A. Lange & Söhne is one of the indisputable heavy-weights of the watch industry, with a credibility and cachet rivalling that of Patek Philippe. And this year at SIHH the German brand unveiled their new champion – the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. This watch is essentially a greatest hits compilation – their iconic Datograph chronograph, a perpetual calendar and a tourbillon, all in one awe-inspiring, platinum package. Lange already had a Datograph perpetual on the books, first released 10 years ago, which they updated last year, so you might think it would be a relatively simple feat of mechanical engineering to take the already stunning L952.1 movement and throw in a tourbillon. But no. This is Lange, remember? The only thing that remains unchanged is the almost sacred mechanism that is the Datograph chronograph. Everything else has been comprehensively upgraded. So what do you get? The 792-part movement features a flyback chronograph with a jumping minute counter – along with a perpetual calendar in which every indicator jumps instantaneously at midnight, including Lange’s hallmark big date. Then there’s the day/night indicator and leap year indicator, which have been redesigned for better readability. You also get a discreet power reserve indicator on… Read More
The watches of A. Lange & Söhne are defined by their refined design and peerless finishing techniques. The Saxonia Moonphase more than lives up to this promise. One of the critical hits of SIHH 2016, Lange have added a moonphase complication alongside their iconic big date. Because Lange are the masters of over-engineering they haven’t settled for any old moonphase on their brand new automatic movement – instead opting for a more precise option which is accurate for 122.6 years. Lange’s moonphase isn’t just extremely accurate, it’s extremely good looking, and the 40mm Lange is a real joy to wear. The moonphase disc shines with a constellation of 852 individually laser-etched stars. The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moonphase has an indicative Australian retail price of $40,000.
We’ve already explained what honey gold – the unique alloy used to case this special edition of A. Lange & Söhne’s 1815 – is, but it’s really a metal that benefits from close inspection. Of course, in an ideal world you visit your local Lange stockist, but if that’s not realistic we’ve got the next best thing. This video clearly shows off the warm, not-quite-yellow yet not-quite-red nature of the honey gold alloy. And who better to explain the watch than A. Lange & Söhne’s PR Director, Mr Arnd Einhorn – a man comfortable highlighting the key features of this limited edition, even when he’s only got 60 seconds on the clock.
The story in a second: Lange give their icon a serious update When it was first unveiled in 1994, no one had seen a watch quite like the Lange 1, with its distinct, geometrically harmonious dial. In subsequent years, the Lange 1 came to define the German brand’s pure aesthetic and impeccable technical pedigree. A resolutely contemporary looking watch, it might be surprising to learn that its roots were far from modern. In fact, it dates back to 1841, when Ferdinand A. Lange completed an innovative digital five minute clock for the Semper Opera House in Dresden. It was this historic clock that served as the muse serves as the inspiration for the Lange 1’s distinctive large date complication. The watch recently underwent an upgrade, and here’s what we think. The dial One of the most distinctive in the business, the Lange 1 dial is a deconstructed assemblage of date, power reserve, seconds and time. In theory, all this should make it cluttered and complicated, but thanks to the brand’s respect for good design based on the mathematical principles of the Golden Ratio, the dial is very balanced It’s also very German – a model of sober restraint expressed in… Read More
With its distinct and geometrically harmonious dial it was unlike anything else available at the time. In the subsequent years the Lange 1 came to define the German brand’s pure aesthetic and impeccable technical pedigree. Given the resolutely contemporary look of the watch, it’s surprising to learn that the original inspiration for it spans back to 1841, when Ferdinand A. Lange completed a digital five minute clock for the Semper Opera House in Dresden. This historic clock inspired the Lange 1’s distinctive large date complication. The Lange 1 (pictured here in platinum) had a major upgrade in 2015 – not that you’d know from glancing at the stunning rhodium dial, which remains largely unchanged. The movement is a different story – Lange have used a completely new calibre, boasting numerous improved features. For example the large date now changes instantaneously at midnight, and when the power reserve runs down, the seconds hand will automatically stop at zero – allowing for greater accuracy when resetting the time. Lange have also added an improved escapement with an in-house hairspring. All small changes, but they add up. That the brand decided to significantly improve a key model in their collection, because they felt… Read More
A little while ago we caught up with Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, to learn the story behind Germany’s most prestigious watch brand. We discovered that 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of founder F. A. Lange, the man who turned a rural town in eastern Germany into a hub of watchmaking excellence. We also spoke to Schmid about the brand’s spectacular rebirth in 1994, just a few years after the reunification of Germany, with four completely new timepieces that went on to define A. Lange & Sohne and had a huge impact on contemporary watch design in general.
The story in a second: You’ve seen yellow, red and white gold – but have you ever seen honey gold? Looking at Lange’s latest limited edition, you’d be forgiven at first glance for thinking it’s a regular white gold 1815 – their clean-cut manual winding piece. But look again, and it seems to have taken on a yellow tint. No, you’re eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. This is a chameleon of a watch. The 40mm case is made from a unique 18k alloy called honey gold, characterised by its warm tones, hovering between yellow and rose gold. Used within the watch world solely by A. Lange & Söhne, it’s been enlisted on this occasion to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of F.A. Lange, the brand’s founder. Mathematicians among you will have noted that 2015 minus 200 equals 1815 – the year for which this collection is named – and to celebrate, Lange are releasing a range of special edition 1815s, including this boutique-only chronograph. All are beautiful, but this seemingly straightforward interpretation is perhaps the most interesting of the lot. Lange have only used honey gold once before, also in a limited edition, as it’s hard to… Read More
Last week, we had the pleasure of enjoying Germany’s finest watches along with Melbourne’s finest Chinese cuisine, in the form of A. Lange & Söhne at Flower Drum, thanks to Watches of Switzerland. The banquet was delicious and the Pinot Noir perfect, both serving as excellent entrees to the main course – the timepieces. Dotted around the room on wrists and in display cases were Saxonias, Datographs and Zeitwerks, but there was really one watch we were all there for. There on the wrist of Mr Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, was the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater – one of this year’s most impressive releases. Most minute repeaters chime the time in hours, quarter hours and minutes, but what makes this so different is that Lange have developed a decimal repeater, so the watch is able to chime the time precisely as you read it. So at 7:52, it would chime seven times to convey the hour, five times to denote five sets of 10 minutes, and twice for the single minutes. An elegant and intuitive solution, it was far from simple for Lange to achieve, and a quick glance at the 771-part movement gives an idea of… Read More