Sparkles might pose a problem to gentlemen when it comes to watches. Luckily, in watchmaking, there are sparkles, and then there are sparkles. Unlike the flashy radiant light emitted by a gargantuan diamond on a Jacob & Co. watch, for example, the sparkling dial of the Saxonia Thin emits a gentle, refined shimmer produced by the black aventurine glass covering the dial. The very essence of a dress watch, the Saxonia Thin Black Gold Flux, is the black-tie version of this refined family and made its gallant debut last December 2020.
Looking at this watch is like lying down in a remote field – miles from any source of light pollution – and looking up at the night sky. It is simply magical, a sliver of our beautiful cosmos encapsulated on your wrist.
A dressy dress watch
The Saxonia Thin is A. Lange & Söhne’s slimmest and most basic watch, the brand’s take on the classic dress watch. Following the conservative principles of the dress watch category, the ultra-slim Saxonia Thin offers just the hours and minutes without the intrusion of a date window or a seconds hand. Since its debut in 2011, the Saxonia Thin has appeared in case sizes of 37mm, 39mm and 40mm. This model comes in the largest 40mm case size but shares the same lean 6.2mm height as the 39mm model. Perhaps a wee bit on the large side for the strictest watch purists, the smart black dial attenuates its size somewhat.
The 18k white gold case is as discreet and understated as they come with polished surfaces and a brushed caseband. The short cambered lugs ensure a comfortable fit, and the narrow bezel offers as much space as possible to the star-shot dial.
Starry, starry night
Officially referred to as black gold flux by the brand, the material used to create the sparkly mysterious dial is also known as aventurine glass and goldstone. Although the dates of its origin vary somewhat, aventurine glass, with its sparkling spangles, was probably developed in Murano, Venice, at the beginning of the 17th century. Although legend has it that the discovery happened ‘all’avventura’ or by chance, the recipe involved adding metal oxides like copper, tin and iron to a hot glass mixture causing the particles to crystallise as the glass cooled down. In 2018, Lange ventured into the alchemic realm of aventurine and released the Saxonia Thin model with a blue flux dial in a 39mm white gold case.
For the dial of this Saxonia Thin model, Lange opted for black aventurine with copper coloured particles. Looking closely at the dial, you’ll notice how some flecks shine brighter than others. Flashes of bright white, dark blue, turquoise, purple, pink and coppery red colours, all in different shapes and sizes, add a cosmic sensation of infinity. Although Lange has not been very precise about how the aventurine was incorporated on the dial, the effect is stunning. Some reviews refer to glass sheets cut to size and polished, others to treating aventurine like enamel and applying layer after layer of powder before putting in the kiln, while others are convinced that Lange poured the molten glass directly onto the solid silver dial. I am inclined to believe in the last theory that would support Lange’s short description of how the black gold flux was transferred to the dial: “To attain a homogenous surface, it must be cast onto the silver dial with extreme caution.”
The applied white gold baton hour markers and the slender hour and minute hands (also gold but rhodium-plated) retain the characteristic minimalism of the Saxonia Thin family and do nothing to hamper the spectacular scenery.
Beautiful and thin movement
The simple hour and date functions of the Saxonia Thin do not translate into a simple movement. Beneath the sapphire glass caseback is Lange’s thinnest manual-winding calibre L093.1. Measuring 28mm in diameter with a svelte height of just 2.9mm, this 167-part movement might be slim, but it has a surprisingly generous power reserve of 72 hours/ 3 days. As with all Lange movements, it is assembled twice and manually finished to the brand’s exacting standards. The German silver three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbing occupies much of the movement with integrated ratchet and crown wheels decorated with spiralling sunray finishings. Other hallmark details are the chamfered and polished edges of the three-quarter plate, the whiplash spring, the slots of the blue screws, and the hand-engraved balance cock.
In my eyes, the Saxonia Thin is the pinnacle of a dress watch. It is slim, it is classy, it is understated, it is elegant, it is soothingly serene, but it has something that most traditional dress watches do not: magic. I would never tire of looking at the mysterious spangles of light that are so evocative of deep space. For those of us who can’t afford a seat on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Orbit rocket-powered vehicle for a joy ride in the deep dark yonder, there’s always the comfort and safety of enjoying the cosmos on your wrist.
Availability & Price
A shiny black leather strap accompanies the Saxonia Thin Black Gold Flux with an 18k white gold prong buckle. It is a Special Boutique Edition and limited to 50 watches. The retail price is EUR 24,500 (incl. tax).
More information at A. Lange & Söhne.