Words from A. Lange & Söhne:
“Ever since the first collection of the new era was presented in 1994, the LANGE 1 has been the face of A. Lange & Söhne. Largely unchanged as regards its design, the second generation is endowed with a new manually wound calibre and a jumping outsize date. It advances instantaneously by one day at midnight and therefore always delivers a doubt-free reading” (alange-soehne.com).
Initially presented in 1994, Lange re-introduced the second generation of Lange 1 in 2015. As of this watch became iconic to Lange, they just refined the overall design while keeping its symbolic aesthetics. Sized at 38.5mm, Lange was able to slightly reduce the bezel to give a more of an open feeling. Made only with precious metals in choice of gold and platinum, this Lange 1 is made from 18K pink gold. When looked closely, there seems to be three layers to the entirety of the case. Front and back are adorned with a highly polished pink gold, while the middle section has a brushed texture to it.
II. Dial, Bezel, and Crown
What made Lange 1 a truly iconic piece was its unique asymmetrical dial design. Off-centre main dial, subsidiary seconds dial, and its outsized date window. There are two elements that made this a classic design of Lange. First is its outsized date window. Compare to the ordinary date windows that were hard to read in everyday life, Lange physically enlarged its date window that added unique aesthetics and practicality. Second is its layout, what lot of people appraise of Lange 1 is its overall balance. And the element that brought this balance is in its equilateral triangle element between the three dials.
Adding to the iconic dial design are the clean argenté dial with power reserve indicator. Argenté dial is rather clean and simplistic choice that well matches with the overall balance of this watch. On the right side of the dial is the power reserve indicator that is written in German, AUF and AB meaning up and down. In fact, Lange 1 has what Lange calls doppelfederhaus, twin mainsprings, that helps Lange 1 to achieve its 72hours of power.
Compare to the original Lange 1, this newly released(2015) Lange 1 has a slightly thinner bezel that puts more emphasis on its iconic dial design. Besides that, it is a rather simple smooth bezel that is made with 18K pink gold.
Lastly, the rather simplistic crown of the Lange 1 has the A. Lange & Söhne branding on it. The button that is located on the opposite side of the watch operates the date window.
To go with the classic design of the dial, this watch is equipped with classic brown alligator strap with pink gold buckle. This combination of brown alligator strap with pink gold adds subtle flare that makes the whole presentation elegant.
Movement used on this new generation of Lange 1 is the newly developed calibre L121.1, 50th in-house movement developed by Lange. As written on the dial, doppelfederhaus refers to the twin mainspring barrels that bring 72hours of power reserve. Made with 368 different parts, movement is covered with three-quarter plate that is brought down from the original design. In combination with 43 jewels, gold chatons, and blued screws, Lange 1 hides miscellaneous parts in its cover and brings a clean overall design that only reveals its fine crafted balance cock and balance wheel. However, this clean aesthetics comes with some drawbacks. Calibre L121.1 has to manually wound.
With that said, one highlight feature of this movement is outsized date mechanism that is unique and original to Lange 1. Traditionally, it was impossible to fit a date dial size of Lange 1 in the watch. However, Lange decided to invent a new mechanism that would enable two digits to work independently. Adding to the date window is its instantaneous date jumping function. Compare to the ordinary watches that gradually changes the date near 12:00AM over course of hours, Lange 1 instantly jumps to the next date at 12:00AM to present more accurate date. It might sound simply when explained, but it was rather significant breakthrough at the time.
V. Conclusion and Pricing
Priced at 34,700USD, Lange 1 is an iconic watch to own. Unlike other highly positioned watch makers from Switzerland, Lange is the only brand from Germany; And I think that’s a good thing. Even though Switzerland is famous for its fine watch making skills, one cannot ignore the fine craftsmanship that comes from Germany. Personally, if you have the money and enjoy Lange 1’s iconic design, Lange 1 is a unique and symbolic watch that is worth looking into.