me to them is their connection to the past. These watches so purely symbolize the relationship between astrology and horology. The constellations and moon phase on the dial conjure images of intellectuals and navigators of the past looking to the night sky for guidance. While we no longer need to rely on the stars for the time, it’s still lovely to see them, and with the Luna Mundi, the night sky is just a wrist roll away.

See More of The Luna Mundi Here

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