The phrase icon is, sadly, used and abused by the trade. There are, nonetheless, true iconic watches, most of them launched through the golden period of mechanical watchmaking through the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties. In relation to “trendy icons”, watches which have been offered after the quartz disaster, few can rival the significance of the Lange 1, a watch that has been instrumental within the resurrection of the A. Lange & Söhne model, of German watchmaking and of the entire idea of high-end horology. This formidable resurrection may be attributed to the genius of Günter Blümlein. As we speak, we’ll revisit the A. Lange & Sôhne Lange 1 by bringing you an in-depth and as exhaustive as potential information taking a look at all fashions, all problems, all references, and illustrated by a film that includes the model’s CEO.
The story of the Lange 1 fully coincides with that of the resurrection of A. Lange & Söhne. After rejuvenating Jeager-LeCoultre and IWC, Günter Blümlein (on the head of LMH, earlier than it was acquired by Richemont) determined to carry again the concept of “Made in Germany” watches. Along with Walter Lange, a direct descendant of the founding father of the manufacture, in 1990 Blümlein laid the primary stone of what would develop into one among his most excellent achievements, the revival of the A. Lange & Söhne model.
Günter Blümlein, Walter Lange and Hartmut Knothe through the first presentation at Dresden Royal Palace on 24 October 1994. Subsequent to them are the 4 watches comprised within the inaugural assortment, from left to proper: the Lange 1, the Arkade, the Saxonia and the Tourbillon Pour le Mérite
On 24 October 1994, on the Dresden Royal Palace, Günter Blümlein, Walter Lange and Hartmut Knothe unveiled the inaugural assortment of the brand new A. Lange & Söhne manufacture, consisting of the basic Saxonia, the oblong Arkade, the über-complex Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite” and, after all, the Lange 1. And this watch, each for the model and the trade, would develop into a game-changer, a watch that symbolises the rebirth of German watchmaking and a precursor of the renewal of high-end mechanical watchmaking.
The purest type of the Lange 1, the basic hand-wound 38.5mm mannequin
The fundamentals of the Lange 1
Whereas the Lange 1 is regarded by most because the quintessential A. Lange & Söhne, a watch that in 2022 is sort of an identical (visually a minimum of) to the mannequin launched in 1994, it stays a watch that’s noticeable for quite a few causes. Behind its obvious classicism, the Lange 1 was a daring watch and continues to be right this moment a powerful train of fashion and design.
The primary of its variety, the 1994 Lange 1 ref. 101.001 offered the day of the official inauguration of the A. Lange & Söhne model.
To start with, again in 1994 the Lange 1 was a comparatively giant watch with a 38.5mm diameter – which, for the basic hand-wound mannequin, remained unchanged over all the course of its historical past. Second, even in its inaugural kind, which continues to be the best model of this watch, the Lange 1 was already a reasonably complicated mannequin with further problems and a extremely unique show. It’s not a lot in regards to the complexity of the features, however the way in which these are organized on the dial that generates the complexity. After all, a very powerful function is the big date, known as an Outsize Date by ALS. It was impressed by the five-minute digital show clock discovered above the stage of the Dresden Opera Home. The mechanism behind this date perform is complicated and depends on two outsized, overlapping discs.
However in relation to the Lange 1, it’s its show and its fantastically calculated mess that stand out. At first sight, the dial may seem unbalanced, with randomly positioned features. Actually, the concept was to have every perform separated from the remainder of the indications. Trying carefully on the dial, you may see that there’s technique within the insanity, counting on the arithmetic of the golden ratio. Every part on the dial is the results of complicated guidelines of symmetry and steadiness. Nothing has been neglected and all the weather are sized and positioned in line with exact calculations. And for this reason, regardless of its obvious dysfunction, the dial of the Lange 1 appears so enticing.
The primary of its variety, the hand-wound calibre L901.1 discovered within the 1994 Lange 1
Though the primary fashions of Lange 1 had been offered with closed casebacks, they had been nonetheless geared up with a perfectly completed motion, the hand-wound L901.1. Developed particularly for the watch (with a little bit of assistance on the gear prepare from a Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 822), the motion was conceived by and thru with respect to German traditions. It’s characterised by its 3/4 plate, fully completed by hand and made largely of German silver (giving it a particular color and patina). The plate options ornamental parts that had been as soon as the crowning glory of German watches – blued screws, gold chatons, hand-engraved steadiness cock… Energy was delivered by twin mainspring barrels, leading to a strong 72h energy reserve.
