- One of the most renowned German luxury watch brands
- More than 40 in-house calibers
- Richly decorated movements with swan-neck fine adjustment and engravings
- Cases made exclusively of precious metals
- Characteristic patented outsize date display
A. Lange & Söhne: Traditional Watchmakers from Glashütte, Germany
The luxury watch manufacturer A. Lange & Söhne has a history reaching back over 170 years. Ferdinand Adolph Lange founded the company in 1845 to make pocket watches. They were based in the small town of Glashütte, Germany. Over the years, the master watchmaker established a watch industry in the Ore Mountains modeled after the Swiss industry. This brought wealth to the once-poor region. After the Second World War and the merging of the watch manufacturers in Glashütte into the Volkseigenen Betrieb Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe
(GUB), A. Lange & Söhne ceased to be an independent company. German reunification in 1990 gave A. Lange & Söhne the chance to reestablish themselves. Walter Lange, great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange and also a master watchmaker, founded Lange Uhren GmbH in December 1990. Four years later, the company presented their first collection consisting of four wristwatches
: the legendary Lange 1
, the Saxonia
, the Arkade, and a model featuring a tourbillon, the Pour le Mérite.
Within a few years, A. Lange & Söhne had developed into a symbol of the highest-quality German watchmaking. Their watches and in-house calibers
are on the same level as those from the Swiss companies Patek Philippe
or Vacheron Constantin
. Unlike these two brands, however, A. Lange exclusively uses precious metals like gold or platinum for their cases. There are only a few stainless steel versions of the Lange 1 from the 1990s. Since they're so rare, they can sell for over 100,000 euros at auctions. One characteristic of A. Lange & Söhne watches is the outsize date
, which was patented in 1992. This type of date display serves as a good example of A. Lange's goal to create functional timepieces. A. Lange & Söhne watches are also characterized by their blued screws, Glashütter sunburst design, a swan-neck fine adjustment
, a three-quarter plate (invented by Ferdinand Adolph Lange), and a finely engraved balance cock. Almost no other manufacturer can match A. Lange & Söhne in terms of intricately decorated in-house movements.
A watch from A. Lange & Söhne is both a sign of prestige and fine watchmaking. With a Lange watch on your wrist, you show your taste for delicate mechanics, classic designs, and high-quality German workmanship. You have five different series to choose from if you decide to join the exclusive circle of A. Lange & Söhne owners.
One of the first models available after the company's revival in 1990 was the Lange 1. In just a few years, the watch developed into a symbol of the company. The successful combination of an outsize date and an off-center dial turned this watch into an icon. A pre-owned yellow gold Lange 1 in very good condition costs around 17,000 euros, while the white gold variant costs 18,000 euros. If you want to buy a new watch, then you need to plan on spending at least 23,000 euros. If the 38.5-mm version of the Lange 1 doesn't appeal to you, you should take a look at the larger Grand Lange 1. It has a trendy, larger diameter of 40.9 mm. Pre-owned, you can buy a yellow gold Grand Lange 1 for around 22,000 euros. New, it costs around 27,000 euros.
model is also beloved. You can use the watch's chronograph function
to time intervals and events. The two subdials, together with the outsize date at 12 o'clock, create a triangle on the dial. A. Lange & Söhne presented the watch for the first time in 1999. You can buy a pre-owned platinum or rose gold version for around 37,000 euros, while new models start at 54,000 euros.
A. Lange & Söhne introduced the collection Zeitwerk
in 2009. These mechanical watches are defined by their unique feature: a mechanical numeric time display format
. The hours and minutes are displayed numerically in apertures, similar to a date display. A hand on a small dial indicates the seconds. Pre-owned Zeitwerk models in very good condition are worth around 40,000 euros. New models cost around 54,000 euros.
A. Lange & Söhne's introductory series is the Saxonia. Some pre-owned models from this series cost less than 10,000 euros; new models start around 11,000 euros. The top models from this line with an annual calendar complication and platinum case cost around 45,000 euros.
Lange 1: The Iconic A. Lange & Söhne Timepiece
After its introduction in 1994, the Lange 1 quickly became a success. Its outsize date and off-center dial make it a distinctive timepiece. Even its power reserve indicator is characteristic of the series. The watch is available with either a 38.5-mm or 40.9-mm diameter. In terms of material, you have the choice between 18-karat white, yellow, and red gold and platinum. The manual in-house caliber L121.1 powers the timepiece and has a power reserve of 72 hours thanks to its two barrels. The movement consists of 368 pieces overall, 43 of them jewel bearings. Eight of the rubies are set in circular gold chatons which are fixed with three blued screws. Even the L121.1's balance cock is finely engraved. A swan-neck fine adjustment ensures the watch runs smoothly and precisely.
