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A very early example
One of the first watches released by A. Lange & Söhne following the resuscitation of the brand, the Lange 1 has become a modern icon. With a serial number of 1000XX, this example is one of the first 30 Lange 1 pieces to have left the manufacture, with supposedly only 135 “first generation” watches made in the first year of production. It is understood that the watch bearing the serial number 101001 belonged to Walter Lange.
Unsurprisingly, the piece has established many of the series’ design cues – the decentralised arrangement of the displays on the dial is characteristic, with the centres 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.
The solid caseback
The first Lange 1 pieces were produced with solid casebacks, as it wasn’t the norm to openly display movements at the time. It is understood that the solid caseback can be found on watches produced between 1994 and 1997, before A. Lange & Söhne fully transitioned to sapphire casebacks, following requests from clients who wanted to admire the finely finished movements. Representing the very first iteration of the Lange 1, these early pieces combine rarity, historical significance, and intrigue.
Exhibiting an aesthetic that is undeniably Lange, an oversized “outer” aperture is displayed at the top right corner of the dial, inspired by the Five-Minute Clock at Semper Opera House in Dresden. At three o’clock, the power reserve is indicated in German, a reminder of the manufacture’s origins. The two lightly recessed subsidiary dials are a silvered colour compared to the rest of the white dial, with the indication for the hours, minutes, and seconds. These are decorated with a satin-brushed finishing, allowing for a soft sheen when light is angled towards the face. The dial features several details – most notably the modestly sized “Made in Germany” signature – which distinguish it as an early Lange 1 dial. Meanwhile, the hands are all rendered in a polished yellow gold, complementing the case.
This Ref. 101.001 is powered by the calibre L901.0, based on a Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 822 gear train that Günter Blümlein brought over. The aesthetics of the movement are just as impressive as the mechanics, with the 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. One of the many things that helped to cement this movement as German, not Swiss, was the use of untreated German silver. This metal not only gave the movements a unique shine, but over time they can start to develop a much richer hue that is distinct to the brand.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 101.001 | Yellow Gold will be subject to 20% VAT.