The Lange 1 assortment
What began as a stand-alone mannequin in 1994 rapidly remodeled into a whole, extraordinarily coherent assortment of watches in varied sizes and geared up with quite a few problems, from a comparatively easy moon part indicator to fantastically complicated mechanisms akin to a tourbillon or a perpetual calendar – or each without delay…
Through the years, there have been no fewer than 12 completely different fashions within the Lange 1 assortment; some have been everlasting members of the gathering, some are solely seen on particular events, some have been discontinued and a few have been up to date through the years.
From left to proper, and from high to backside – 1994 Lange 1 – 1998 Little Lange 1 – 2000 Lange 1 Tourbillon – 2002 Lange 1 Moon Section – 2003 Grand Lange 1 – 2003 Grand Lange 1 Luna Mundi – 2005 Lange 1 Time Zone – 2009 Little Lange 1 Moon Section – 2010 Lange 1 Daymatic – 2012 Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar – 2014 Grand Lange 1 Moon Section – 2021 Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
Trying on the complete vary of fashions which have been launched by A. Lange & Söhne over the lifetime of the Lange 1, from 1994 to 2022, probably the most noticeable reality is, indubitably, the consistency within the design. Whichever mannequin you take a look at, regardless of the added problems, the variations in materials, the dial colors or the completely different dimensions provided, a Lange 1 is and stays a Lange 1. The model has been extraordinarily respectful of the unique design created in 1994 and, as such, must be credited for making this watch a real trendy icon.
Let’s now have a more in-depth take a look at every model of the Lange 1, in chronological order.
1994 – Lange 1
For apparent chronological causes and due to the significance of this mannequin – the primary of its variety – it appears truthful to begin with the basic hand-wound Lange 1. Launched in 1994 as a part of the inaugural A. Lange & Söhne assortment, the Lange 1 is a watch that has been identified beneath two sequence, and in varied everlasting or restricted editions. All fashions have been made in valuable metals – besides a couple of dozen of particular order metal fashions – and in 38.5mm instances, which continues to be the diameter used right this moment. All sequence share the identical show, with off-centred hours and minutes, small seconds, outsize date and energy reserve indicator.
The primary of its variety, the 1994 Lange 1 ref. 101.001
For clarification, there are two kinds of early references, the 101.00X and the 101.02X. These watches are an identical and shouldn’t be thought of closed or opened again variations. Variations in early reference numbers are because of the introduction of a brand new reference system round 1997/1998. In the identical vein, early fashions had been fitted with closed backs and ALS began to switch the strong caseback with sapphire casebacks on the finish of 1995 little by little, so there is no such thing as a specific date as much as which the one or the opposite have been used.
First technology 101.021
First technology 112.021
The primary technology is characterised by its hand-wound calibre L901.1 with 72h energy reserve however an outsize date that isn’t exactly leaping. The motion was primarily based on the JLC 822 calibre, but after all, just for the gear prepare calculation, the remaining being fully custom-made for this watch. This primary technology was produced from 1994 to the top of 2014 and has been out there in a number of editions, together with some uncommon fashions such because the Darth, the Luminous or the 1A.
In 2015, on the SIHH, A. Lange & Söhne launched an replace of its iconic Lange 1. Principally a technical launch, the watch was 99% an identical visually, with solely minor variations for the bezel, fonts and logos. The motion, however, was a completely new growth. The hand-wound calibre L121.1 has an unprecedented structure and now contains a steadiness spring crafted in-house in addition to a freely oscillating cam-poised steadiness. Since then, the outsize date has switched exactly at midnight as properly. All the small print concerning this replace may be discovered right here.
1998 – Little Lange 1
Following the success of its inaugural 1994 mannequin in 38.5mm, in 1998 A. Lange & Söhne determined to carry a brand new and downsized version of its soon-to-be iconic watch. Whereas retaining all of the belongings of the basic version, the Little Lange 1 got here in a case diminished by 2.4mm (for the primary technology), which means a 36.1mm case.
Little Lange 1 in Pink Gold from 1998 – 111.032
Opposite to right this moment, the primary editions weren’t essentially meant for a female viewers, however largely for males who desired a smaller watch. The motion, the hand-wound calibre L901.4, was the identical because the basic Lange 1, apart from a recessed pusher to right the date as an alternative of the basic outstanding button.
