2014 celebrates 20 years of A. Lange & Söhne’s iconic Lange 1 watch. It was launched when A. Lange & Söhne relaunched in the early 1990s, and today remains their most distinctive timepiece with its balanced, yet asymmetric dial. In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1, the German watch maker has released a limited edition version of its Lange 1 Tourbillon, known as the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst ref. 704.048F, in platinum with a black enamel dial.
The Lange 1 Tourbillon was released six years after the original Lange 1, in 2000. Nevertheless, A. Lange & Söhne wanted to feature the Lange 1 Tourbillon as the basis of their new 20th Anniversary model. They also decided to incorporate the new limited edition watch into their “Handwerkskunst” collection – which takes their “standard” models and imbues them with a lot of hand-decorated engravings. This Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst model doesn’t have as much hand-engraving as some other models, but I feel that the amount of decoration is appealing, and it is limited to the movement side of the case.
As you might know, A. Lange & Söhne watches with black dials are uncommon. There are only a handful, and this new limited edition joins the ranks of an exclusive lot. In this case, the black dial of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is enamel painted and should look fantastic in person. We look forward to seeing these models soon, and I am personally excited to see how the dials came out. If my suspicions are correct, the contrast and legibility on the dial should be really impressive.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon case is a modest 38.5mm wide, and here, in solid platinum. It is joined to a black alligator strap and should wear quite nicely for most people. I particularly enjoy how the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1’s off-centered dial has aged. I am personally not a huge fan of many asymmetrical watches, but this is among the exceptions. One of the things I like is the clarity and simplicity of the dial for the time itself, which is made just a bit more interesting with the also off-centered subsidiary seconds dial inside of it.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst dial also features a big date (“outsize date,” as Lange calls it) window, power reserve indicator, and a view of the one minute tourbillon. This is all part of the in-house made and designed caliber L961.3 manually-would movement. It uses a German Silver 3/4 base plate and it comprises 378 parts. The movement operates at 21,600 bph, and further, uses an in-house made balance spring. Given that this is one of Lange’s tourbillon-based watches, it uses diamond end-stones for the tourbillon. Power reserve for the movement is three days (72 hours).
The rear of the movement is where the only real changes are to this limited edition 20th Anniversary Handwerkskunst version of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon’s movement. Three of the bridges are decorated with hand-engraved decoration that takes the form of a very pleasant series of Arabesque waves. Note that A. Lange & Söhne made the decision to leave the bridge over the tourbillon on the front side of the dial free from decoration. I think that was an interesting and probably appropriate decision, given how it would look otherwise.
A. Lange & Söhne is quickly earning more and more acclaim around the world from collectors and the media. For a long time, it has remained a sort of “enthusiast’s secret,” given their low production numbers and relatively under-the-radar marketing tactics. My hope is that as demand for A. Lange & Söhne watches increases, they do not mess with their highly effective formula for producing wonderfully made and designed traditional mechanical watches. In my opinion, as long as they remain ultimate grail watches for the most sophisticated collectors, the brand will continue to have the prestige it deserves. The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst ref. 704.048F will be limited to just 20 pieces and priced at $221,700. alange-soehne.com