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A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

No fewer than 744 hours. That's how long the power reserve for the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 watch is. While not a record in watchmaking (I believe the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari has the longest power reserve on the market with 50 days), it is indeed a remarkable feat, and more so because it's a piece that you can ostensibly actually wear every day for a month. This year at SIHH 2017, Lange released this limited edition version that has a white gold case and a gray dial. I always forget that the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 is in the Saxonia family, which is often seen as the entry point for the Glasshütte manufacture, but this is a model that is priced in line with their more complicated and pricier models at just around $150,000.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

In typical Lange fashion, there isn't a lot on the dial drawing attention to what beats within. In fact, other than the "MONATS-WERK" (Monats being "month" in German) at 9 o'clock and the large power reserve indicator, there's not a lot that would immediately give away what makes this watch so special. I think the decision to go with a white gold case underlies the more discreet personality of both the watch and the person who wears it. You wouldn't guess that this is Lange's second most expensive debut this year, after the grandiose Tourbograph Perpetual Pour Le Merite.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

You'll notice that the power reserve indicator has a marker for every other day and the final two days are split up so you know when you're reaching that "red zone" of a power reserve nearing its end. Those instantly recognizable "oversized' (I hate that word, as they look the right size to me, personally) date windows can hypothetically do a full month's cycle in tandem with the power reserve which is a fittingly German act of luxurious efficiency. If you're thinking about how long it would take to wind the watch when the time finally comes, Lange provides a steel turning key which generates extra torque and significantly reduces the physical work needed to turn the crown. It's also got a backstop ratchet integrated with a torque-limiting mechanism so it's protected against an accidental counterclockwise turn.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

The L034.1 manual-wind movement is unique to the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31. The power reserve is possible due to the twin mainspring barrel. Two vertically stacked 25mm-diameter barrels contain springs that are 1,850mm long (each is around 10 times the length of a more conventional spring). Inherent to longer mainsprings comes the issue that loss of torque is more pronounced as the spring relaxes. To remedy this, A. Lange & Söhne has a patented constant force escapement which retensions a remontoir spring (a secondary spring) by 60 degrees every 10 seconds. My movement expertise can't fully and thoroughly explain all of the mechanisms here, but I'll take Lange at their word that this constant force escapement system ensures uniform torque for the entire duration of the 31-day power reserve.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

The L034.1 movement is 37.3mm wide and 9.6mm thick, made of 406 parts including 62 jewels. It operates at 21,600vph and has a Nivarox balance spring. When you turn the watch around, you see the kidney-shaped exhibition that gives you a look at the constant force escapement system, a hand-engraved balance cock, and the traditional 3/4 movement plate. And on the top left you'll see where the turning key is inserted in order to wind the watch. In order to easily access this, the deployant clasp allows the strap to fully open on one side.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

The case is 45.9mm wide and 15.6mm thick, making it a pretty substantial watch as far as wrist presence goes. That being said, the movement and how much must go into a watch with a 31-day power reserve is obvious, and it'd be naive to expect a small case. Hell, everything else about the piece is so discreet you might as well have something about it that grabs attention, right?

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

The legibility of the dial leaves something to be desired as the rhodium-coated gold hands on the gray dial have a shadowy effect. The indices are silver so they provide some contrast on the dial, but that's really about it as far as dial adornment goes. It's a clean dial with enough breathing room between the date windows, the power reserve, and the seconds sub-dial.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 comes on a dark brown alligator leather strap with a deployant buckle which, as previously mentioned, fully detaches on one side in order to use the turning key on the caseback socket. The buckle is also made of white gold, naturally.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Limited Edition Watch With 31-Day Power Reserve Hands-On Hands-On

There are going to be 100 of these white gold, gray dial A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 watches made. I love watches like this that are intended in design and function to please only the person who wears it and not really make a statement of its own other than the technical prowess and capability of the manufacture. Price for the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 Ref. 130.039 in white gold is €142,300. alange-soehne.com

About the Author

Bilal lives in Los Angeles by way of New York and shares the same appreciation and love of watches that likely brought you to aBlogtoWatch. His least favorite question to be asked is "what's your favorite watch?" since the answer changes every day.

His collection began with the watch that has likely fueled horological obsession for countless people, the Omega Speedmaster. Since then he has worn, enjoyed, or mocked about every other watch out there. You'll have to ask about the whole collection in person, though.
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  • Word Merchant

    Very nice, of course, and I remain a fan, but the price is well and truly unattainable. At €142k this not good or even reasonable value for money really.

    If I had to pick, and I’m going to of course, the small seconds dial is too small and doesn’t match the look of the rest of the watch.

    Nice photography btw.

    • ProJ

      Agree on both accounts: The small seconds dial is too small, the price is too big.

