A. Lange & Söhne
"Little" Lange 1 | platinum
With a reduced case diameter of 36mm, this "Little" Lange 1 was introduced shortly after the release of the original design, targeted at collectors seeking a more modest case size. Only a small handful of these were ever made, with evidence suggesting that no more than 100 pieces were produced in this configuration.
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.
A "Little" Lange 1
Shortly after the inception of the Lange 1, the brand introduced the "Little" Lange 1, with a reduced case diameter of 36mm, down from the 38.5mm of the original. This was done following requests understood to have originally come from Japanese collectors, who appreciated the pared back asymmetrical design, but were after a more conservative case size. Considering just how influential the Asian market was at the time, A. Lange & Söhne decided to entertain this unusual request, adapting their design to this more conservative size.
Introduced in 1998, it is believed that the "Little" Lange 1 was only produced for a small handful of years. The size was then entirely discontinued, until A. Lange & Söhne brought it back a few years later, though this time with designs clearly aimed at female collectors. This version of the "Little" Lange 1 has comes to be known as "The Stealth" amongst collectors, on account of its platinum case and silver dial, which give the watch a discrete, monochromatic appearance. Evidence suggests that no more than 100 pieces were produced in this configuration, making this early version of the Lange 1 as rare as it is unusual.
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 silver dial and faceted hands. Overall, the proportions of the original Lange 1 have been subtly adapted to the smaller size of the "Little" Lange 1.
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 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. 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 matte finish, providing a subtle contrast with the lightly recessed subdials.
In order to keep the design as slender as possible, the pusher to adjust the date, usually found on the left hand side, has been replaced with a small corrector which sits flush to the case. If you turn the watch over, the movement also occupies more space relative to the larger Lange 1 designs. Whereas collectors can sometimes complain about movements looking too small relative to the size of a case, the balance between the calibre L901.0 and the 36mm case is excellent.
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 1 ref. 111.025 comes on our grey grained leather Tokyo strap, as well as its original black alligator strap and corresponding platinum tang buckle. It is also accompanied by its original outer box, leather box, instruction manual and Guarantee (confirming sale in 2001, at Pendulum Ltd. in Thailand). It also comes with A. Lange & Söhne servicing paperwork from October 2019.
|Brand:||A. Lange & Söhne|
|Model:||"Little" Lange 1 Ref. 111.025|
|Movement:||mechanical manual-winding cal. L901.0|
|Functions:||panorama date, hours, minutes, sub-seconds, power reserve indicator|
|Features:||silver dial, display back|
|Case:||36 mm platinum|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and back|
|Strap:||grey grained leather Tokyo strap, black alligator strap, platinum tang buckle|
|Box & papers:||outer box, leather box, instruction manual, guarantee, servicing paperwork (October 2019)|
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