Do we have to introduce the Lange 1 to you, dear readers? If you’re here, reading at Monochrome, you certainly don’t need us to go full details about what certainly is one of the prettiest modern horological icons. The Lange 1 and its derivatives are well-known from watch enthusiasts since 1994, and for very good reasons. This is the main reason why, when a new edition is revealed, there’s always a sort of sentimental feel at the redaction – remember that the Lange 1 was (among others) the first watch introduced when Lange came back to life. And this why we’d like to introduce to you the new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 TimeZone Dresden Edition in Honey Gold (and the one little detail that makes it quite special…)
Anecdote… Why A. Lange & Söhne watches are always set to 25?
24 October 1994 is a special date in the history of A. Lange & Söhne. It was the day on which the legendary inaugural press conference after the re-foundation of the company took place in the Dresden residential palace. At the event, company founder Walter Lange and his partner Günter Blümlein acquainted journalists and dealers with the first four timepieces of the new era, among them the LANGE 1. It was a moving moment that Walter Lange later described as follows: “The resonance was overwhelming and exceeded our loftiest expectations.” Because the daily newspapers covered the event in their next-day editions, the outsize date had been set to 25. Since then, this number has been shown on all photos of every Lange watch with an outsize date display. Today, the media and social networks spread the news in real time. So in 2016, as a concession to the digital era, the event date and the displayed date are identical, and this why this watch is launched today, October 25th, 2016.
What is the watch we have today? Well, it is based on the well-known Lange 1 TimeZone, a watch we are all familiar with, as introduced quite some time ago, in 2005. It is also a watch we have great love for here, at Monochrome-Watches, knowing the personal interest of our Editor-In-Chief Frank Geelen for both world-time watches in general and the Lange 1 specifically – something that led him to write a two-part personal story with this very same watch, however in a standard edition. Because yes, today, it’s a limited edition of the Lange 1 TimeZone that is launched, a watch that differs from the material used for the case as well as a very small detail, which however plays a huge role in the history of the brand.
What is the Lange 1 TimeZone? In short, it’s A. Lange & Söhne’s vision of the traveler’s watch, a rather special type of world-timer or dual-time watch, a sort of hybrid. You see, on the contrary of most world-time watches (see here for 3 examples), this watch doesn’t show the traditional central world map on the dial. However, you still have the city ring that help you to find the right time zone where you just landed. Why no world map, like a standard world-timer? Simply because this wouldn’t make sense on a Lange 1, which features a specific display that makes all the charm of this watch, and not classical central hands for the hours and minutes.
This Lange 1 TimeZone Dresden Edition is thus based on the Lange 1, meaning it still features the quite complex display of the model, based on the golden ratio for its construction. We have an off-centered dial for the time, a large double-aperture for the outsize date and a power reserve placed at 3. However, this TimeZone edition comes with several additional features, all practical and especially easy to use. On the periphery of the dial is a city ring, with the 24 main cities of the world (showing the 24 main time-zones). At 5, instead of a small second, there’s the subsidiary-time sub-dial, with its dedicated night-and-day indication (and a second one can be seen on the main time dial). How to use it? With the help of the the pusher at 4, you make the city ring jump to the desired city, and the subsidiary-time will automatically jump to the right time. And because of the night-and-day indication, you’ll know perfectly the time in both time-zones.
What is the evolution on this Lange 1 TimeZone Dresden Edition? First of all, the 41.9mm case is now made in honey gold, Lange’s own alloy with a subtle and quite discreet hue. Not only its colour is different, but it is also harder than other gold alloys. Then, a few details on the dial have been updated. The dots between the city names and GMT are blue instead of red. Now, the previously black peripheral ring of the second time zone has the same blue hue as well. Finally, there’s the detail to change it all. Yes, a small detail for sure, as we’re talking about a change in cities (Berlin is replaced by Dresden), however one with a lot of heritage, as it is the city where Ferdinand Adolph Lange was born and where the brand A. Lange & Söhne was brought back to life in 1994.
Inside the honey gold case of this A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 TimeZone Dresden Edition, we still find the lavishly hand-finished manufacture calibre L031.1, with its 3-day power reserve (72 hours) and nice details, such as the German silver plates and bridges, the hand-polished bevels and engraved cock-bridge. The implementation of the time-zone function goes along with an evolution of the mechanics, showed by additional wheels and a second engraved bridge over the 3/4 plate.