A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews
As Old Ben Kenobi said while bequeathing to Luke his new lightsaber, “An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age”.  Had he been handing over his old man’s wristwatch instead of a futures-past laser sword, a single word need only have been changed to properly describe it.  That is, of course, if the timepiece he was handing down was the incredible A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calender with Moonphase in Platinum.

Alas, young Luke got a lightsaber and not a wristwatch – but I did.  Thanks to our friends at Lange, I was fortunate to spend some time with this German timepiece over the past week.  And while I didn’t lose it (along with my hand) in a brawl with Darth Vader, I did have to give it back.  I think that was nearly as painful.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Let’s get this out of the way immediately - the Saxonia is, in short, a masterpiece of modern-classical German wristwatch design.  Complementing the existing Saxonia collection is this all-new for 2013 Annual Calendar cased in platinum, released at SIHH this past January.  The timepiece has been available in white and rose gold since 2010.

Personally, I am thrilled that precious metals are making a definitive return as casing materials in fine wristwatches.  As much a fan as I am of steel sports watches, I’ve had my share over the past decade.  It is refreshing to see exquisite timepieces with manufacture movements gussied up properly.  I am a big fan of rose gold in particular, but I take issue with white gold, which proves to be incredibly soft and easily damaged.  Keeping with the coloring of a polished steel watch, platinum offers an excellent alternative to white gold – and has the added benefit of increased durability.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The round case of the Saxonia measures in at 38.5mm wide by 9.8mm thick, making it a great size for an understated dress piece.  The lug design is exquisite – thick and solid, a combination of rounded elements and squared off ends come together in a way only the Germans could pull off.  This makes it a comfortable and wearable piece for just about any wrist size.

As with the bulk of Lange’s line, the case back of the Saxonia Annual Calendar is fitted with a sapphire display back highlighting the intricate movement.  Comprised of nearly 500 individual parts and 43 jewels, the manufacture movement utilizes an 18k solid gold bidirectional rotor with lever escapement to power the Annual Calendar complications.  The movement, Lange Reference L.0851, has a power reserve of nearly 46 hours.  Furthermore, Lange includes their patented zero reset mechanism as a component of the movement.  When the crown is pulled out, the movement stops, and a series of levers automatically resets the second hand to zero, allowing for precise setting.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

My typical distaste for display backs doesn’t factor in here – partially because the movement is so beautifully decorated and adorned, but primarily because the movement fits the case precisely.  So many movements – even high end manufactures – fit small movements in oversize cases, but not so with the Saxonia.  This is clearly a timepiece built to fit around the movement, and I could watch that Nivarox balance spring do its dance all day.

From a dial standpoint, Lange uses a familiar layout with three subsidiary registers – a monthly calendar at 3, day at 9, and sub-second & moonphase display at 6.  Date readout sits directly below 12, with twin windows for the outsize date in traditional Lange fashion.  Each of these registers is adjustable from micropushers located at 4, 8, 9, and 10.  The dial plate itself is silver tone, which comes alive under the antireflective coating, bathing the dial with a slightly bluish hue in direct light.  The hands are polished steel except for the subsidiary seconds register, which is blued, complementing the dial palette brilliantly.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Wearing the Saxonia is a quite simply a joy. Its size and height are minimal, svelte, and comfortable.  It fits under shirt cuffs and complements both formal and casual attire with its dial coloring and simple black leather strap.  But it's not a watch that you’ll forget you’re wearing – the platinum adds serious heft for a watch this size, and the piece weighs in at 114g (compare that to a steel 42mm IWC Portuguese Automatic, which weighs about 95g).

If I had to direct any criticism towards the piece – and I’m nitpicking here – it would be only that the “Lange” engraving on the Platinum buckle is a bit gaudy on a timepiece that is otherwise so elegant in construction and design.  Of course the same engraving is used across the Lange line, and doesn’t seem so out of place on their larger, sportier timepieces.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Annual Calendar Platinum Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Again, the Saxonia in platinum is an incredible wristwatch with a beautiful movement, and I would likely go out of my way to find excuses to wear it as often as possible if it were part of my personal collection.  Ultimately, it is a piece of art, and if you can swallow the $58,400 price tag, I’d highly recommend considering it as an alternative to the more common luxury brands.

My overall verdict?  An elegant timepiece – for a more civilized age. alange-soehne.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: A. Lange & Söhne
>Model: Saxonia Annual Calendar with Moonphase, Platinum
>Price: $58,400
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Forever and ever.
>Friend we'd recommend it to first:  Someone with excellent taste in exquisite timepieces willing to go outside the “normal” brand choices.  Who has some coin.
>Worst characteristic of watch:  Engraved buckle is a little harsh/gaudy.  Engraving doesn’t fit with the tone of the timepiece.
>Best characteristic of watch: The case design – slim wearing but heavy.  Polished and brushed elements work together brilliantly.

11 comments
Sempai G
Sempai G

Awesome timepiece and great article.  I love the star wars reference almost as much as I love the watch.

GermanWatchesLover
GermanWatchesLover

Outstanding piece ... would love to have it in my collection. The movement is just superb. But that's how it should be for a watch of this price.

Gee Z
Gee Z

A wonderful watch, excellently executed with amazing aestehtics. Given the emphasis on durability and quality, I bet it will hold its value over the years.

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

Indeed a masterpiece!

And that swans neck regulator!...seriously...to die for!

aleximd2000
aleximd2000

can you bring me the manager of lange for a momentary lapse of reason to forget one zero from the price and right then i'll buy one without geopardizing my family's finances.Otherwise I have to wait let's say 3-5 years to gather the money

Thanks

Ryan B
Ryan B

A nicely decorated movement indeed.

TimelyOne
TimelyOne

A classic design well executed.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

A stunning and elegant timepiece.  I actually like the little chromed touches around the face and don't have a problem with a big-date indicator, but then I find a date indicator generally useful.  The other stuff I could do without - i'd go for a model with a chronograph but that doesn't take away from how lovely this thing looks.  I had to look up the properties of platinum that indicate it is roughly twice as hard and twice as strong as 316L.  Pricey though - i'm wondering if they'd consider using tungsten instead if they're after durability.

Zeitblom
Zeitblom

I too welcome the return of platinum. What a pity that watchmakers charge such ridiculous prices for it that you would feel like a fool for paying that much. If some watchmaker would just charge what the metal actually costs, they would have a sensational success on their hands.

In this particular case, anyway, that date window is just as astonishingly gauche and ugly as ever. And telling you what day it is is pretty silly; telling you what *month* it is, is just ludicrous. Why don't they include a dial that reminds you which millennium we are in? I have actually come to prefer watches that don't even tell the date at all.

hypocritebuster
hypocritebuster

@Zeitblom If you don't appreciate fine watch-making, why were you here on this website taking the time to type such a lengthy complaint about how useless this Lange watch is? If you really do not understand fine watches, there is no problem that you buy a lump of gold or platinum instead, but please do not trivialize the engineering and craftsmanship by ignorantly asserting that the engineers' and craftsmen's work is worthless. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Zeitblom At some level, in an annual calendar, you need to know the month so the 30/31 day month gear is aligned properly. This could be in the back as far as that goes. 

I agree the day of the week is not that needed, but it does give the dial a nice symmetry with the month being displayed.

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