If you're a fan of moon phase indicators, then you'll also find your perfect watch in this collection. If you're a frequent flyer, the Lange 1 Time Zone may be of interest. It displays the time in all 24 time zones on Earth while simultaneously displaying your home time. A ring around the dial labeled with the names of cities around the world adds a visual key to the second time zone. You can set the time zone easily at the push of a button. The manual caliber L031.1, which has a power reserve of 72 hours, powers this watch.
Highlights from the Lange 1 collection are the models featuring a tourbillon and perpetual calendar. The unusual dial design allows A. Lange & Söhne to display the perpetual calendar in a completely new way: The months are displayed on a large subsidiary ring instead of the more common subdial. Since the ring borders the watch face, it doesn't overlap with any of the subdials. This allows the classic Lange 1 design to remain the same. You can view the tourbillon through the sapphire glass case back.
A tourbillon is a mechanism that was developed by the watchmaking genius Abraham-Louis Breguet around 1795. Breguet set the escapement and swing systems in a rotating cage which makes one revolution per minute. The rotation compensates for positional deviations. This invention helped pocket watches, which were often stored vertically in vest pockets, become more precise. Today, tourbillon watches are still considered some of the most precise timepieces in existence. Furthermore, they're considered symbols of the highest quality in watchmaking. The in-house caliber L082.1 powers the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. The automatic movement's central rotor is made of platinum and gold. Thanks to the patented stop-seconds mechanism, you can set the watch to the exact second. The movement consists of 624 pieces, 76 of them jewel bearings.
- Outsize display
- Off-center main dial
- Gold or platinum case
- Models featuring perpetual calendars and tourbillons
Grand Complication: A. Lange & Söhne's Masterpiece
The Grand Complication model is the most complicated watch that A. Lange has to offer. It was presented in 2013 and with a price tag of almost 2 million euros, it's one of the most expensive watches in the world. It takes an entire year to produce just one of these watches. Among the complications the watch features are a perpetual calendar, a moon phase display, and a double chronograph (also known as a split-second or rattrapante chronograph). "Double chronograph" means the watch has two chronograph second hands which allow the watch to time two separate events with different durations. Once you start the mechanism, both hands run. By pushing a push-piece, you can stop one of the hands and measure an interval. Another special feature is the flying seconds, a second hand which makes a complete rotation once per second. Its path is divided into segments so you can measure 1/5ths of a second.
The watch features yet another technical highlight. The Grand Complication has a Grande Sonnerie, an independent chiming complication. It chimes on the hour and quarter hour automatically, unlike minute repeaters, which function manually. The Grand Complication also has a minute repeater. To date, A. Lange & Söhne have only produced six of these watches.
- One of the most expensive wristwatches in the world
- Production requires a full year; only six copies of the watch exist worldwide
- Complications: Perpetual calendar, double chronograph with flying seconds, minute repeater, Grande Sonnerie, and moon phase indicator
The History of A. Lange & Söhne
Ferdinand Adolph Lange was born in 1815 in Dresden, Germany. At the age of 15, he started a watchmaking apprenticeship with master watchmaker Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. Gutkaes served as the royal court watchmaker from 1842 to 1845 in Dresden. After his apprenticeship, Lange spent some years traveling through Europe to learn from the best watchmakers, eventually ending up in Paris. He returned to Dresden in 1841, where he completed the famous Five-Minute Clock in the Semper Opera House together with Gutkaes. The clock had a numeric display and was legible from all seats.
The Russian Czar Alexander II belonged to Ferdinand Adolph Lange's exclusive clientele. The czar was so enthusiastic about Lange's pocket watches that he gifted Lange a diamond scarf pin. Lange was flattered and had a photograph taken of himself with the gift to send to the czar.
Lange founded his pocket watch company in 1845 in Glashütte, Germany, a town about 12 miles south of Dresden. The small town grew prosperous at the beginning of the 19th century thanks to the discovery of silver ore deposits. After the ore was all mined, there wasn't much work left for the people in the region. Therefore, the government called on businesses to come and settle in the area. Lange proposed to establish a watchmaking industry in the Ore Mountains similar to the Swiss watchmaking industry. He sought to hire 15 former miners and basket makers and train them as watchmakers. After training, they could work independently as suppliers; this method had been used in the Swiss Vallée de Joux and had worked well. The government selected Glashütte as the perfect location for Lange's proposal and gave him a loan to start his business.
Lange's plan was successful: After a few years, his apprentices had founded supply companies and watchmakers were flocking to Glashütte. A watchmaking school was even founded in the town. Glashütte flourished and developed into the center of German watchmaking; only high-quality watches were produced in the region. Regular, everyday watches came from the Black Forest or Switzerland at this time. Thanks to Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the founder of watchmaking in Glashütte, the town continues to enjoy a reputation for high-quality watchmaking to this day.