Since 2018, the Little Lange 1 is on the market in its second technology, with a barely bigger diameter of 36.8mm and the identical up to date motion because the Lange 1, the twin-barrel hand-wound calibre L121.1, once more with a recessed pusher. As we speak, this watch is generally supposed for a female viewers, with mother-of-pearl dials, diamond-set bezels or light-coloured dials.
2000 – Lange 1 Tourbillon
To coincide with the flip of the millennium, A. Lange & Söhne offered the primary Lange 1 with an extra complication… And never any form of perform, however an impressively well-integrated and fantastically completed tourbillon.
The pink gold Lange 1 Tourbillon from 2000, ref. 704.032 restricted to 250 items
Primarily based on the identical case diameter because the basic hand-wound Lange 1, which means 38.5mm, the Lange 1 Tourbillon is a powerful growth of the gathering. Reutilising the basic show of the inaugural mannequin, the place the place the small seconds was once was hollowed to disclose the anti-gravity regulating organ, but the outsize date and the facility reserve indicator had been saved intact. It was, again within the days, the world’s first wristwatch endowed with a tourbillon, an outsize date, a twin mainspring barrel for an influence reserve of 72 days, and a progressive power-reserve indicator. It was first powered by the hand-wound calibre L961.1. In 2010, it obtained an up to date motion with stop-seconds, beneath the codes L961.2 and L961.3.
The Lange 1 Tourbillon is a uncommon watch, which has by no means been a part of the everlasting assortment and has solely been provided in restricted editions. Along with the platinum and pink gold inaugural fashions, it returned in 2010 with a honey gold case, for the 165-years assortment “Homage to F.A. Lange”, and in 2014 with a black enamel dial as a part of the coveted “Handwerkskunst” sequence. Lastly, a silver-blue model was launched for the twenty fifth anniversary assortment.
2002 – Lange 1 Moon Section
The currently-available Lange 1 Moon Section white gold 192.029
In 2002, A. Lange & Söhne began to work on extra basic problems to be added to the unique show of the Lange 1. The primary mannequin to indicate an extra perform (the tourbillon above being too particular) is the Lange 1 Moon Section. The fantastic thing about this watch lies within the capability of the watchmakers to combine a brand new perform whereas retaining the basic design and format of the mannequin, as not one of the emblematic features has been eliminated, and the extra moon is positioned contained in the small seconds. The diameter was saved at 38.5mm (and nonetheless is).
Fifteen years after its introduction, in 2017, the Lange 1 Moon Section obtained a significant motion with the brand new calibre L121.3, utilizing the identical base because the up to date Lange 1. This new engine connects the moon part with a day/evening indicator. Behind the solid-gold moon, a celestial disc – additionally made from strong gold – performs precisely one revolution each 24 hours. The varied occasions of day are depicted with a blue gradation. Additionally, the outsize date was now exactly leaping at midnight. The design was, however, marginally modified. You possibly can learn extra particulars about this up to date watch on this article.
2003 – Grand Lange 1
In 2003, A. Lange & Söhne, counting on the rising development for outsized watches, launched the Grand Lange 1. The case gained a whopping 3.4mm to measure 41.9mm in diameter with a peak of 11mm. The primary technology of Grand Lange 1 may be break up into two durations, from 2003 to 2008, and from 2008 to 2012, when the second technology Grand Lange 1 was launched.
The Grand Lange 1 as presently out there, platinum model 117.025
As you may see, the primary technology is characterised by its outsized case however nonetheless depends on the identical base motion (L901.2) because the basic hand-wound Lange 1. As such, the show was altered by the up to date sub-dials, bigger than earlier than and now overlapping. The identical comment may be made in regards to the outsize date, which crosses the hours/minute observe. On this occasion, the Grand Lange 1 misplaced a number of the steadiness of the basic Lange 1. The primary fashions (2003-2008) featured two-tone dials, reinforcing the presence of this watch on the wrist. As of 2008, the Grand Lange 1 was geared up with monochromatic dials, an identical in type to the basic Lange 1.
