A. Lange & Söhne is a company that has been around since the 1800s. Ferdinand A. Lange was born in Dresden, Germany in 1815. Fifteen years later, he began an apprenticeship with Saxon clockmaker J.C.F. Gutkaes starting his career in watchmaking. In 1837, Ferdinand A. Lange moved near Paris and worked as a foreman in a prominent horological manufactory, operated by Austrian clockmaker Joseph Thaddäus Winnerl —1799-1836, a pupil of Abraham Louis Breguet. At the same time, he studied astronomy and physics at the Sorbonne in Paris and, above all, honed his horological skills with the great Parisian master clockmakers. In 1841, Ferdinand and Gutkaes crafted the famous five-minute clock for the Semper Opera House in Dresden. In 1845, with a loan from the state of Saxony, F.A. Lange moved to Glashütte where he established the cradle of German watchmaking. After the Soviet occupation of Germany and its division into West and East Germany in 1948, the company went into a long hiatus until 1990 when Walter Lange —descendant of the Lange family— reregistered the A. Lange & Söhne brand name and unveiled the first collection of the modern era in 1994.
The Saxonia Annual Calendar ref. 330.025 in Platinum presented earlier this year at the SIHH 2013 is one of the best examples of A. Lange & Söhne's watchmaking expertise. The Saxonia Annual Calendar features a beautiful platinum case measuring 38.5mm in diameter and 9.8mm in thickness. The classic look of this timepiece is completed by its solid silver rhodium dial with hours, minutes, traditional oversized double disc date aperture at 12, day of the week at 9, month at 3 and subsidiary seconds and moon phase at 6 o'clock. One great thing about this watch, is that the calendar mechanism automatically recognizes which months have 30 or 31 days. The dial is perfectly balanced and the bright blue color of the moon phase disc provides the perfect contrast and harmony. All complications are adjusted via the push pieces on the caseband and the watch features the patented zero-reset mechanism for precise time setting —when the crown is pulled out, the movement hacks and automatically resets the second hand to zero. This watch is fitted with a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides.
The beating heart inside this magnificent timepiece is the automatic A. Lange & Söhne calibre L085.1 SAX-0-MAT with three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, three-quarter rotor with centrifugal mass in platinum, 43 jewels, 476 parts and which provides a power reserve of 46 hours when fully wound. As you can appreciate in the pictures, this calibre is a work of art and perhaps one of the nicest calibres when it comes to annual calendars in the market. The blued screws and the off-centered rotor are just spectacular and a treat to the eyes. To guarantee perfect visibility of the movement, the watch case back is fitted with a sapphire crystal treated with anti-reflective material on both sides.
This fascinating and classic looking watch is fitted with a black crocodile strap with pin buckle. The claps is beautifully engraved with Lange and the strap fits on the wrist like a glove.
The watch is very solid and heavy but not in a uncomfortable way. This timepiece wears slightly bigger than its size and more like a 40mm watch on a 7-7.25" wrist. No matter what you wear this watch with, this is a piece that exudes elegance, class and savor-faire. If you are ready to play in the big leagues, this watch should be the next step on your watch collecting life. Today, some collectors like to refer to A. Lange & Söhne as the new Patek. What do you think?
Sticker Price $58,400 USD. Also available in White Gold and Rose Gold. For more info on A. Lange & Söhne click here.