The phrase icon is, sadly, used and abused by the trade. There are, however, true iconic watches, most of them launched throughout the golden period of mechanical watchmaking throughout the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties. Relating to “trendy icons”, watches which were 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 will be attributed to the genius of Günter Blümlein. At present, we’ll revisit the A. Lange & Sôhne Lange 1 by bringing you an in-depth and as exhaustive as potential information all fashions, all problems, all references, and illustrated by a film that includes the model’s CEO.
The story of the Lange 1 completely 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 turn into one in all his most excellent achievements, the revival of the A. Lange & Söhne model.
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 turn 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 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 similar (visually no less than) 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 remains to be as we speak a formidable train of favor and design.
To start with, again in 1994 the Lange 1 was a comparatively massive watch with a 38.5mm diameter – which, for the basic hand-wound mannequin, remained unchanged over your complete course of its historical past. Second, even in its inaugural type, which remains to be the easiest model of this watch, the Lange 1 was already a reasonably advanced mannequin with extra problems and a extremely unique show. It’s not a lot in regards to the complexity of the capabilities, however the way in which these are organized on the dial that generates the complexity. In fact, crucial function is the massive 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 advanced and depends on two outsized, overlapping discs.
However on the subject of the Lange 1, it’s its show and its fantastically calculated mess that stand out. At first sight, the dial would possibly seem unbalanced, with randomly positioned capabilities. Actually, the concept was to have every perform separated from the remainder of the indications. Trying intently on the dial, you’ll be able to 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 advanced guidelines of symmetry and stability. Nothing has been omitted 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 engaging.
Though the primary fashions of Lange 1 had been offered with closed casebacks, they had been however 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 way of and thru with respect to German traditions. It’s characterised by its 3/4 plate, completely completed by hand and made largely of German silver (giving it a particular color and patina). The plate options ornamental components that had been as soon as the crowning glory of German watches – blued screws, gold chatons, hand-engraved stability 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 shortly remodeled into a complete, extraordinarily coherent assortment of watches in varied sizes and geared up with quite a few problems, from a comparatively easy moon section indicator to fantastically advanced mechanisms akin to a tourbillon or a perpetual calendar – or each without delay…
Over time, there have been no fewer than 12 totally 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.
Trying on the whole vary of fashions which were launched by A. Lange & Söhne over the lifetime of the Lange 1, from 1994 to 2022, essentially the most noticeable reality is, certainly, 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 totally 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 better 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 start out 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 recognized below two collection, and in varied everlasting or restricted editions. All fashions have been made in treasured metals – besides a number of dozen of particular order metal fashions – and in 38.5mm instances, which remains to be the diameter used as we speak. All collection share the identical show, with off-centred hours and minutes, small seconds, outsize date and energy reserve indicator.
For clarification, there are two forms of early references, the 101.00X and the 101.02X. These watches are similar and shouldn’t be thought of closed or opened again variations. Variations in early reference numbers are as a result of 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 exchange the strong caseback with sapphire casebacks on the finish of 1995 little by little, so there isn’t a specific date as much as which the one or the opposite have been used.
The primary era 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 completely custom-made for this watch. This primary era was produced from 1994 to the top of 2014 and has been obtainable 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% similar visually, with solely minor variations for the bezel, fonts and logos. The motion, however, was a wholly new growth. The hand-wound calibre L121.1 has an unprecedented structure and now includes a stability spring crafted in-house in addition to a freely oscillating cam-poised stability. Since then, the outsize date has switched exactly at midnight as properly. All the small print relating to this replace will 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 lowered by 2.4mm (for the primary era), that means a 36.1mm case.
Opposite to as we speak, 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, aside from a recessed pusher to right the date as an alternative of the basic outstanding button.
Since 2018, the Little Lange 1 is out there in its second era, 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. At present, this watch is usually meant 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 a further complication… And never any form of perform, however an impressively well-integrated and fantastically completed tourbillon.
Primarily based on the identical case diameter because the basic hand-wound Lange 1, that means 38.5mm, the Lange 1 Tourbillon is a formidable growth of the gathering. Reutilising the basic show of the inaugural mannequin, the place the place the small seconds was 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 acquired an up to date motion with stop-seconds, below 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” collection. Lastly, a silver-blue model was launched for the twenty fifth anniversary assortment.
2002 – Lange 1 Moon Part
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 a further perform (the tourbillon above being too particular) is the Lange 1 Moon Part. 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 structure of the mannequin, as not one of the emblematic capabilities 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 Part acquired a serious 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 section 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’ll be able to 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 pattern 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 era of Grand Lange 1 will be cut up into two durations, from 2003 to 2008, and from 2008 to 2012, when the second era Grand Lange 1 was launched.
As you’ll be able to see, the primary era 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 will be made in regards to the outsize date, which crosses the hours/minute monitor. On this occasion, the Grand Lange 1 misplaced a number of the stability 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, similar in model to the basic Lange 1.
