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This Lange 1 Ref. 101.035 "Darth", features the striking combination of a platinum case, black dial and white-on-black date discs, for a distinctive monochromatic appearance which has deservedly given it a cult status among collectors.
The Rebirth of A. Lange & Söhne
The name Lange has been tied to watchmaking and the Saxony area of Germany for centuries. In the 1800s, Ferdinand Aldoph Lange – which is where the “A” in A. Lange & Söhne comes from – began his watchmaking journey under the tutelage of master watchmaker, Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. Passed from father to son, the Lange name flourished, before encountering considerable obstacles during 20th century. The brand got caught up in the turmoil caused by World War One, the financial crash of 1929, World War Two and was finally placed under the rule of the Soviet Union. The company was nationalised for the next 45 years, essentially spelling the end of the A. Lange & Söhne name.
Years later, in 1990, the brand was resuscitated by the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, Walter, and watch industry veteran, Günter Blümlein. Blümlein, a Nuremberg native who grew up in post-War Germany, had previously overseen the resurgence of IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. This started the four-year journey that Lange and Blümlein would go on with their small team to bring the company back from the ashes, with the release of their first four models on the 24th October 1994. The brand released four innovative models, all of the with their own distinctive visual language, the Arkade, Saxonia, Tourbillon Pour le Mérite and the Lange 1.
The "Darth" Lange 1
For many, the Lange 1 is the quintessential A. Lange & Söhne watch, and by extension the purest form of German design in watchmaking. Believed to have been produced exclusively between 1999 and 2006, the reference 101.035 has been nicknamed the "Darth" by collectors, on account of its platinum case, black dial and white-on-black date discs. It achieves a distinctive monochromatic appearance which has deservedly attained a cult status among collectors.
The decentralised arrangement of the displays on the dial is characteristic, with the centers of the displays designed to form the corners of an isosceles triangle. The masterful use of empty space, with none of the displays overlapping, creates an overall sense of balance and refinement. In keeping with this classic styling, the watch features a crisp black dial and faceted hands. The oversized date disc, a signature design from the brand, is displayed at the top right corner of the dial, inspired from the Five-Minute Clockat Semper Opera House in Dresden. At 3 o’clock, the power reserve is indicated in German, a reminder of the manufacture’s origins.
The two subsidiary dials, with the indication for the hours, minutes and seconds, have a slightly lighter tone and iridescent finish. The rest of the dial features a dark, matte finish, providing a subtle contrast with the lightly recessed subdials. To complete the monochromatic appearance, this Lange 1 features unusual white-on-black date discs. Being an earlier piece from the German watchmaker, it is housed in a classically sized 38.5mm platinum case, similar to the original Lange 1.
The aesthetics of the movement are just as impressive as the mechanics, with chamfering and interior angles superbly hand-finished. Moreover, it features an artistic flourish, a balance-cock engraved by one of Lange’s master engravers. In fact, it is said that each individual watchmaker's unique engraving style can be identified as a result. The bridges and plates are made from German silver, an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc, with a warm silver tone that will develop a subtle patina over time. The use of this metal, along with the hand-engraved balance cock is a signature of A. Lange & Söhne.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 houses a manual-winding calibre L901.0, with a 72-hour power reserve. The movement is comprised of 398 components, of which 54 are jewels and five screwed gold chatons – the latter of which are a mark of Lange’s traditionally German movement. The watch has a lever escapement and the balance beats at 21,600 A/h.
This A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1ref. 101.035 comes on our grey grained leather Tokyostrap, as well as its original black alligator strap and corresponding platinum tang buckle. It is also accompanied by its original leather box, leather document folder, instruction manual and International Guarantee.
A. Lange & Söhne
Lange 1 Ref. 101.035 "Darth"
mechanical manual-winding cal. L901.0
panorama date, hours, minutes, sub-seconds, power reserve indicator
black dial, display back
38.5 mm platinum
sapphire front and back
grey grained leather Tokyostrap, original black alligator strap, platinum tang buckle
original leather box, leather document folder, instruction manual and International Guarantee
This A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 ref. 101.035 is in very good condition overall, with superficial marks throughout consistent with wear over time. The marks are most visible on the bezel (at 12 and 3 o'clock specifically) and on both sides of the lugs, consistent with the areas most exposed when the watch is worn. Recently tested, the timekeeping and all the functions functions are working well. The watch is guaranteed for authenticity and comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man.
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