As the first watch debuted in 1994 by the reborn A. Lange & Söhne, the Lange 1 has been a potent symbol for the revived German watchmaker. The Lange 1’s asymmetric dial may not have been universally lauded upon its debut, but the watch’s technically proficient large-sized date and the twin mainspring barrel were a hit with collectors and gave the brand immediate recognition worldwide.
Today A. Lange & Söhne celebrates the anniversary of the Lange 1 with a 25th Anniversary edition in white gold, limited to 250 timepieces. The watch’s new features include a deep-blue printed silver dial with recessed, blue date numerals, a hinged caseback with an engraving of Lange’s headquarters and a hand-engraved balance cock with blued lines.
Inside, the manually wound caliber L121.1 (introduced in 2015) includes the characteristic outsize date display and a freely oscillating Lange balance spring. Like the first Lange 1, this new model features an opulently finished movement, here with a twin mainspring barrel guaranteeing a power reserve of seventy-two hours.
Other typical A. Lange & Söhne flourishes on and inside the 25th Anniversary Lange 1 are the three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, eight screwed gold chatons, and the hand-engraved balance cock.
Turn the watch over for a special engraving that depicts the company’s large date with a “25” that symbolizes the anniversary. The manually engraved lines of the new pattern are blued for the first time, lending a particularly rich contrast.
It was on October 24, 1994, that company founder Walter Lange and his partner Günter Blümlein presented the first four new-era wristwatches at the Dresden Palace, including the Lange 1.
Expect A. Lange & Söhne to continue its celebration of the 1994 re-inauguration of its brand with additional 2019 watches, many of which we’ll see at next week’s SIHH in Geneva. All of these will include the same design hallmarks as this preview watch, namely a silver-colored dial in solid silver with printed deep-blue numerals and hour markers, blue date numerals, and a color-coordinated blue alligator leather strap with a grey seam. Price: 43,700 Euros, or about $50,000.
Below, A. Lange & Söhne describes how its large-sized date works.
Compared with other watches of comparable size, the display of the Lange outsize date is about three times larger. The framed double aperture was inspired by the famous five-minute clock in the Dresden Semper Opera House that Ferdinand Adolph Lange helped complete at the time.
To achieve the largest possible format of the date in a limited space, the mechanism relies on two separate display elements: The ring-shaped units disc with the numerals 0 to 9 switches forward once a day. But at the transition from the 31st to the 1st day, it stands still for a day. The cross-shaped tens element with the numerals 1 to 3 and a white blank space advances by one increment only every ten days. When it displays the 3, the tens cross advances to the blank space after just 2 days.
This program wheel, with a precisely calculated tooth profile coded with the number of days in each month, controls the switching process. The distance between the units disc and the superposed tens cross is merely 0.15mm. For this reason, great dexterity is needed to assemble this refined mechanism. –Courtesy A. Lange & Söhne
Specifications: A. Lange & Söhne
Lange 1 25th Anniversary (Ref. 191.066)
Case: 38.5mm by 10.7mm white gold, hinged caseback with engraving, crown for winding the watch and setting the time; push piece for rapid correction of the outsize date, sapphire crystal and caseback
Movement: Lange manufacture caliber, 21.1, manually wound, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; plates and bridges made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand, shock-resistant cam-poised balance; balance spring manufactured in-house, frequency 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, precision beat adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
Dial: Solid silver, blue-steel hands, time indicated in hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds with stop seconds; power-reserve indicator; jumping Lange outsize date
Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather, dark blue, grey stitching, white-gold prong buckle