A. Lange & Söhne up to date the Grand Lange 1 in 2012 with the second technology. Utilizing a completely new and skinny motion, the case was diminished to 40.9mm in diameter and eight.8mm in peak. The one-barrel motion (L095.1) nonetheless gives 3 days of energy reserve however was redesigned so the show could be extra harmonious, with out overlapping features. In 2013, the Grand Lange 1 was launched in a surprising LUMEN model with its semi-transparent dial revealing the mechanism of the primary luminous outsize date show.
2003 – Grand Lange 1 Luna Mundi
A really particular and fairly distinctive piece within the assortment, the Grand Lange 1 Luna Mundi is A. Lange & Söhne’s first two-watch set. Launched similtaneously the basic Grand Lange 1, it shares its dimension with this mannequin however depends on the bottom motion of the first-generation Lange 1 Moon Section, with its moon indication contained in the small seconds. Similar to the primary technology Grand Lange 1, the variation of a smaller motion may be seen with the overlapping features.
Relying on the mannequin, the Grand Lange 1 Luna Mundi accurately shows the moon phases clockwise for the northern hemisphere (white gold) and anti-clockwise for the southern hemisphere (pink gold). There are two calibre variations: the L901.8 for the northern and the L901.7 for the southern hemisphere. Within the latter, an extra wheel reverses the sense of rotation of the lunar disc. Launched in white gold and in pink gold as a set comprising the 2 timepieces, the mannequin was solely produced as soon as with a batch of 101 units. The dials are adorned with a illustration of a celestial object – Ursa Main for the white gold mannequin, Southern Cross for the pink gold model. A uncommon version that proceeds the 2014 Grand Lange 1 Moon Section.
2005 – Lange 1 Time Zone
An vital mannequin within the Lange 1 assortment is the Time Zone, A. Lange & Söhne’s reply to the wants of travellers. Whereas the model may have achieved it the easy method, by simply displaying a GMT hand or an extra time zone in a sub-dial, ALS determined to take a extra complicated path and designed this world timer. It’s a intelligent answer for the reason that peripheral metropolis ring permits the format of the dial to stay intact whereas bringing a mess of indications to the wearer. The Lange 1 Time Zone has a large number of fingers and sub-dials, but legibility remained an vital focus. Along with the hours/minutes, a small seconds downsized and moved into this off-centred dial, the signature mixture of Outsize date and energy reserve, the Lange 1 Time Zone provides a second hours and minutes sub-dial rather than the basic small seconds and day/evening indicators for every time zone. The peripheral metropolis ring permits for synchronisation and an outline of 24h time zones all over the world. This extra metropolis ring meant the case must be enlarged to 41.9mm.
The currently-available second technology Lange 1 Time Zone, right here in white gold ref. 136.029
There are two generations of Lange 1 Time Zone. The primary, produced from 2005 to 2020, was powered by the hand-wound calibre L031.1 with two barrels for a 72h energy reserve. This model is definitely recognisable with its off-centred day/evening indicators. It was out there in most basic supplies and was additionally launched in two restricted editions, together with a uncommon and fascinating honey gold model. It’s additionally the watch that’s gifted to the winner of the distinguished Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, with eight distinctive items comprised of 2012 to 2019. These white gold editions are differentiated by their hinged caseback.
In 2020, A. Lange & Söhne offered the second technology Lange 1 Time Zone, with a brand new manufacture motion, calibre L141.1. Nonetheless a hand-wound motion, it retained the 3-day energy reserve however now on a single barrel and got here with new ring-shaped day/evening indicators for improved legibility, in addition to a brand new daylight-saving time indication. The case nonetheless measured 41.9mm and three variations had been out there, together with a yellow gold restricted version. This new technology is detailed on this article.
2009 – Little Lange 1 Moon Section
A watch launched in 2009, the Little Lange 1 Moon Section follows the footsteps of each the Little Lange 1 of 1998 and the Lange 1 Moon Section of 2002. The watch has thus identified two generations, the primary (2009-2017) being 36.1mm in diameter, just like the Little Lange 1, and geared up with the identical base motion because the Lange 1 Moon Section 1st-gen, right here dubbed calibre L901.9, because of the absence of the date pusher. With its mother-of-pearl dials and bezels typically set with diamonds, it’s a watch largely devoted to a female viewers.
The 2nd-gen got here in 2017, following the evolution of each the basic Little Lange 1 and Lange 1 Moon Section, which means a diameter elevated to 36.8mm and a brand new manufacture motion, the calibre L121.2, whose base is shared with the Lange 1 Moon Section (once more with out date pusher).
