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 the 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 of 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 Ref. 101.033
One of the first watches released by A. Lange & Söhne following the resuscitation of the brand, the Lange 1 has become a modern icon in its own right. 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.
While the piece displays much of the Lange 1’s classic styling, it distinguishes itself with a rose gold case and slate dial. Exhibiting an aesthetic that is undeniably Lange, an oversized ‘outside’ aperture is displayed at the top right corner of the dial, inspired from the Five-Minute Clock at Semper Opera House in Dresden. At 3 o’clock, the power reserve is indicated in German, a reminder of the manufacture’s origins.
It is understood that this reference 101.033 was produced between 2003 and 2010, and combines a rare dark grey dial with a vintage-styled rose gold case. The hands and applied index markers of the dial are rendered in rose gold as well, with the same metal framing the date aperture. This unusual dial can also be found in the sister reference 101.030, which features a white gold case.
The two lightly recessed subsidiary dials, with the indication for the hours, minutes and seconds, have an engine-turned concentric circles pattern. These sub-dials are a similar dark matte-grey tone to the rest of the dial, which provides some contrast with its satin-brushed finishing.
This Ref. 101.033 is powered by the calibre L901.0. based on a Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 822 gear train that Günter Blümlein brought over. 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.
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. One of the many things that helped to cement this movement as a German, and not a Swiss one, 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 – when viewed through the sapphire caseback, we see that the movement of this Ref. 101.033 is beginning to age very attractively.
This Lange 1 Ref. 101.033 was recently serviced by A. Lange & Söhne, when the movement received a complete service, the case was refurbished, new crystals where fitted to the front and back and a new crown and crown tube were put in place. The watch was only unsealed for the purpose of photography, and remains untouched and unworn since. It is accompanied by it servicing paperwork, dated from October 2021.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Lange 1 Ref. 101.033 will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.