As we anticipated, the tenth and final “25th Anniversary” Lange 1 watch is a spectacular one-minute tourbillon. First introduced in the Lange 1 watch family in 2000, the Lange 1 Tourbillon was the world’s first wristwatch combining a tourbillon, an outsize date, a three-day movement and power-reserve indicator. Revisited by A. Lange & Söhne in 2014 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Lange 1 in a very spectacular platinum edition with a black enamel dial, this tenth and final 25th anniversary model is decked out in a 38.5mm white gold case with a silver dial with blue trimmings, the same material and colour combination as the other nine celebratory Lange 1 models of 2019.
How the Lange 1 met the tourbillon
Dresden, 24 October 1994 has become a landmark date in watchmaking history marking the return of A. Lange & Söhne after a 40-year plus hiatus imposed by the destiny of East Germany following WWII. Emboldened by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, Walter Lange set out to rekindle his great-grandfather’s watchmaking legacy. Four models were presented in 1994 to mark the launch of the resurrection of A. Lange & Söhne. The Lange 1 with its outsize date and harmonious off-centred dial layout is probably the best-known face of the brand but there was also a very sophisticated tourbillon model in the inaugural line-up. The Tourbillon ‘Pour le Mérite’ proved that Lange was intent on putting ALS back on the map of high horology and combined a one-minute tourbillon with a fusée-and-chain transmission.
In 2000, the classic Lange 1 was enhanced with a tourbillon becoming the world’s first watch to combine the gravity-defying complication, an outsize date and a 3-day power reserve and corresponding indicator. A few years later, the tourbillon was upgraded with a stop-seconds mechanism that could instantaneously stop the balance from spinning inside the rotating tourbillon cage. The challenge of the Lange 1 Tourbillon was how to combine all these disparate elements while maintaining the idiosyncratic visual identity of the Lange 1.
Reconciling the elements
Even with a tourbillon onboard, the face of the Lange 1 retains its identity with the outsized date window at 2 o’clock, the off-centred hours and minutes on the left, the AB/AUF power reserve indicator on the right and the tourbillon perched in a large aperture where the small seconds usually reside. As you can see, the tourbillon aperture is larger than the one featured on the Handwerkskunst 20th anniversary and almost forms a complete circle. A more generous view, the circular aperture also reveals part of the sapphire disc bearing the units of the date window, picked out in blue for the occasion.
The one-minute tourbillon is suspended between two diamond end-stones (you can see the second diamond on the reverse) and the steel tourbillon cock gleams like a mirror thanks to the black polishing of its surface. Like all the other “25th Anniversary” models, the trimmings on the solid silver argenté dial are blue with blued-steel hands and blue Roman numerals and markers, blue inscriptions as well as blue decimal and units for the date. The small red triangles to indicate the end of the power reserve (AB) provide a discreet touch of colour along with the rubies.
Turning the watch over reveals the classic German silver three-quarter plate decorated with Glashütte ribbing and gleaming with eight screwed gold chatons and the tourbillon cock engraved by hand with blue accents and the number ‘25’ in a mini date window to remind you of the auspicious occasion. The finishes are on a par with Lange’s impeccable reputation with hand-bevelled angles, perlage, screwed gold chatons and blued screws.
The in-house manual-winding movement – calibre L961.4 – is composed of 381 parts, and has a robust power reserve of 72 hours. The balance spring is manufactured in-house with a frequency of 21,600vph and the screw balance is shock-resistant. The movement also features the 2008 patented Lange stop-seconds mechanism that immobilises the balance wheel inside the rotating tourbillon cage, a sophisticated precision time-setting feature.
Availability and price
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon “25th Anniversary” is a limited edition of 25 watches and comes with a blue alligator leather strap with grey stitching and a white gold deployant buckle. The retail price is EUR 165,000. More information at alange-soehne.com.
The round-up of the ten Lange 1 “25th Anniversary” Editions is: Lange 1, Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase, Little Lange 1, Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, Lange 1 Time Zone, Lange 1 Moon Phase, Grand Lange 1, Lange 1 Daymatic, Little Lange 1 Moon Phase and the Lange 1 Tourbillon.