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Richard S. Cunanan

Aim For The Moon

A. Lange & Söhne releases an enhanced moon phase display timepiece

Fellow horologists, take comfort: your latest master craftsman has arrived.

A. Lange & Söhne has announced the recipient of their seventh annual F. A. Lange Watchmaking Excellence Award. This award was created to encourage the development of skills among budding watchmakers. In this year’s competition, that goal was not only reached but exceeded.

There were eight young watchmakers, from France, Sweden, Finland, the USA, Japan, and Germany. The challenge presented to them was more complicated than any assignment the jury had ever given out, and yet, the winning presentation was so well-crafted that it surpassed all previous years. What is more, the quality among all the competitors was so high that the jury ALSO announced the names of the second placer AND the third, which has never happened. This was definitely a banner year for up-and-coming horologists at the F. A. Lange awards.

The winning creator was Tanguy Huret from France. He was presented with the award and 10,000 Euros in prize money at a ceremony in Glashütte on December 7, 2016. Huret comes from the west coast of France, and is completing his training at the Lycée Polyvalent Edgar Faure in Morteau.

Mr. Huret and his seven fellow competitors had been given the problem of creating a full calendar watch movement. To prepare them for this task, they spent a full week at A. Lange & Söhne in Glashütte and Dresden in May of 2016. Then the eight competitors had six months to execute their assignment, working on both the underlying theory and the practical methods of bringing it into existence.

In November, the jury met to evaluate the entries. The jury consisted of the company founder Walter Lange, Product Development Head Anthony de Haas, journalists and watch experts Gisbert L. Brunner and Peter Bran, and Dr. Peter Plassmeyer, the Director of the Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments in Dresden.

Needless to say, that is quite a panel. They even SOUND like a group that it would be tough to impress. But impressed they were: the jury decided unanimously that Tanguy Huret’s entry fulfilled all four criteria equally: originality, technical functionality, quality of craftsmanship, and aesthetic implementation. They said that Huret’s work was the best that had ever been presented in the history of the awards.

“The escapement can, thus, be admired in all its glory from the caseback. There, the filigreed cage rotates about its axis once a minute, and combined with the proprietary Lange balance spring, it assures the movement an extremely high degree of rate accuracy.”

Tanguy Huret's winning complication was an extraordinary full working annual calendar with moon phase display.

Huret’s work had gone far beyond the requirements of the competition. Tasked with creating a working full calendar, he actually submitted an even more complex complication, an annual calendar. His work correctly incorporates the lengths of all the different months. The watch movement he presented was not only technically sophisticated, he had created a display of three overlapping dials – a creation that was not only accurate and precise, but aesthetically engaging. Seen head-on, Huret’s watch caliber holds three subdials across the top half of the watch face. The overlapping dials thread through each other, so that the numerals of the day of the month display are printed onto the month and day of the week dials as well. This overlap is not only a pleasure to look at, it allows multiple dials to inhabit the same space, and thus for each dial’s space to be larger. So they are not only NICE to look at, they are EASY to look at. The central hands tell hours and minutes, and the lower half of the watch face holds a blue-tinted moon phase display.

For the first time, the jury decided that the second- and third-place entries were so good that they also deserved mention. Ville-Veikko Koski from Finland made an unusually well-crafted cylindrical date display. Masakazu Arafuka from Japan took inspiration from the Five-Minute Clock at Dresden’s Semperoper opera house, building a caliber reminiscent of a chiming movement.

With such outstanding work being encouraged at the F. A. Lange Watchmaking Excellence Awards, it seems clear that the future of horology is in good hands at A. Lange & Söhne.

The Lange 1 Moon Phase

And, speaking of Moon Phase displays, A. Lange & Söhne has recently put out an enhanced model of their own Lange 1 Moon Phase. You may recall couple years back the Lange 1 movement with moon-phase display was brought out. Now that same movement is getting a day/night indicator built into the display. The caliber still has the twin mainspring barrel and 72-hour power reserve, and a jumping outsize date display.

Tanguy Huret himself, with an amazing complication to his credit and no doubt a bright future ahead.

What’s new is an enhancement designed to put the moon display in a more realistic context. A solid-gold moon (okay, THAT part’s not realistic, but bear with me) tracks the orbit in the dial window. However, BEHIND that moon is another gold disc, the celestial sky, representing the different times of night and day. During daytime, the celestial disc shows a bright, starless sky. However, during the night hours, the celestial disc shows a dark sky with star patterns. In a single addition, the moon display is accurately rendered against the background, while the wearer also gets a day/night indicator. It’s a simple addition, but it has a far deeper effect. It’s useful when setting the watch, and it increases the realism of the moon-phase display. It’s classic A. Lange & Söhne – simple yet brilliant.

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