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Lang & Heyne Caliber I Movement Done From Extinct Mammoth Ivory

Lang & Heyne Caliber I Movement Done From Extinct Mammoth Ivory Watch Releases

I am glad to know that no living animal species was harmed in the creation of this watch. Dresden, Germany based high-end brand Lang & Heyne will produce a limited edition set of 25 Caliber I movements for its watches with bridges made from the tusks of extinct wooly mammoths. You don’t see mammoth ivory used a lot. It is rare and hard to get being available only from well-preserved mammoths. All the ivory here for example was sourced from a find in Siberia, where the permafrost can preserve entire mammoth bodies in relatively good condition. Lang & Heyne acquired some ivory through a German dealer and investigated its properties in watch making.

I firmly believe that using modern elephant ivory for anything these days is pure evil. Poaching in places such as Africa is a sin against nature, and should be prevented at all costs. The destruction of animal species on this planet for short-term profit should be much more a matter of international concern. If you see anything that isn’t an antique and uses ivory, you’d be a good person to avoid it. I needed to get that off my chest as I simply hate it when animals suffer at the expense of human greed and economic desperation. Lang & Heyne however goes a much more ethical route by using the ivory from a long dead animal. Marco Lang from the brand affirms that in his opinion using modern elephant ivory is a bad thing.

Lang & Heyne Caliber I Movement Done From Extinct Mammoth Ivory Watch Releases

The Lang & Heyne Caliber I is a traditionally designed and made manually wound mechanical movement. In this instance, mammoth ivory is used for the bridges, plates, and the hand-engraved balance cock. Notice that the balance wheel palette jewel is a diamond. There is blue color applied to the engraving mammoth balance cock to emphasize the design. According to Lange & Heyne the ivory material is more dense than wood, and is relatively easy to work with. They uses modern CNC machines to cut the material into watch parts. The more precision components in the movements are still produced in metal.

The movement is larger at 36.6mm wide and runs at a rate of 18,00bph. It has a power reserve of 46 hours and displays the time with subsidiary seconds. The Caliber 1 is available in two Lange & Heyne timepieces, but will still be only available as a total set of 25 pieces. It is a very beautiful movement and should be visible through the caseback of the watches.

Lang & Heyne Caliber I Movement Done From Extinct Mammoth Ivory Watch Releases

Lang & Heyne Caliber I Movement Done From Extinct Mammoth Ivory Watch Releases

The two watches with the Caliber I movement as an option are the Lang & Heyne Friedrich August I, and the Johann. Each of these has a 43.5mm wide case in 18k white or rose gold. The difference between the two models are the dial. Both have real enamel dials but different hands and designs. For those bold enough you should check out the highly decorated and shaped “Louis XV” hands. The hands are all in gold.


Smaller than other high-end German brands in Saxony (such as A. Lange & Sohne, and Glashutte Original), Lang & Heyne’s visual and mechanical aesthetic are similar. You can see the implementation of classic German watch ideals and decor. While these watches come with metal movements as well, the availability of a watch with a movement made mostly from the tusk of an extinct mammoth is pretty interesting. Prices for the 25 pieces will be 33,300 Euros in 18k yellow or rose gold and 34,800 Euros in 18k white gold.

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  • Kris C

    Interesting concept, but it didn’t turn out that great as a finished product – the ivory gives a plastic look that I’m not enjoying. I think this rare material would have made for a much nicer dial – engrave the numerals, markers etc into it, and then fill it appropriately like the balance cock.
    Also, the use of CNC machines takes a lot of the class out of this – you mention ALS, all thier balance cocks are hand engraved.

    • Pretty sure the balance cock is hand-engraved on this piece as well.

  • Ulysses31

    A great looking watch with a beautiful movement, although I think I couldn’t care less about the use of ivory.  It just looks like a caramel coloured bakelite.  I was expecting some of the natural textures of the ivory to be revealed such as different layers or pores – anything that would indicate it was a natural product.  That big slab of ivory could do with a little more decoration.

  • Neil C

    Bad news, even if it is from ‘Extinct’ Mammoths  (I didn’t know there were any non-extinct ones).   Ivory is Ivory and this will just glorify it and other people will copy with Elephant Ivory.  This creates a demand and to some an aspiration for Ivory.  Will get confiscated at Customs too I hope.

    • cluedog12

      @Neil C That’s a pretty bold statement, unless you suspect that Lang & Heyne watches are about to find their way into mainstream culture. I have yet to see anyone post a picture of a Lang & Heyne watch on an enthusiast forum, even. Certainly the allure of successfully sneaking a banned substance through customs is tempting to many and that’s probably good from the perspective of generating publicity. Some of their unlimited models deserve recognition though – the chronograph is a beauty.

      • Neil C

         @cluedog12  @Neil It may be a trickle, but it is still a move in the wrong direction.  Also, the Internet is for Bold Statements!  
        Ariel does touch upon the subject and it is something that should be discussed.  I think they should have had better judgement, but I won’t condemn them yet,  I’ll have to check out their other designs first!

