I have always been a big fan of Lange & Sohne, interviewing a previous CEO was one of my first professional watch jobs, so they will always have a special place in my heart. In 2012 our favorite German watch brand is making the most of its Saxony roots with artisan skills going back to the 12th Century.
The Grande Lange 1
There are three new watches for this year; since the reformation of Lange & Sohne in 1994 the Lange 1 has been the lynchpin of the company, therefore making any change was going to be a risk.
To retain the key elements of pure elegance of the Grand Lange 1 while at the same time freshening up the overall look required a new movement – the L095.1. This enables the thickness to be reduced to 8mm down from the 11mm of the original. One big internal change is that the twin barrel has been removed and replaced by a single thinner mainspring. The new dial has a larger date window and no overlap of sub-dials results in a clean, open look.
Available in yellow and red gold at 31,000 euros (approx. US$39,600) and platinum for 47,000 euros (approx US$60,000).
The Lange 1 Tourbillon
Next up is the Lange 1 Tourbillon which brings together a series of different complications to create the most sophisticated Lange 1 to date. The most immediate difference between this and almost every other similar watch is that you can’t see the complexity from the front, only the back. This keeps the dial clear for the perpetual calendar; retrograde day at 9 o’clock, moon phase and seconds at seven o’clock, and the leap year indicator at six o’clock. The month ring and all of the calendar elements have to move simultaneously and this requires a lot of power. This is provided by a power reserve that builds up over the course of the month to be released at the stroke of midnight.
On this watch the main sub-dial is on the right indicating an underlying automatic movement, the L082.1.
Available for 240,000 euros (approx. US$307,000) for pink gold and platinum 270,000 euros (approx. US$345,000).
There are have been many column inches about the new Datograph (including our brief spiel here) but the chance to see one up close is a rare treat. The Datograph Flyback is one of the most beautiful chronograph movements ever made, slightly bigger than previous models at 41mm and 13mm thick, with the bigger indicators as before. An interesting addition is a new power reserve at the six o’clock position, subtle but a welcome addition.
Available for 69,000 euros (approx. US$88,000).
The Final Word
A strong showing from Lange & Sohne this year, the proportions and finish have been sharpened up, and the whole is much improved, an excellent 2012 selection.
For more information please visit www.alange-soehne.com.