Brands are always looking to push the absolute limits of watchmaking, and a watch like the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “TERRALUNA” proves that Lange makes no bones about pushing the horological envelope. This big watch has a lot going on, to the point that we need to take a deep dive into both its front and its back.
Lange has an excellent track record when it comes to linear evolution; the maker will often develop something new, and then refine it over successive iterations. The Richard Lange collection began in 2006 with the introduction of the first Richard Lange wristwatch. Two main aspects distinguish this collection from Lange’s other families—the use of Roman numerals, and the collection’s focus on taking influence from precision instruments of years past. The latter is displayed in the original Richard Lange with its display of a 6th of a second. The next addition to this collection was the Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite” in 2009. This version introduced a fusée-and-chain transmission into the movement, which increased the timepiece’s accuracy throughout the entirety of its power reserve.
Next, in 2011, Lange introduced the Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite” Tourbillon. This one—as the name implies—adds a tourbillon to the caliber alongside the fusée-and-chain. It was also the first timepiece in the collection to display the time with a regulator dial. 2014 brought us the unveiling of today’s topic, the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna”, which kept the regulator-style display but added a perpetual calendar to the mix. That was the only addition to the collection with additional functions outside just timekeeping. It’s also the only piece in the line that steps away from standard timekeeping, as the subsequent Richard Lange Jumping Seconds arrived with a regulator dial and deadbeat seconds complication.
The anchor of the design conversation with this watch will always be its case size, as the watch is 45.5mm and 16.5mm thick. Once one makes it past the sheer size, the other aspects unfold. Perpetual calendars aren’t always the most legible of timepieces, but in the case of the Terraluna everything is clean and clear. The split regulator dial displaces the hours, minutes, and seconds in three overlapping circles. The minutes are the largest of the three and display the quarter minute indicators in red numerals. Also, it encircles the large date window at the 12 o’clock position, as well as the brand’s logo text.
The hour subdial is to the right and is distinguished by the use of Roman numerals and its encircling of the month window at 4 o’clock. A small circular opening outside the minutes and hours rings (opposite the 15-minute mark) displays the leap year indication. It’s also worth noting that the power reserve indication is a little out-of-the-ordinary on this watch. Rather than a sweeping hand, the power reserve is indicated at 6 o’clock, with a diamond-shaped pointer and digital disc. Lastly, the running seconds’ track is to the left and encircles the day indicator at 8 o’clock. The three separated hands are all blued steel and are incredibly legible against the silver argenté pad-printed dial. The timepiece is fitted with a black alligator strap, and due to its size, there is a sizable deployant buckle in white gold that securely locks closed, keeping it held tightly on the wrist.
Like most A. Lange & Söhne timepieces, the movement makes it even more unique, and there is absolutely nothing quite like the Caliber L096.1. It has the full perpetual calendar as seen from the dial side of this piece; however, there is another set of complications on the movement side. This piece has an orbital moon phase indicator that displays stars and the moon rotating around the earth while going through its phases and will be accurate for over 1000 years without an adjustment. The globe, showing the northern hemisphere and broken down to each timezone, goes through a full 24-hour rotation as the moon revolves around it.
A little Easter egg is the balance wheel beating at 21,600 vph is set up to represent the sun in relation to the earth and moon, which makes even more sense when seeing the moon’s position. The silver ring surrounding the whole celestial body displays 24-hour indicators that can be traced to the globe to tell what time is in each respective time zone. That means the user could, in fact, roughly tell what time it is by just looking at the caseback of this piece. This movement houses an impressive 786 components, 80 jewels, a constant force escapement, and a pair of mainspring barrels that give this movement a staggering 336-hour power reserve, or 14 days. That means this piece only needs to be wound every two weeks.
Versus The Competition
Because of the uniqueness of this Lange, the comparison is best split by complications. First, one could compare this timepiece to the Patek Philippe 5270G Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. Though this piece would be smaller, it is a perpetual calendar with several similar characteristics: the white gold case, white dial, and three circular subdials. The subdials are for an additional chronograph function rather than the regulator dial, but the hands for the chronograph are also blued steel. Another timepiece worth comparing to this Lange would be the Patek Philippe 5131/1P World Time. This world-time complication would be a great comparison to the caseback of the “Terraluna.” This Patek has an enamel globe of the northern hemisphere and is also surrounded by a 24 hours indicator. Both of these Pateks are similar in price to the Richard Lange Perpetual but might be a bit more wearable.
This Lange is not for everyone, even amongst some of the average Lange collectors. Mainly due to its Large size; however, this is the perfect timepiece for those who appreciate true mechanical marvels. The collector of a piece like this wants to showcase what human engineering can create. Though this watch is maybe not for all Lange collectors, it is most likely not the only Lange piece in its owner’s collection; although, this could easily sit in a collection of the likes of Patek, Richard Mille, or even Jacob & Co pieces.
The Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna” is a piece to behold. It is large and pronounced, and because of that, it is an incredible value for the money. Regardless, this piece is a technical feat of engineering that makes it highly unique in the world of watches.