  • Svetoslav Popov

    There two remarkable things about this watch. One is the power reserve and the other is the price. Everything else is quite standard and and not especially beautiful design wise. I know it sounds absurd, but purely aesthetically I prefer my Stowa MOBLE.

  • BrJean

    One hour of power reserve will cost you about 191 euro.

  • MEddie90

    While I cant deny how much of an achievement this watch is (I believe it held the record for highest PR wristwatch for a time) the dimensions are insane (45.9mm wide and 15.6mm thick). Way to chunky to be a dress watch for anyone smaller than the mountain from GOT and as a result everything on the dial looks comically undersized, the date window which normally takes a bold center stage looks lost and the small seconds is minute and spaced way to low on the dial. Even the baton markers look shrimp sized.

    As a technical exercise lange should be applauded (sure it’s no sephine or GF nano but its impressive to get 31 days from a single barrel and traditional movement architecture), the remontoir is a fantastic solution to help keep the varying torque constant and the miniaturized going train wrapped round the comically sized barrel is unique but all in all its just not a practical or aesthetically balanced piece imho.

    • Double barrel, but otherwise, spot on.

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      Yes, if they could implement it in a 42mm case with let’s say 20 days of power reserve it would be a much more sensible watch. Probably they could bring down the price too with less gold for the case.

      And this last is just a personal preference, but they should really change the dial to black or white. This specific grey doesn’t work with the white gold case.

      • Or swap the hands for rose gold ones, with rose gold hour markers and date window surround. I hate to say it, but the way it is now goes beyond “subtle” and wades into “drab”.

    • Hey MEddie, I believe it’s the former – a single barrel with double/stacked mainsprings. You can see one set of teeth at the base of the barrel in the movement shot.

  • SuperStrapper

    Surprised at the price, actually. I expected deep 5s, not well into the 6s.

    I know it’s part of the Lange aesthetic, but I’d love to see this watch with a centr seconds hand and no silly pea-sized sub seconds. Other than that it looks great.

    But if I have $150k in my pocket and I’ve decided to spend it at the Lange store, how does this make the list?

    • That subseconds is a tough one because the diameter of the barrel means the axis of the fourth wheel has to be so far south. It does look too small though. Best to have gone sans seconds IMO and dropped the date windows to 9 o’clock.

      • SuperStrapper

        Maybe… but no-seconds is a real boner killer. Moreso than sub seconds.

        If anyone could figure it out, it’s Lange.

        • It’s doable, but it costs movement thickness and that they ain’t got. Perhaps an aperture for the remontoire would be a good alternative>

          • SuperStrapper

            Not a bad idea. I also considered that instead of a sub seconds dial a simple decoration could be added to that pinion, and would show movement without the need for specific indication. Lose the subdial and markings. I enjoy that when it is done properly, but I don’t think it’s up Lange’s alley. And they don’t really have a ‘logo’ to play with artistically. The ampersand they use would be an idea, but of course that is already buttoned up as a pseudo logo by B&R.

      • MEddie90

        They could have used an indirect sub seconds seconds with a spring break to keep it smooth, I believe the roger smith series 2 uses that exact configuration (see pic). Center seconds would be difficult as you already have the oversized barrel plus hour and minute movement works in that area, adding an extra layer of gearing would be a nightmare.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a42b3a2dee21d722949a2870eeb53572056ced8d0ad8611bfd1d10ce3d2f347a.jpg

        • Do you mean indirect as in separate gearing to the main train? I believe the Series 2 seconds is the functional fourth wheel of the gear train and that wheel you see driving it on the dial is the third. With the Series 2 there is still space to place the axis higher, and he also overlaps with the main chapter ring to get full effect (love this watch). With the 31, the centre, third and fourth wheels are squished up against the edge of the movement and to raise the seconds axis further north would not work with that big fat barrel!

          • MEddie90

            I think you’re right regarding the series 2, the seconds is mounted on the functional fourth but part of the train (third wheel) is dial side. I still think an indirect sub seconds could be done without adding much id any additional thickness, providing all of the gearing is done on the dial side of the base plate though it may lead to a noticeable stutter due to not being a part of the main power flow.

          • Agreed, it could occupy the same space as the motion work presumably…

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      That subseconds is a tough one because the diameter of the barrel means
      the axis of the fourth wheel has to be so far south. It does look too
      small though. Best to have gone sans seconds IMO and dropped the date
      windows to 9 o’clock.

  • DanW94

    It’s crazy to realize that the 31 designation on the power reserve is actually for days and not hours! I love this watch but agree with others about the size. It’s like Lange didn’t quite know what to do with all that dial real estate created by the enormous mainspring barrels. Nonetheless, I’d gladly wear it a month straight if it was gifted to me. I’d like to see a few pics of the winding key.

