The German watch brand A. Lange & Söhne has played an important role in my watch-collecting (and blogging) life. I admired the brand, and as I got to know them, and their watches, even better, my admiration only grew stronger. I guess that most serious collectors will say the same about the brand. Since we’re celebrating Monochrome’s tenth anniversary this year, it’s also a good moment to look back at some important moments. Moments that have defined me as a collector, and moments that have played a pivotal role for Monochrome. Lange was present in a major way at two of these important moments, and inspired this two-part story. Today I’m gonna look back at a weekend when I got extensive hands-on time (and I’m not talking about the few minutes to try a watch at the local authorised retailer) with watches from this German brand, and next week I’ll look back at a magnificent weekend I got to spend with them at Lake Como in Northern Italy.
I guess, for frequent readers, it won’t come as a surprise when I say that I think A. Lange & Söhne is the apex of today’s watch industry, or at least of all big brands. It’s a matter of quality, style, and uniqueness. A. Lange & Söhne have cemented their position as absolute top-tier watch brand over the past two decades and they have shown an unparalleled dedication to perfection. Lange isn’t part of the much famed Holy Trinity – Patek, Vacheron and AP – and I personally think that should change. Why? Because they are that good. The beginning of my real understanding of what makes a Lange was nine years ago. It was during a weekend, back in 2007, when a bunch of watch collectors gathered in the beautiful and historic town of Maastricht, in the far south of the Netherlands. We had one simple goal, and that was to share our passion for fine watches. And of course, while doing exactly that, we also enjoyed superb food, great wines, and camaraderie.
Several attendants owned one (or more) Lange & Söhne watches, and brought them for the weekend, for everyone to enjoy. For me that was when I got a good understanding and feeling, of what this brand stands for. It made a lasting impression, and my admiration for the brand has only increased over these past nine years. The first Lange that I handled for longer than the ubiquitous few minutes at the local retailer, was the Lange 1 Timezone that was made in a limited edition for the authorised Lange & Söhne dealer, Leon Martens, who’s store is in Maastricht.
At the time, Leon Martens celebrated their 100th anniversary, and for the occasion Lange agreed to make a limited edition of the Lange 1 Timezone that mentioned Maastricht as reference city for the GMT+1 time zone. Usually that is Berlin. And on the pièce unique that the owner of Best Car of Show at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este gets, it reads “Como” instead of Berlin, but more about that next week. Today we’re going to look at photos of the last available Lange 1 Timezone Limited Edition for Leon Martens and a ‘normal’ white gold Lange 1 Timezone.
Another thing that frequent readers of Monochrome will certainly notice is my affection for worldtimers and watches with a second time zone. The Lange 1 Timezone is the sportier, younger, a bit larger and a bit less classic, version of the Lange 1. When it comes to practicality this watch distinguishes itself as a perfect business traveler’s watch. This isn’t the piece you will wear for that vacation in the Maldives when you go deep sea diving. This is the piece that you will wear when traveling from one time zone to another for business purposes. It will not catch too much attention like some watches/brands do, however you will get praise from those in the know.
During the weekend in Maastricht (you can see a brief report here) we got to see and handle so many watches. We got to talk to fellow enthusiasts, each and everyone with their own preferences, and with their own level of expertise. There was a representative of a brand, a part of the weekend was hosted by a retailer (aforementioned Leon Martens) and non-other than Mr. Roger Smith joined us for the entire weekend! This weekend ignited the watch passion even more, and it was pivotal for running Monochrome (it costs a LOT of time I can assure you, so a certain level of dedication is necessary).
As an aspiring collector this weekend was like a dream come true, and it was also superb for getting a proper feel of various ‘levels’ of watches. I say this because when you’re new to watches, you see and hear and read so many messages. And of course many brands have a very strong marketing machine that certainly colours your view on their watches. Slowly but gradually you will learn more, and be able to know the difference between facts and (marketing) fables. A lot of hands-on experience helps, meeting fellow collectors certainly helps, and discussing further via email or in a forum is also very helpful. However not every aspiring collector can or wants to spend many hours on this learning quest, so good and reliable sources of information are of the essence. That’s what we here at Monochrome are trying to provide you with, and I hope it will help. You can subscribe to our newsletter (in the right side column) and receive your daily dose of watches. It might also help.
For now, one last glance at that lovely Lange 1 Timezone limited edition…. Until next week.