To me, one of the true marks of a great watch manufacturer is the ability to make interesting and desirable timepieces across a range of price points. Unfortunately, few brands seem to be able to achieve this with any consistency. There are exceptions of course, and A. Lange & Söhne is most certainly one of them. Proving my point is the new Saxonia Outsize Date, which was officially launched last month at SIHH 2018. We managed to spend a bit of hands-on time with the watch and can confirm it is as nice on the wrist as it looks in the photos.
We’ve already written about the technical details of the Saxonia Outsize Date in an earlier article, which you can read here. We’ll cover some of those details again briefly, but the main focus of this hands-on article is to give you an idea of what the watch is actually like in the metal. In terms of positioning, this watch is somewhat reminiscent of the Langematik Sax-O-Mat with Date, which existed in the Saxonia collection before the range was revamped in 2015. This new model sits perfectly in-between the Saxonia Automatic and the Saxonia MoonPhase.
Presented in a very comfortably sized (38.5mm x 9.6mm) round case, the Saxonia Outsize Date is offered in your choice of either white or pink gold, with the beautifully polished bezel contrasting nicely against the brushed case band. My personal favourite of the two is the white gold version. I just love the combination of white gold with the black galvanised solid-silver dial, the richness of which is difficult to capture in photos. It makes for a strong statement piece on the wrist – without being too ostentatious – and is exceptionally easy to read at a glance.
The layout of the dial is very balanced and symmetrical and is really quite pleasing to the eye despite its apparent simplicity. Hours and minutes are displayed centrally by solid gold hands and the applied indices are crafted from the same metal as the case. Small seconds are shown on a relatively large sub-dial at six o’clock, which takes up most of the bottom half of the case. If you look closely you’ll notice the Arabic numerals are in the same font as the date display and the sub-dial is snailed to provide a little bit of contrast.
Below 12 o’clock, we find the main attraction: the outsize date window complete with jumping date display. First appearing on the original Lange 1 in 1994 (one of the cornerstone models of the brand), it has since become closely associated with A. Lange & Söhne. Unlike the Lange 1, however, where the date is normally placed off-centre, here the date has been placed centrally, reinforcing the Saxonia collection’s reputation for symmetry.
The symmetry gives much more emphasis to the date display and it is the first thing your eyes are drawn to when you look at the watch. This is amplified even further by the polished, golden frame surrounding the date and I really can’t emphasise enough how good it looks with the black discs and white numerals. It just adds that extra touch of suave sophistication and gives the Saxonia Outsize Date a very modern look. At 10 o’clock there is a pusher for rapid correction of the date.
Behind the dark black dial beats the new self-winding calibre L086.8, a variation of the calibre L086.1 used by the Saxonia range since 2011. Visible through the sapphire crystal case back, it is constructed from 286 parts and features 40 jewels. A single mainspring barrel is wound by a large central rotor with an outer centrifugal mass in platinum and offers a maximum power reserve of 72 hours. The real highlight, of course, is the classic three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, which features a manually engraved balance cock.
Available from June 2018, pricing on the new A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Outsize Date is set at EUR 24,500 in white or pink gold. Both models come on a black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap with a prong buckle in the metal matching the case. More details on www.alange-soehne.com.