On 7 December 1845, Ferdinand Adolph Lange established his first pocket-watch workshop in Glashutte, a former mining community south of Dresden in east Germany. It would be a pivotal milestone in Glashutte’s transformation into a precision-watchmaking hub.
This year, A. Lange & Sohne marks the 175th anniversary of the birth of Saxon fine horology with a trio of limited-edition timepieces. The three models belong to the pocket watch-inspired 1815 family, feature special movement finishes (such as bridges with a granular texture), and are all crafted from Lange’s proprietary honey gold — a warm beige gold alloy that has only been used by the brand in eight of its limited editions. Here’s a quick look at this exceptional trio:
1) 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange”
As mentioned above, honey gold has not been lightly used by Lange since the material’s conception in 2010. Black dials are another relative rarity at the German brand. The combination is used for the first time in the new 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange”, whose looks alone would be enough to make it our favourite of the anniversary trio.
But of course, that’s not the only reason it’s our top choice. Among the three releases, this watch is the only one that’s wholly new: The 41.2mm split-seconds chronograph timepiece is powered by the new L101.2 manually wound movement, which controls the measurement of lap times via a traditional system with two column wheels. As watch aficionados know, the split-seconds chronograph is highly challenging for a watchmaker to adjust, and this complication is a lot less common in the fine-watch world than, say, a tourbillon.
Price: 130,000 euros (S$208,000); available in a limited edition of 100.
2) 1815 Thin Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange”
Powered by the L093.1 manually wound movement that is also used in the Saxonia Thin, this limited edition puts a different spin on Lange’s slimmest and simplest-looking — in a good way — watch. In this 38mm-wide and 6.3mm-thick timepiece , you’ll find all the hallmarks of the pocket watch-inspired 1815 family: Arabic numerals, blued steel hands and a railway track minute scale.
Providing a simple yet striking stage for these distinctive features is the watch’s two-part, enamel dial. Its glossy white surface contrasts handsomely with the dark-grey printed Arabic numerals and minute scale. Rounding off this harmonious palette is its honey gold case, hands and buckle.
Price: 33,000 euros; available in a limited edition of 175.
3) Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange”
The most complicated of these three new timepieces, the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” is also the latest version of one of the brand’s most complex models. First introduced in 2017 as the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour Le Merite”, the model unites a fusee-and-chain constant-force mechanism, a tourbillon, a split-seconds chronograph and a perpetual calendar.
Unsurprisingly, the complex, manually wound calibre L133.1 has been given plenty of special finishes. Lange movements are known for their sense of depth and dimensionality, and the finishings here — including granular-textured bridges and black-rhodiumed engravings — heighten these qualities in this 684-component movement.
Another exceptional feature of this watch is its dial, which is crafted from the same honey gold as its 43mm case. The numerals, scales and logo are not applied, but are raised from the material by about 0.15mm, a relief that creates a unique three-dimensional effect. The hands of the time and calendar displays, as well as the black-rhodiumed lunar disc — complete with engraved stars — are also made from honey gold.
Price: 500,000 euros; available in a limited edition of 50.