A. Lange & Söhne is celebrating the 175th anniversary of Ferdinand Adolf Lange’s first watchmaking workshop in Glashütte the best way it knows how, with a trio of limited-edition pieces from the brand’s 1815 collection in its proprietary straw-coloured 18ct Honeygold alloy entitled ‘Homage to F.A. Lange’.
The commemorative triumvirate exemplifies the best of the Saxony manufacture, with pieces covering the traditional, technical and (most satisfyingly) high complication.
1815 Thin Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange”
The 1815 Thin Honey Gold represents the traditional; a 38mm time-only watch just 6.3mm high with a white split-level enamel dial inspired by Lange’s original pocket watches. The real trick of the 1815 Thin Honeygold is in appearing simple while it is in fact anything but. For instance, split-level enamel dials are a precarious proposition for their artisan creators and many times more difficult to achieve than flat enamel, they are after all drilling into incredibly thin glass while the 3Hz L093.1 manually wound manufacture movement is just 2.9mm high but is comprised of 163 components and manages an impressive 72-hour power reserve.
This special edition (indeed all of the Homage watches) features a granular finish, black rhodium engraved text and hand-engraved balance cock.
Ref: 239.050 | Case/dial: 38mm diameter x 6.3mm height, 18k Honeygold | Movement: Calibre L093.1, manual wind, 21 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 72h | Functions: Hours, minutes | Strap: Alligator brown leather | Price: €33,000 EUR, limited to 175 pieces, more details at A. Lange & Söhne’s website.
1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange”
Next up is Lange’s first pure Rattrapante chronograph, the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold. Of course, while the brand has more expertise than most with split-second chronographs having now produced six (not to mention the Double Split and Triple Split), they have always been paired with other complications.
Now Lange puts the Rattrapante front and centre using a black dial (solid silver underneath) with high-contrast Honeygold indices for timekeeping functions and hour, minute and small seconds hands. The central chronograph seconds hand is picked out in pink gold while the Rattrapante hand beneath it is Rhodium-plated steel and the whole thing framed by a 41.2mm Honeygold case.
As you might expect a Lange Rattrapante movement is a fairly spectacular-looking thing and the new 3Hz manually-wound L101.2 movement in this ‘Homage to F.A. Lange’ garb doesn’t disappoint.
Ref: 425.050 | Case/dial: 41.2mm diameter x 12.6mm height, 18k Honeygold | Movement: Calibre L101.2, manual wind, 36 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 58h | Functions: Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, rattrapante chronograph with 30-minute counter | Strap: Alligator brown leather | Price: €130,000 EUR, limited to 100 pieces, more details at A. Lange & Söhne’s website.
Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange”
Last but certainly not least is the outrageous Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold which not only includes a tourbillon, column wheel Rattrapante chronograph and perpetual calendar but also a fusée and chain constant force mechanism. Lange would no doubt be within their rights to call this a grand complication, were it not for their range-topping model that already occupies that name.
As you might expect at this level of haute horlogerie, the finissage is something else. The tourbillon is set between two diamond endstones while the dial represents a completely new approach from Lange, not using applique indices but instead engraving (almost certainly laser engraving) the solid 18ct Honeygold dial plate to leave them proud of the surface by 0.15mm.
The L133.1 calibre is made up of 684 components (the chain being classed as a single piece but contains an additional 636 component) and as such is 10.9mm high before being cased. The watch itself measures 43mm in diameter and 16.6mm high, which for something this complicated is fairly restrained.
Ref: 706.050 | Case/dial: 43mm diameter x 16.6mm height, 18k Honeygold | Movement: Calibre L133.1, manual wind, 52 jewels | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 36h | Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon, chronograph with rattrapante function, perpetual calendar with date, day, month, leap year, moon-phase | Strap: Alligator brown leather | Price: €500,000 EUR, limited to 50 pieces, more details at A. Lange & Söhne’s website.