Here is a rare watch from favorite German luxury watch maker A. Lange & Sohne. If you can take yourself back to the bubble building times of the year 2000, you’ll recall just how sexy the idea of a tourbillon watch was. This was before a “mere tourbillon” was not enough, and when the complication was gaining steam as the haute mechanical wonder to wear. At this time most consumers still had no idea what the odd, but cool looking complication was. Later most consumers finally learned that the complication was in fact cool to look at, but of questionable value from utilitarian perspective. But who cares really, you don’t get a $100,000 watch for utilitarian purposes.
2000 to 2003 saw the production of this mini-era defining watch. It took the Lange 1 watch design that really brought A. Lange & Sohne into the modern era and put a tourbillon in it. The area on the dial normally reserved for the subsidiary seconds dial, was now used for a partially open dial showing the tourbillon and the bridge holding it which maybe me referred to as a balance cock, but I can’t use that term without giggling). Lange then places another smaller subsidiary seconds dial in the hour and minute dial. The Lange 1 was a pretty controversial in design initially, but is undoubtedly now a modern classic. You can learn a bit more about the watch at A. Lange & Sohne here.
The Lange 1 Tourbillon was actually released on the 100th anniversary of Emil Lange’s release of his tourbillon pocket watch in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century. Dates and anniversaries are important to watch companies, but it does help put into perspective how nicely stable the watch industry has been… even over decades or centuries. The Lange 1 Tourbillon was produced in a limited edition of 250 pieces in 18k rose gold, and 150 pieces in platinum. The watches are pretty hard to find. In 2006, one of these watches in rose gold sold for about $94,000 at auction – just a few years after the watch was sold. Interestingly that was was not even in what I would consider mint condition. One of these watches is available on James List for about $130,000. I don’t specifically know the condition of the watch, but the price should be negotiable. At the very least, the watch almost epitomizes the authentic luxury end of the spectrum, of the watches that came out during this era. It was a thin golden age of watch making excess, that may not come back again in such a force for decades.