The Grande Complication is currently on loan to the Mathematics and Physics Salon, a museum in Dresden devoted to historical timepieces and scientific instruments.In 1990, right after German reunification, the German automotive firm VDO purchased the name “A. Lange & Söhne” and established a brand fresh A. Lange & Söhne, based, like the original firm, in Glashütte. (In 2000, the Richemont Group obtained A. Lange & Söhne.) Among the new company’s first watches, the Lange 1, established in 1994, became Lange’s signature design, what the company refers to as its “face.” The Lange 1, which looks the same as it did 20 years ago, has a distinctive, asymmetrical dial with a big-date display and “Auf/Ab” power-reserve indicator. (Earlier this year, the company replaced that caliber using a brand new one, also hand-wound.)
The opening day of SIHH 2017 saw A. Lange & Söhne take the covers off a varied offering of watches, ranging from the top of the line Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite”, one of the most complicated watches ever introduced by the German watchmaker, to the crisply functional 1815 Annual Calendar. Here’s a rundown of the rest of the new launches, including prices in Euros (that include 19% German tax).
Zeitwerk Decimal Strike in honey gold
The other significant complication of the year is the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike. Like the new Tourbograph, the Decimal Strike is derived from existing Zeitwerk models, with a bit of Handwerkskunst decor thrown in.
While the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater strikes the time on demand, and the Zeitwerk Striking Time strikes single chimes to mark the quarters, the Decimal Strike sounds every 10 minutes. A low-pitched chime sounds at the top of each hour, while a high-pitched chime happens every 10 minutes – the chimes don’t tell the time, rather they indicate time is passing.
Visible at six o’clock on the dial, the hammers and striking bridge are finished with tremblage, a finely grained surface engraving that Lange previously used only on its Handwerkskunst limited editions.
With a case in honey gold, the frequently encountered pinkish-yellow gold alloy exclusive to Lange (for now), the Decimal Strike is 44.2mm in diameter. The hand-wound L043.7 movement has a 36 hours power reserve.
Available starting fall 2017, the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike (ref. 143.050) is limited to 100 pieces, with a price of €120,000.
Lange 31 in white gold
Next up is the monumental Lange 31, now in white gold with a grey dial in a 100-piece limited edition. Previously it was available in platinum and pink gold, both as part of the regular collection.
While the grey dial is a new addition, it has been in the works for several years. Your correspondent once spotted the former chief executive of Lange, Fabian Krone, wearing a prototype in the same livery.
Offering a remarkable 31 day power reserve thanks to two mainsprings each almost 2m long, the Lange 31 is 45.9mm in diameter and almost half a pound. Its size, weight and price made meant the Lange 31 only sold really modestly, so perhaps this limited edition is its swan song.
The Lange 31 in white gold (ref. 130.039) is priced at €142,300. It will be available around mid 2017.
Little Lange 1 Moon Phase
The final pair of new launches are ladies’ watches, the more complicated of the two being the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase. Powered by the L121.2 movement, the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase is powered by the second generation Lange 1 calibre, but is distinct from the movement inside the recently launched men’s moon phase.
The Little Lange 1 Moon Phase (ref. 182.030) has only a moon display, without the day and night indicator of the men’s model. But the ladies’ version makes up for that with a silver-plated, solid gold dial decorated with fine guilloche – a feature that was historically only found on limited edition models like the Lange 1 20th Anniversary. Available only in pink gold, the case is 36.8mm in diameter. It’s priced at €38,500 and will be available starting summer 2017.
Saxonia with mother of pearl dial
The ladies Saxonia features a mother of pearl dial and a 35mm case. Available in white or pink gold, it has inside the L941.1 movement. That’s one of the earliest movements developed by Lange and now predominantly used in more affordably priced models, like the Saxonia 37mm for men. This is hand-wound with a 45-hour power reserve and a price of €16,500, with deliveries starting summer 2017.