  • cluedog12

    I’d want to see the watch in-person before making a judgment call on the ivory. I suspect the hand-engraved balance cock is the way to go, but the watches are neat in the way that they’re done in the old style. I was in Dresden in back in October 2010 and found out about Lang & Heyne a few weeks after…regrettably too late.

  • MarkCarson

    Even without open work, I guess this still qualifies as a “skeleton” movement, ha ha.
    I wish they had a scrimshaw (hand engraved and blackened ivory) dial as well
    I disaree that this created demand that is killing elephants among other other ivory bearing creatures. There has long been reputable scrimshaw made from fossil ivory. So this is nothing new (except perhaps to some of the readers).  It is a specialty item and won’t be creating a demand that will outstrip the legitimate fossil supplies.
    Now if Rolex made it, then Invicta might feel compelled to create knock-off and that could be a problem with the level of trust engendered with Invicta’s sourcing statements. But not likely…

  • DG Cayse

    Lovely looking watch. Nice review.
    Now, about the mammoth “ivory.” Use of this product has been ongoing for many years. I personally have 2 knives with mammoth ivory handles and 1 revolver with mammoth ivory grips. Thinking about getting a set of side plates for a very nice Gov’t model I have also. While this is a somewhat scarce commodity, it is by no means relevant to any discussion regarding elephant ivory. 
    Also, as to elephant ivory, there is currently serious discussion being held to allow elephant ivory back on the market under very strict control. It has been sadly shown that game control officers have been unable to halt poaching. The trade continues. So, in order to under-cut the black market on poached ivory and stop the slaughter of herds it is being put forward to responsibly cull the herds to obtain legal, marketable elephant ivory and control its flow.
    Like it or not this presents a sensible option to the poaching and black market that currently exists.
    Another comment on the watch – I think it is a waste to use the mammoth ivory in this application.
    Just my opinion.

    • SurferNorrin

       @DG Cayse  Any time that ivory has been legally allowed onto the market it has been swiftly followed by a rise in poaching. It has unfortunately been proved time and again that corrupt officials are happy to facilitate the illegal trade when there is a legal trade to provide cover.
      On another point, as I was reading Ariel’s views on the suffering of animals for the sake of human greed, I couldn’t help wondering how he feels about the trade in reptile skins which provide the straps for so many watches. Aside from the croc’ and ‘gator farms, several brands use skins from protected snakes which are only given CITES legitimacy through some very dubious practices (fake farms housing wild caught animals, illegally procured certificates etc). I realise that snakes aren’t as appealing as elephants but, if you have seen a supposedly protected animal skinned alive for someone’s vanity, it’s hard to remain blase about it.

      • MarkCarson

         @SurferNorrin  @DG Cayse
        “ny time that ivory has been legally allowed onto the market it has been swiftly followed by a rise in poaching.”
        Really? At what time has fossil mammoth ivory been been illegal in the U.S.? I realize you may not be in the U.S. and that the subject watch is made in Germany. Please provide supporting information on both the laws in questions and government stats on poaching increases,etc. (Greenpeace crap does not count). Otherwise, what is the “source” of your information?

        • SurferNorrin

           @MarkCarson  @DG Cayse “Really? At what time has fossil mammoth ivory been been illegal in the U.S.?” I at no point claimed any such thing. I think you might need to read my post again and also the post I was responding to. My point was pretty clear, I think, and had nothing to do with mammoths.
           As for providing you with supporting information, your “Greenpeace crap does not count” gives me pretty good idea of how much point there would be in that.

    • SurferNorrin

       @DG Cayse One other thing, I agree when you say “It has been sadly shown that game control officers have been unable to halt poaching. The trade continues” but that was not the case when a total ban existed.
      This is from an official report by the KWS.
      “The introduction of a ban on ivory sales worldwide in 1989, as a result of massive elephant population declines in Africa and Asia, was heavily influenced by world opinion and, coincidentally, policy developing in Kenya at the time. This was also linked to the inception of KWS and the burning of ivory stockpiles in Nairobi NP which provided the statement which reverberated around the world. The benefits were felt within a short time: illegal ivory trade declined, craftsman and their shops became redundant, black-market prices of ivory plummeted and poaching declined across the range States. Elephant in Kenya benefited from this single event. However recovery would not have been possible without the improvements in security achieved through the establishment of the KWS armed wing and the elephant programme. The result, which Kenya is proud of, is a near doubling of the population. Nevertheless, this recovery has led to further challenges as Kenya develops and land use spreads further into elephant range with increasing HEC and alteration of habitat through restriction of elephant populations into secure areas.
      Although the ban remains, down-listing of four southern African elephant populations to CITES Appendix II, and two one-off legal sales of ivory have occurred. Today, demand for ivory has once again increased, causing further major declines of fragile populations in West and Central Africa and placing increasing pressure on East and Southern African populations of elephants. ”
      There’s an in depth article here for anyone who is interested.
       It’s a little out of date since the fears about the growing Chinese market have now already been at least partially realised but there is a lot of good info’ nevertheless.
       Anyway, probably way off topic by now. Best get back to watches.

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