2010 – Lange 1 Daymatic
In 2010, A. Lange & Söhne injected an excellent dose of practicality to the Lange 1 by presenting the primary automated model, the Daymatic. This watch was not simply restricted to including a self-winding mechanism to the prevailing Lange 1 mannequin. First, it comes geared up with a model new motion, calibre L021.1, with a central rotor and 50h energy reserve. However modifications weren’t restricted to the mechanics and all the design has been drastically up to date.
The case of the Lange 1 Daymatic measures 39.5mm in diameter, thus 1mm bigger than the basic Lange 1. However extra importantly, the Daymatic is a mirror picture of the basic Lange 1 design, with all indications changed. The thought was to make this watch extra daily-compliant, with the hours/minutes dial partially seen beneath the cuff when worn. Whereas most signature indications are nonetheless current, such because the outsize date, the facility reserve (much less related for an automated watch) has been changed right here by a retrograde day-of-the-week indicator. The watch has identified just one technology since its introduction in 2010. A comparability between the Lange 1 Daymatic and the basic Lange 1 may be learn right here.
2012 – Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar
In 2012, A. Lange & Söhne offered a watch that mixes two of probably the most basic problems of Haute Horlogerie, and is by the way probably the most complicated Lange 1 thus far: the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. In the identical vein because the Lange 1 Time Zone, this watch depends on peripheral indications to show its perpetual calendar with out affecting the unique design of the Lange 1. As with the Daymatic, the show is mirrored and the watch combines the outsize date with a retrograde day indication, a peripheral and rotating month show mixed with a pointer window that exhibits the intercalary year. A day/evening indicator can also be added to this complicated watch.
Housed in a big 41.9mm case, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is powered by the self-winding calibre L.082.1 with 50h energy reserve and its tourbillon regulator with patented stop-seconds mechanism seen by the caseback solely. This über-complex version of the Lange 1 has noticeably been launched as a part of the Handwerkskunst sequence, with a completely engraved dial. We reviewed the white gold and gray dial model right here.
2014 – Grand Lange 1 Moon Section
Following the replace of the Grand Lange 1 in 2012, and in the identical vein because the Lange 1 Moon Section and Little Lange 1 Moon Section, A. Lange & Söhne launched the Grand Lange 1 Moon Section in 2014. Benefiting from the bigger case dimension of 41mm and of the extra spacious show provided by this outsized mannequin, the model managed to combine the moon indication in a extremely elegant method, contained in the hours/minutes off-centred sub-dial, and never contained in the small seconds like different Moon Section fashions. As such, the celestial object is depicted in a far bigger method on the dial.
The Grand Lange 1 Moon Section is powered by the hand-wound calibre L095.3, primarily based on the motion of the basic (up to date) Grand Lange 1. It thus presents 72h energy reserve and a show sized in line with the enlarged diameter. In 2016, ALS offered the Lumen version of the Grand Lange 1 Moon Section, with its partially tinted sapphire dial revealing the luminous moon part show and the outsize date, glowing at the hours of darkness. You possibly can see our evaluate of the mannequin right here, and the Lumen version right here.
2021 – Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
The most recent member of the Lange 1 household appeared in 2021 and is known as Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. This watch focuses fully on the eponymous complication. It may be seen as a combination between the Daymatic and the Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. Certainly, its motion, the calibre L021.3, relies on calibre L021.1 of the Daymatic and is thus geared up with a self-winding mechanism. It additionally depends on the mirrored show that’s emblematic of this automated model. Then again, it makes use of the identical kind of perpetual calendar show as its tourbillon counterpart, with a peripheral rotating month and retrograde day. It’s also geared up with a precision moon part contained in the small seconds.
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is likely one of the largest fashions within the assortment, with a 41.9mm case that was essential to place the indications in a legible method with out affecting the signature show of the Lange 1. It’s out there within the everlasting assortment in pink gold with a gray dial. To mark its introduction, A. Lange & Söhne additionally offered a horny white gold restricted version with a strong pink gold dial, which we reviewed right here.
Over all the course of its life, the Lange 1 assortment has been dwelling to no fewer than 17 completely different actions, all designed, manufactured and assembled in-house, within the small city of Glashütte.
For extra particulars about A. Lange & Söhne and for an outline of the fashions presently out there within the Lange 1 household, please go to www.alange-soehne.com.