My week with the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm My week with the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm

My week with the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm

Bruce Duguay

“Authentic” is an often misused and even abused accolade in today’s disposable and instant-service world. Consumers tend to be impressed for brief moments with the speed and functionality of an app, or the savings and convenience that a subscription model lends to their lifestyle. Less and less frequently, consumers are able to appreciate a product offering durability and longevity and, thus, when they do encounter such a thing, simply write it off as frivolous luxury. The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm guise initially presents as frivolous luxury indeed.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm

For nearly $20,000, the consumer earns the right to know only the time on a small-ish, seemingly simple dial. Sure, the watch is made of gold, but there isn’t even a matching bracelet to emulate the weight of those dollar bills on your wrist. To really understand the Saxonia Thin, the value of its authentic qualities need to be examined from some arm’s length perspectives.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm

History always lends credibility and it is within the historical perspective that the Lange scores a big win. The end of the Cold War and fall of communism in Eastern Europe gave the world a lot of things, some good and some not. The resurrection of A. Lange & Söhne was one positive outcome of the Berlin Wall coming down, the end of mutually assured destruction aside (and some could argue we aren’t entirely out of the woods on that front). Re-starting a historically important but lost mechanical watch brand from scratch after the quartz revolution was a very improbable task, but Walter Lange stayed true to his family’s heritage by manufacturing watches in a unique and uncompromising way.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin
The 40mm expression of the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin.

The Saxonia Thin plays the entry-level card in a small and focused Lange lineup but eschews the entry-level moniker due in part to a second authentic perspective: craftsmanship. That this watch has no indication of cost cutting or downsizing in any way is an absolute and indisputable fact. During the time I spent with the Lange, I took every spare moment to examine the finishing, details and presentation. The impression I was left with was that I was vastly underqualified to find fault with the material execution of this watch. Instead, I easily slipped into a very peaceful state of mindfulness while gazing at the gorgeous applied indexes on the dial, the precision edges of the case, and hand finishing of the movement. The rose gold case (and the whole watch in general for that matter) exudes warmth that I could only describe as the complete opposite of a stainless-steel tool watch. I was astonished that such a small device could be so tactilely satisfying to handle.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin
An example of just how well A. Lange & Söhne finish their movements.

The third facet in our theme of authenticity is being able to form a long-term emotional connection. Even if you don’t care what other people think, it is important that a watch in this price bracket has a positive effect on the way you feel. As I often wear a Rolex GMT or Datejust on a daily basis, I can confess that initially the Lange’s size and outward simplicity made me wonder if it would be a little mundane to wear in comparison. My first day with the Saxonia felt anything but mundane; in fact, inspiring and elevating would be the words I would use. Worn with a dark blue suit, I felt like the Saxonia was a next level up for me in terms of wristwatch achievement and, as strange as it may sound, I beamed with an increased confidence for that entire day. Later that same week I had the opportunity to dress down with the watch in jeans and a sweater and the confidence-elevating effect was still intact. These emotions and connections with a watch conspire with the craftsmanship and history attributes to complete a total product experience.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm

So after waxing poetic for the last three paragraphs, I feel it is important to collect a few key technical highlights from the Saxonia to support my praise. These numbers seem to culminate in the most tasteful of numbers games. As the name betrays, the case is 37mm and constructed of beautiful rose gold which radiates in the most subtle way. The manual-wind L093.1 movement is the business end of the watch with 167 parts, including three gorgeous screwed gold chatons. These chatons are comprised of two or three blue blued screws holding a gold setting containing a ruby. In unfairly rudimentary terms, these serve as bearings for the movement. There is also the hand-engraved balance cock, which sounds highly unnecessary and pretentious until you have time to examine and research the work involved in creating such a component.

Finally, we come to address the secret duality of aesthetic experiences available from the Lange Saxonia Thin. The simple elegance of the front of the watch draws your gaze in close with the glint of the indexes and semi-metallic expanse of the dial. Owners of this watch will likely wear out the strap quicker than expected only because of the temptation to take it off a few times per day to visually escape into the tiny mechanical paradise that exists though the sapphire back of the Saxonia.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin 37mm

As always, competition improves the breed so it would be prudent while shopping in this category to swing by Patek Philippe and see what their Calatravas have to offer. There is also the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony, which along with the Patek, is more expensive but arguably doesn’t appear to offer any more value for the money than the Lange. I think that the Rolex Cellini line might provide more available functionality at the Lange’s price point, but should actually serve to validate the Saxonia’s value story when you compare the boutique craftsmanship that only A. Lange & Söhne can offer.

With its trifecta of authenticity and combined experiential duality, the Lange Saxonia Thin 37mm is a dress watch made strictly for creating an intimate and long-lasting relationship with its owner.