It was one of the best-known, most widely acclaimed and perhaps even the “most German” of all luxury watches of the revival: the LANGE 1. As a hallmark of the traditional Saxon manufactory, it has consummately safeguarded its exclusive distinctiveness for six years. With the patented outsize date, the twin mainspring barrels and the unusual juxtaposition of its displays, it remains an inimitable masterpiece of Saxon precision watchmaking.
Lange 1 Tourbillon was introduced in 2000 as a limited-edition “centennial tourbillon”, at the World Watch, Clock and Jewellery Show in Basel. The Saxons are once again challenging gravity, because with a carriage that rotates about its own axis once a minute, the LANGE 1-TOURBILLON equalises the earth’s gravitational forces that act on the escapement. The second one-minute tourbillon from the manufactory that was re-incorporated in 1990 crowns this epitome of horological finesse with the exquisite style of the LANGE 1, arguably the most famous “face” of all high-end watches made in Germany.
Behind it are both rhyme and reason. The will and the ability to crown the turn of the century with a special horological accomplishment is a tradition at Lange. On the occasion of the World Exposition in Paris in 1900, to which he was invited as a juror, Emil Lange – then the owner of “A. Lange & Söhne” in Glashütte – brought with him a gold hunting-cased pocket watch with a one-minute tourbillon and a fusee and-chain transmission in a decorated gold case with a platinum coating.
This first Lange centennial tourbillon No. 41000, whose hunter cover is decorated with an enamel miniature of the goddess Minerva standing next to a globe holding an olive branch and showing Dresden in the background, triggered profound admiration.In Paris, Emil Lange was made a knight of the French Legion of Honour and received the “Pour le Mérite” medal. His extraordinary pocket watch, which originally cost 1500 gold marks, fetched DM 1.5 million at a Habsburg auction in Geneva 90 years later. Today, it is undisputedly one of the great triumphs of watchmaking history.
The LANGE 1-TOURBILLON is imbued with this tradition. As the world’s first and only wristwatch with a tourbillon, outsize date, twin mainspring barrels for three days’power reserve and progressive power-reserve indication, it is a masterfully cut solitaire of the horological passion which has sprung back to life in Glashütte. Speaking of diamonds: The one-minute tourbillon – its visible part at least – is crowned by a diamond endstone which acts as a bearing for the filigreed carriage, on both sides, of course. Indeed, it is a delight to behold and a subtle reference to the authenticity of this rare treasure from the house of Lange whose earlier masterpieces were identifiable by precisely such diamond endstones.
The front side of the tourbillon carriage is held by a meticulously polished steel bar which is accurately countersunk in the solid-silver dial and constitutes the most prominent design feature of this LANGE 1. The subsidiary seconds dial is perfectly poised in the asymmetric configuration of the displays.
Each visual detail reveals the successful quest for the degree of harmony in proportions which has helped the LANGE 1 achieve the stature of a classic timepiece of captivating distinction. The solid-silver dial is three-tiered and, depending on the model, provided with rhodiumed or pink-gold appliques. The hands are made of gold. The sapphire-crystal glass and caseback are antireflection-coated.
The movement of the LANGE 1-TOURBILLON, Calibre L961.1, is composed of no less than 378 carefully hand-finished individual parts. It embodies all of the elements which have been responsible for the meteoric rise of Lange watches since the new era began: plates and bridges made of cross-laminated, untreated German silver, screwed gold chatons, screw balance and hand-engraved bridges. It has 49 jewels and two diamond endstones, a shock-proofed balance, a Nivarox 1 balance spring with a curved overcoil and a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour.
The entire edition was limited to 150 platinum and 250 pink-gold watches. Both come with a crocodile-skin strap and a Lange buckle made of solid platinum or pink gold. On request, the strap can also be fitted with the precious Lange deployant buckle in platinum or pink gold.