Twenty-five years ago, a phoenix arose from its ashes – perhaps the most spectacular phoenixes Saxony has at any point seen. His name was A. Lange & Söhne. To mark its restoration as another company, the brand presented four watches, and among them was a watch that would proceed to become the foundation of the assortment, a watch of great elegance, differentiation and originality. This watch was the Lange 1 and today A. Lange & Söhne celebrates its 25th anniversary with a wonderful restricted release (which will be introduced at the SIHH 2019).
The Lange 1 since 1994
Almost 25 years ago – 24 October 1994 – the German watch brand A. Lange & Söhne presented its absolute first assortment of watches. That was only four years after Ferdinand A. Lange’s great-grandson, Walter Lange, together with Günter Blümlein (at the time the managing head of IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre) had relaunched the brand, soon after the reunification of Germany. Lange Uhren GmbH was established on 7 December 1990 in Glashütte and the A. Lange & Söhne brand was enrolled worldwide.
That goal was to made Germany back famous of top of the line watchmaking and four new watches were introduced on 24 October 1994. Among these four watches, the Lange I (ref. 101.021) best characterized the new course of A. Lange & Söhne and in time would become the notorious face of the Saxon brand.
The Lange 1 was rather special, with a combination of elegance and audacity, mainly because of the layout of the dial with off-focused indications – a plan that has remained unchanged for 25 years (and tallying) – with an off-focused hour/minute dial, a small seconds subdial, a major date (outsize date as Lange named it) and a large force hold indicator. The idea was that none of the indications should overlap each other. And there was the famous arched signature including the “Glashütte I/SA” – “I/SA” being the abbreviation for “in Saxony”.
All indications were positioned according to the harmonious extents of the brilliant segment. The off-focused hour/minute dial featured applied hour files (Roman numerals for the 12, 3, 6 and 9), the hour and minute hands were sword shaped, and even the force save indicator was sword shaped, just the seconds hand was a meager needle with a beautiful counterbalance.
Twenty-five years later, the watch with the unmistakable face has become a symbol, a horological classic. A quarter century later it is as yet being crafted, virtually unchanged. A quarter century later its popularity has changed over the Lange 1 into the foundation of a watch family composed of nine models (see above), which come in various case diameters, with manual-winding and self-twisting variants, with various added complications and in various metals. And obviously, there are special models and restricted versions – and there’s another one today!
The Lange 1 Edition 25th Anniversary
For the 25th anniversary of the inaugural assortment and of the notorious Lange 1, the brand presents a restricted release of 250 pieces with several updates on the classic variant. On the off chance that the mechanics and the overall idea remain the same, this special form comes with another shading plan and embellishments on the development and the caseback.
Note: A. Lange & Söhne indicates in its official statement that this restricted release of the Lange 1 “marks the dismiss from the 25th Anniversary series”… So don’t be astounded if more special watches are launched for this present year – re-versions of the Arkade, Saxonia and Tourbillon Pour Le Mérite might actually follow.
First of all, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Edition 25th Anniversary features another dial. Introduced in a classic argenté (silvered) completing, the strong silver dial presently reveals recessed matte areas and raised boundaries around the sub-dials and indications – while the standard Lange 1 has a flat dial. Then again, the signature “unbalanced” display remains untouched.
Contrasting with the silvered background are dark blue printings, tracks, files, logos and numerals. There are not any more applied hour markers, these have been printed straightforwardly on the dial and are read with matching blued-steel hands and, with regards to the shading plan, even the numerals of the date window are blue. With this all the more vivacious shading plan, the watch comes across as less austere than the traditional white gold release of the Lange 1 ( ref. 191.039 ). In any case, the outcome remains prudent – something that we’ve come to anticipate from Lange. The blue accents are paired with a matching blue alligator strap with silver stitchings.
The case is based on the traditional 38.5mm diameter of the Lange 1 and is introduced in 18K white gold. No advancement either on the completing, which actually combines cleaned surfaces with brushed casebands. The specifications reveal a case thickness of 10.7mm, which is almost 1mm more than the standard model (at 9.8mm).
The reason for this significant increase can be seen on the back of the watch, which features a pivoted caseback – or “cuvette” (something that Lange already utilized on the 1815 “Cuvette” Limited Edition ). This reference to clean covers found in pocket watches and featured on the Lange 1 is crafted in white gold. The central engraving portrays the Lange headquarters that date back to 1873, the names of Walter Lange and Günter Blümlein, and a help engraving of the engraving “25 YEARS LANGE 1”.
When opened, the residue cover reveals the calibre L121.1, which has been the driving force of the Lange 1 since 2015 – marking a significant improvement over the more seasoned, 1994 development. Presently featuring an in-house balance and hairspring, and an absolutely bouncing outsize date display with recently shaped extensions (still with the signature 3/4 plate), this hand-wound development, explicit to the Lange 1, boasts 72 hours of force save and comprises 368 components.
The decoration is heavenly – as on the whole Lange watches – and shows hand-cleaned angles, flimsy Glashütte ribbings and 8 screwed gold chatons. To mark the uniqueness of this 25th-anniversary version, the cockerel (the small extension that holds the balance in place) has a particular engraving with the Lange outsize date – with a “25” that represents the celebration. All the engravings are filled in blue to recall the dial.
The A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Edition 25th Anniversary reference 191.066 will be delivered in a version of 250 watches. It will be displayed at the SIHH 2019. Cost will be EUR 43,700 with conveyances expected in January 2019. More details at www.alange-soehne.com .