  • Such a great movement. IMO the size of this case and the contemporary dial tone makes this Lange a contender for a more modern and wider strap. Not NATO, but something a little more punchy.

  • otaking241

    Does anybody else see the Oris 10-day when they look at this? The color combination and dial layout are dead ringers. And a 46mm Lange? Wound with a key? A rare miss from this manufacture in my book.

    • Other way around. Oris 10-day came about 7 years after the Lange31

      • otaking241

        Derp–assumed this was a new SIHH watch but just a new SE. Thanks for the correction.

  • Marius

    This is the only Lange watch that I don’t particularly like. The reason for that is that this timepiece doesn’t have the practicality and useful character that Lange is famous for.

    In my opinion, very long power reserves would be extremely useful for complicated watches such as perpetual calendars, perpetual calendars/chronographs, etc. Setting a perpetual, or any other highly complicated watch, can be time-consuming, and it also has the potential to damage the movement. As a result, a very long power reserve is an elegant solution to this problem as it alleviates the movement from a lot of “stress.”

    However, this Lange is a relatively simple time & date watch. The long power reserve doesn’t really help you in any way. What’s more, looking at the 46mm/15.6mm case dimensions, one can clearly see that this is not exactly your everyday timepiece. Let’s face it, it’s bigger than a Rolex Deepsea, so I doubt that you would be comfortable with wearing it regularly. Essentially, this watch is similar to putting a Lamborghini V12 engine in a truck — sure, you will have a truck with a great engine, but this great motor won’t really help your truck go faster.

    • Actually it’s more like keeping a Lamborghini V12 engine in your Lamborghini, but making the fuel tank 10 times larger to the extent that it has zero storage space, maybe not even a passenger seat, but you rarely have to interrupt your drive to refuel.

      The power reserve absolutely has use here. A manual wind that enables you to pick it up once a month without needing to reset is more of a tangible benefit than most complications. No need for a rotor and a convoluted winding machine. Good for use in a safe with moderate rotation of watches.

      The chap I imagine picking this up is a large-wristed boardroom type that hates fiddling with crowns.

      • TrevorXM

        If he hates fiddling with a crown, he’s going to hate fiddling with a tiny little key even more.

        • The key is larger and much more tactile, but now here we are talking about the preferences of an imaginary man…

          • TrevorXM

            Any man who doesn’t like fiddling with a crown would buy an automatic.

          • Okaaaay

          • Dinkee, H. O.

            Okay.

          • Dinkee, H. O.

            I don’t mind fiddling with my crown, though often I buy an automatic because I don’t have to buy them dinner.

          • IG

            I hate automatic watches and proud of it.™

  • TrevorXM

    I have to agree with the other comments — this is a fail for Lange. At this price range you can’t fail in design or character like this. It’s like they tried to do an Oris 10-day knock-off priced at many, many times what that successful watch is, but didn’t succeed in design or reason of being. Much like Patek’s pilot watch fail when they tried to rip-off Zenith just a little while ago.

    • Yet the Lange 31 was introduced in 2007 and Oris was 2014?

      • TrevorXM

        Yet somehow the Oris looks like the “original” watch or the real thing and this looks like the design and concept failure. Weird, isn’t it?

        • Not weird, just misguided.

          • Dinkee, H. O.

            You’re not misguided.

        • IG

          I guess Stevie Wonder agrees with you.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      Don’t go insulting Patek! They have been making pilot watches since the 1930’s!

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Does anybody else think thiis reminds them of the “C Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve” watch. Or is it that most watches look pretty similar to something anyway.

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      Yes all cars and all watches and all furniture and all houses look pretty similar to something anyway. Good point.

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        Wow Dink H O, you’re a pretty profound guy when you put your mind to it 🙂

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    Such a great movement. IMO the size of this case and the contemporary dial tone makes this Lange a contender for a more modern and wider strap. Not NATO, but something a little more punchy.

  • Timestandsstill

    Nice and somewhat refreshing to see a comment section with this many posts that stayed relatively on point and pointed out some valid criticisms and technical points without descending completely into puns, innuendos, personal attacks or snarkyness ……mostly…LOL??

  • Shawn Lavigne

    it’s all spring. no thanks. i’d actually prefer to wind it daily.

  • Yanko

    Big as a car wheel rim! Why?

  • Ulysses31

    Not bad. I think it would be cool if there were a flip-up winding key instead of having something separate.

  • Shayne Corritori

    Hi, great article but, I am sorry, unless Nivarox is A. Lange & Sohne, the balance spring is hand-crafted in-house like all lange balance springs for all Lange watches. Richard Lange even patented the admixture of berlylium for balance springs. Forgive bad spelling and/or grammar due to typing.