As journalists gathered around the survey table to admire the technical firecrackers of A. Lange & Söhne’s Triple Split at the SIHH 2018, I made my way to a less blocked table and was treated to a hands-on meeting with the new individuals from the Little Lange 1 family. Like its Moon Phase kin presented last year, the new Little Lange 1 set of three flaunts a unimaginable guilloché dial (without a moon phase complication) and all the hallmark traits of its Lange 1 heritage. However, what no one expected was the astounding infusion of colour.
As a brand associated with contemporary classics and tasteful German restraint, shading is utilized sparingly under the most favorable circumstances at A. Lange & Söhne. Introduced in three variations – pink gold with an earthy colored dial and two white gold variations with gray and purple dials – the Little Lange 1 model with the purple dial and matching purple alligator strap became the talking piece of the day.
As Anthony de Haas, overseer of item improvement at A. Lange & Söhne explained to me: “The purple dial caught everyone’s attention. That’s because we have never done purple. Some of the time you have to plan something special for shock individuals – and the stunt worked! We got heaps of requests for the purple store model“. With a shading nearer to dark cherry or aubergine, the dial of the purple model features the extraordinary guilloché work on the dial in a more contemporary key than the marginally ‘safer’ and more conventional gray or chocolate earthy colored dials of the other models.
The refined guilloché decoration on the strong gold dials of all three watches accentuates the characteristic asymmetry of the Lange 1 and brings a refined, Haute Horlogerie contact to the dial. “Unlike some guilloché dials that are stamped“, explains Anthony de Haas, “the Lange dials are motor turned on a strong gold base, yet they are not done in-house. It would be way excessively costly for a company that solitary makes 5,000 watches a year to do this sort of work and it is depended to specialists“.
Every last detail of the Little Lange 1 signifies its Haute Horlogerie denomination, and the 36.8mm case, the hands, the embellished crown and even the applied markers are all crafted in 18-carat pink or white gold. Interestingly, you can actually feel these contacts when handling the watch. The Little Lange 1 has an agreeable heaviness that means its respectable gold case and the smooth completions of the case are an open invitation to be caressed.
The appealing asymmetry of the Lange 1 family
Asymmetry is a solid family trait of the Lange 1, the famous assortment that launched the revival of the brand in 1994 in the capable hands of Walter Lange. With its outsize date window and excentred counters, the Lange 1 is the most recognizable ambassador of the brand. As you would anticipate from a brand that was established in Saxony, even the asymmetry is executed with mathematical accuracy. Cynics take note: the focal point of the subsidiary seconds dial, the main dial and the outsize date display structure the edges of an isosceles triangle. And even the outsize date display regards the standard of the brilliant ratio creating a harmonious asymmetry that engages the eye.
More than simply a pretty face
Although the watch, with its 36.8mm case, was originally imagined for ladies, de Haas calls attention to that “men also communicated an interest in the gray and earthy colored models“. After all, adds de Haas, “with the Little Lange 1 you are getting an elegant watch and a technical watch folded into one: a watch with twin barrels, an outsize date work, and so on“.
Genetically speaking, the date window, the excentred hours, minutes and small seconds counters, and the force save indicator are the most predominant qualities of the Lange 1 family, communicated generation after generation. Demonstrated after the five-minute check in Dresden’s Opera House, the numerals in the instantaneous bouncing date window are almost multiple times larger than those found in conventional wristwatches giving unparalleled neatness. The force save indicator, located on the outskirts of the dial somewhere in the range of 2 and 4 o’clock shows the amount of energy left in the barrels indicated by the German words AB (empty) and AUF (full tank). The tandem barrels (indicated by the word Doppelfederhaus on the lower part of the dial) give a hearty 3-day power reserve.
Nothing little about the heart of this Lange
And don’t be tricked by the ‘little’ appellation in the name of the watch. It very well may be somewhat smaller than the original Lange 1, however there isn’t anything little about the Little Lange 1. As de Haas brings up: “The development, caliber L121.1 is exactly the same as the development utilized inside the Lange 1. It has not been scaled down. All that is diverse is the 36.8mm case size.” To decrease the thickness of the case to its present 9.5mm, the Lange 1 three-part case was adjusted to a two-part case.
Powering the hours, minutes, small seconds and energy save indicator is Lange’s 50th in-house development, the manual-winding caliber L121.1 with 368 development parts and its twin mainspring barrel. Fitted with an in-house manufactured hairspring, the watch has a recurrence of 21,600vph and reveals all the beautiful hand-completes we are accustomed to on Lange’s developments, including the hand-engraved balance cockerel and the untreated German silver on the three-quarter plate and bridges.
Untreated German silver isn’t silver from Germany
Having wrongly found that German silver was only that – German silver – de Haas compassionately advised me on the ethics of this alloy that, it ends up, has nothing distantly to do with silver from Germany “German silver is an alloy of brass and nickel and was originally utilized on Swiss and German pocket watches because it is more stable than brass. The decent thing about German silver,” explains de Haas, “is that it builds up a special patina over the long run and changes tone. Companies like Patek also utilize German silver for their complicated developments however treat it with a rhodium plating. At Lange, we like to leave it untreated and call it our ‘perfect administration indicator’ telling the proprietor when it’s an ideal opportunity to support his/her watch. It if starts to turn a dark yellowish tone, it’s ready for service.”
All three watches come with matching alligator straps repeating the shade of the dial. The purple dial is a store elite version restricted to only 100 pieces, while the gray and earthy colored dials are non-restricted releases. The watch will retail for EUR 32,500 and will be available starting April 2018. More on www.alange-soehne.com .