The Lange 1 is the foundation watch of the Saxon brand’s renaissance. Presented on 24th October 1994, along with three other inaugural models, the Lange 1 best encapsulates the spirit of the brand. With its multiple references to the original 19th-century Lange watchmaking adventure in Dresden, its asymmetric dial and hallmark outsize date, the Lange 1 has become the most recognised face of the brand. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the icon and ALS has decided to celebrate this landmark with not one, not two, but ten-anniversary pieces! So that none of the excitement is lost, the watches are being unveiled one by one. The fifth model is the Lange 1 Time Zone, a white gold GMT watch designed for globetrotters.
The longest birthday party
Do you remember the scene in Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland when the Mad Hatter and the March Hare are singing “a very merry unbirthday to you”? The idea behind this nonsense song is that since we only have one birthday a year, the remaining 364 days of the year are all unbirthdays (365 on leap years) and should be celebrated as such. A. Lange & Söhne has really gone to town with the Lange 1 celebrations and has committed to producing 10 anniversary pieces before the 24th October 2019. To date, we have seen the classic Lange 1 dressed for the party in white gold with its engraved dust cover, the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase, the Little Lange 1, and the complicated Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. To understand the evolution of the Lange 1 over the years, don’t miss Brice’s in-depth coverage.
The watch itself is closely modelled on the existing Lange 1 Time Zone (first launched in 2005) but like all the anniversary pieces so far, the Lange 1 Time Zone wears the official birthday suit of a white gold case with a silver dial and blue markings. The white gold case measures 41.9mm in diameter and has a height of 10.9mm. The dial is made from solid silver with blue markings and blued-steel hands. There are three small indications picked out in red: the word GMT on the city ring between Azores and Berlin and the warning zone on the power reserve indicator when the watch needs winding.
One of the most useful complications, a GMT or second time-zone watch allows you to consult home and local time at a glance. The Lange 1 Time Zone is extremely easy to consult: the hours and minutes for local time are in the larger disc on the left and are set at the crown, while home time can be set in the smaller disc at 5 o’clock. Although the watch is touted as a GMT model, you might be wondering why there is a city ring on the periphery of the dial that would indicate its function as a world timer.
Since Lange is all about practicality, the function of the city ring is to simplify the setting of the time in the smaller subsidiary disc, the one usually set aside for home time or an additional time zone. An arrow at 5 o’clock on the smaller disc points to the name of one of the 24 cities representing the 25 time zones. A pusher on the case band at 8 o’clock activates the city ring AND simultaneously adjusts the time on the subsidiary disc. Every switching cycle advances the hour hand of the small subsidiary dial by one hour. But how can you tell if it’s night or day? Both time circles feature a small arrow-shaped indicator that transits in a circle with half of its circumference picked out in blue. When the arrow is in the blue area, it’s night. An ingeniously simple solution that doesn’t interfere with the aesthetics of the dial. The second pusher on the side of the case is used to correct the outsize date.
Inside the white case of this A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone 25th Anniversary is the lavishly hand-finished manual-winding manufacture calibre L031.1. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the classic untreated German silver three-quarter plate with its elegant Glashütte ribbing and the wheel train that powers the time-zone ensemble. The movement is fitted with a twin mainspring barrel for a 3-day power reserve (72 hours), it has 417 parts and a lever escapement. The finishes are in keeping with Lange’s impeccable standards. However, being an anniversary edition, the engraved balance cock is filled with blue as is the cock on the wheel train, which has also been hand-engraved and filled with blue along with the number 25. The typography and shape of the number 25 emulate the Lange outsize date.
Availability and Price
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone 25th Anniversary is a limited edition of 25 watches. A blue alligator leather strap and white gold prong buckle complete the picture. Price remains to be confirmed. For more details, www.alange-soehne.com