In a recent issue of WatchTime, we took a look at a century-plus of notable timepieces from A. Lange & Söhne. Listed below are seven highlight pieces and the stories behind them.This pocketwatch is the second-most complex timepiece ever made beneath the A. Lange & Söhne name. (The first is a modern-day wristwatch version of the piece.) Its original owner, a Viennese named Heinrich Schäfer, paid 5,600 German marks for it in 1902, a sum which might have bought a large house. Rather, he opted for a huge dose of mechanical sophistication. The watch is really a grand complication in the strictest use of the expression: a watch with a perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph and minute repeater (additionally, it’s petite and grande sonneries). The 42500 also has a foudroyante (French for “turbo”) seconds display, where the seconds hand spins around its subdial once each minute, showing 1/5-second increments. The movement has 833 parts, housed in an exceptionally decorated rose-gold case fitted with a seven-part enamel dial.
A. Lange & Söhne has introduced the Lange 1, Lange 1 Daymatic, Saxonia and Saxonia Automatic with deep-blue dials and white gold cases, a throwback to a combination first seen in the late 1990s.
The Lange 1, for instance, was produced in the same livery from 1997 to 2002. The colour has also graced the face of the Cabaret, first-generation Saxonia and 1815 as well as the Tourbillon Pour le Mérite. And for the brand’s 20th anniversary in 2014, Lange also launched a limited edition Lange 1 set with a blue guilloché dial.
The new quartet — two manual-wind and two automatic models — have dials that are made of a disc of solid silver galvanically coated in blue. According to Lange’s product development head Anthony de Haas, the blue dials are exactly the same colour as that found on the similarly clad 1990s models.
The Blue Series is a facelift: on the inside, it is business as usual, with the same in-house calibres decorated Lange-style.
While it isn’t a limited edition, the Blue Series is slated for a limited production, meaning that a number will be produced to meet the orders submitted by boutiques and retailers at the launch. Once those initial orders are filled, there will be no more. The Blue Series will be available later in 2017.
Powering the Lange 1 Blue Series is the same cal. L121.1 with a free-sprung balance wheel. It is the second-generation of Lange 1 movements, released in 2015.
The watch (ref. 191.028) is priced at €31,700, or S$47,200.
Launched 15 years after the Lange 1, the Lange 1 Daymatic was a concession to modernity in that it was the first watch in the family to be powered by a self-winding movement, the cal. L021.1. With the signature asymmetric dial inverted, the Daymatic replaces the power reserve indicator of the Lange 1 with a retrograde day-of-the-week indicator.
Apart from the new dial colour, this is also the first time the Daymatic is presented in a white gold case, making it the most significantly new model of the quartet. The Daymatic ( ref. 320.028) is priced at €38,400, or S$57,200.
The current Saxonia Automatic was introduced in 2015 as a facelift of the earlier generation, with tweaks including a new minute scale and extended baton indexes to create a more legible dial. It is powered by the self-winding cal. L086.1, which has a power reserve of 72 hours.
Measuring 38.5mm in diameter, the blue-dial Saxonia Automatic (ref. 380.028) is priced at €22,800, or S$33,700.
An exercise in essentialism, the Saxonia today measures 35mm in diameter and is powered by the cal. L941.1, which has a 45-hour power reserve.
The blue-dial version (ref. 219.028) is priced at €14,900, or S$21,300.