A. Lange & Söhne up to date the Grand Lange 1 in 2012 with the second era. Utilizing a wholly new and skinny motion, the case was lowered 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 capabilities. 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 quite distinctive piece within the assortment, the Grand Lange 1 Luna Mundi is A. Lange & Söhne’s first two-watch set. Launched concurrently the basic Grand Lange 1, it shares its measurement with this mannequin however depends on the bottom motion of the first-generation Lange 1 Moon Part, with its moon indication contained in the small seconds. Identical to the primary era Grand Lange 1, the difference of a smaller motion will be seen with the overlapping capabilities.
Relying on the mannequin, the Grand Lange 1 Luna Mundi appropriately 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, a further 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 Part.
2005 – Lange 1 Time Zone
An essential mannequin within the Lange 1 assortment is the Time Zone, A. Lange & Söhne’s reply to the wants of travellers. Whereas the model might have executed it the easy manner, by simply displaying a GMT hand or a further time zone in a sub-dial, ALS determined to take a extra advanced path and designed this world timer. It’s a intelligent answer because the peripheral metropolis ring permits the structure of the dial to stay intact whereas bringing a large number of indications to the wearer. The Lange 1 Time Zone has a large number of fingers and sub-dials, but legibility remained an essential 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 instead of the basic small seconds and day/evening indicators for every time zone. The peripheral metropolis ring permits for synchronisation and an summary of 24h time zones all over the world. This extra metropolis ring meant the case must be enlarged to 41.9mm.
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 well recognisable with its off-centred day/evening indicators. It was obtainable 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 constituted of 2012 to 2019. These white gold editions are differentiated by their hinged caseback.
In 2020, A. Lange & Söhne offered the second era 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 obtainable, together with a yellow gold restricted version. This new era is detailed on this article.
2009 – Little Lange 1 Moon Part
A watch launched in 2009, the Little Lange 1 Moon Part follows the footsteps of each the Little Lange 1 of 1998 and the Lange 1 Moon Part of 2002. The watch has thus recognized 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 Part 1st-gen, right here dubbed calibre L901.9, as a result of absence of the date pusher. With its mother-of-pearl dials and bezels usually 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 Part, that 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 Part (once more with out date pusher).
2010 – Lange 1 Daymatic
In 2010, A. Lange & Söhne injected an awesome dose of practicality to the Lange 1 by presenting the primary computerized 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 your complete 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 concept was to make this watch extra daily-compliant, with the hours/minutes dial partially seen below the cuff when worn. Whereas most signature indications are nonetheless current, such because the outsize date, the facility reserve (much less related for an computerized watch) has been changed right here by a retrograde day-of-the-week indicator. The watch has recognized just one era since its introduction in 2010. A comparability between the Lange 1 Daymatic and the basic Lange 1 will be learn right here.
2012 – Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar
In 2012, A. Lange & Söhne offered a watch that mixes two of essentially the most basic problems of Haute Horlogerie, and is by the way essentially the most advanced Lange 1 so 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 reveals the intercalary year. A day/evening indicator can also be added to this advanced 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 way of the caseback solely. This über-complex version of the Lange 1 has noticeably been launched as a part of the Handwerkskunst collection, with a totally engraved dial. We reviewed the white gold and gray dial model right here.
2014 – Grand Lange 1 Moon Part
Following the replace of the Grand Lange 1 in 2012, and in the identical vein because the Lange 1 Moon Part and Little Lange 1 Moon Part, A. Lange & Söhne launched the Grand Lange 1 Moon Part in 2014. Benefiting from the bigger case measurement 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 manner, contained in the hours/minutes off-centred sub-dial, and never contained in the small seconds like different Moon Part fashions. As such, the celestial object is depicted in a far bigger manner on the dial.
The Grand Lange 1 Moon Part 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 affords 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 Part, with its partially tinted sapphire dial revealing the luminous moon section show and the outsize date, glowing in the dead of night. You’ll be able to see our overview of the mannequin right here, and the Lumen version right here.
2021 – Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
The newest member of the Lange 1 household appeared in 2021 and is called Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. This watch focuses completely 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, is predicated 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 computerized model. Then again, it makes use of the identical sort 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 section contained in the small seconds.
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is among the largest fashions within the assortment, with a 41.9mm case that was essential to place the indications in a legible manner with out affecting the signature show of the Lange 1. It’s obtainable within the everlasting assortment in pink gold with a gray dial. To mark its introduction, A. Lange & Söhne additionally offered a pretty white gold restricted version with a strong pink gold dial, which we reviewed right here.
Over your complete course of its life, the Lange 1 assortment has been house to no fewer than 17 totally 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 summary of the fashions at the moment obtainable within the Lange 1 household, please go to www.alange-soehne.com.