Marking the 175th anniversary of precision watchmaking in Saxony, German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne pays tribute to its founder with the launch of the Homage to F. A. Lange collection of timepieces
Inspired by the life’s work of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the founder of A. Lange & Söhne, the new collection honours his contributions to the world of watchmaking and is, therefore, aptly named after him. Bearing the epithet “Homage to F. A. Lange”, the 1815 Thin Honeygold, the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold and the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold made their debut at the Watches & Wonders event in Shanghai in September 2020.
1815 Thin Honeygold
A refined two-hand dress watch, the 1815 Thin Honeygold unites the house’s two significant features, perfection and clarity, characterised by clean lines and an overall classic feel. Taking design cues from the brand’s early pocket watches, the intricately handmade white enamel dial features dark-grey printed Arabic numerals and a railway-track minute scale. Further bolstering its sleek appearance, it is 38 millimetres in diameter with a thin dial merely 6.3 millimetres high.
The L093.1 manufacture calibre beats inside the watch with a power reserve of 72 hours. The 2.9-millimetre-high manually wound movement proves that compact dimensions and performance are not mutually exclusive. The freely oscillating balance spring works in combination with a classic screw balance to ensure optimised rate accuracy. The edition is limited to just 175 watches.
Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold
Underscoring its commitment to enhancing its watchmaking flair, the brand has reintroduced the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold, limited to 50 pieces. First released in 2017, the watch gets an updated look with a honey gold case and honey gold elements on the black rhodium dial.
A technological masterpiece, the dial brings together a quintet of complications, including a fusée-and-chain transmission, a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar, an exclusive movement finissage and the most interesting of all – the rattrapante chronograph. Controlled by two column wheels, the sweep hand runs in tandem with the chronograph hand. The entire process is showcased through the exhibition case back. Housing all of those complications requires a substantial size and height, yet it manages to smoothly fit it all into a case that is 43 millimetres wide and 16.6 millimetres high.
1815 Rattrapante Honeygold
Limited to just 100 watches, the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold puts the focus on the eponymous complication. The maison’s sixth split-seconds chronograph, it stands out with another premiere: for the first time, the complication is in the spotlight. The superposed chronograph and rattrapante sweep-seconds hands make it possible to ascertain any number of lap times within the course of a minute during a running time measurement.
Both hands start together when the pusher at two o’clock is actuated. The rattrapante sweep-seconds hand can be stopped independently of the chronograph sweep-seconds hand and then synchronised with it. This function is controlled with the pusher at 10 o’clock. Housing this remarkable complication is the 41.2-millimetre case, rendered in honey gold and featuring a black dial. The edition is limited to just 100 pieces.
The 1815 tribute
The new anniversary edition models are additions to the maison’s highly sought-after 1815 family of timepieces – the digits being a reference to the birth year of F.A. Lange. A fitting move, given that the timepieces belonging to the 1815 line are a nod to its founder’s pioneering watchmaking ideas, a reflection of his prodigious flair and a tribute to his timeless quest for perfection.
Each of the timepieces belonging to the 1815 family bears a striking aesthetic that transports the spirit of F.A. Lange’s early pocket watches to its modern-day mechanical creations. Considered complete works of art, these watches possess an understated elegance and are of lasting value.
The dial arrangement is restrained yet intricate, featuring many of the design elements found on its historic pocket watches. These include clearly legible Arabic numerals and the railway-track peripheral minute scale.
A glimpse through the sapphire-crystal case back also reveals the personality of the 1815 models. Ticking away is a meticulously decorated high-precision movement, equipped with classically engineered watchmaking complications.
The large three-quarter plate in untreated German silver provides extra stability for the movement and is accompanied by traditional Lange features such as the hand-engraved balance cock, the whiplash spring for beat adjustment, the traditional screw balance and gold chatons fixed with thermally blued screws.
Embodying all these signature characteristics of the 1815 line, each of the newly-introduced timepieces features unique movement decorations and special dials dedicated to the pioneer himself. The watches represent a unique connection between traditional watchmaking elements and innovative craftsmanship, thus bridging the brand’s historic origins with its present.
The unifying element of the three new limited edition models is the innovative case material, honey gold, a patented alloy which nods to the manufactory’s eternal quest for new metallurgical discoveries using gold.
Until the dawn of the last decade, A. Lange & Söhne rendered their collections solely in gold and platinum. But this was soon set to change, with the maison’s relentless search for substances that exhibited more scratch-resistant properties finally bearing fruit.
Metallurgical research with gold has always been popular in Saxony and experiments using the metal are often associated with the long-standing tradition of alchemy. But the German manufacture has maintained a strictly scientific approach to its involvement with the metal. Their years of research yielded an alloy with a distinct colour that hovered between yellow and pink gold.
The metal proved to be more scratch resistant than gold or platinum and was harder than commonly used gold alloys. To describe its unique gloss and warm hue, the maison turned to nature for an analogy. The formula was then patented and it came to be known as honey gold, as it was reminiscent of the sweet liquid produced by bees.
For the wearer, an A. Lange & Söhne timepiece rendered in honey gold is a symbol of pride. Promising absolute elegance and incredible damage resistance, it is the ideal choice for collectors. Behind the scenes, however, the material poses immense challenges during the manufacturing process.
From a purely chemical point of view, honey gold is an 18-carat alloy composed of 75 percent fine gold. Its extraordinary hardness is a result of exposing the alloy to an array of thermic treatments. But this makes it extremely difficult to shape and finish. The material is, therefore, reserved for the maison’s most exclusive timepieces.
Since 2010, A. Lange & Söhne has introduced 11 limited-edition timepieces with the honey-coloured, patented material, including the trio of watches introduced in the newly launched Homage to F. A. Lange collection.
While each of the timepieces from the new collection boasts unprecedented technical expertise, two of the watches – the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold and the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold – champion the maison’s love for chronographs featuring highly complex developments.
Among his endless inventory of achievements, F.A. Lange is also the man behind the brand’s first chronograph, which he created in 1868. It had a single pusher that allowed the chronograph hand to be started, stopped and reset to zero, setting a new benchmark in the industry. Any new calibre proceeding this function would, therefore, have to not only live up to its innovative excellence but also surpass it.
So, in 1994, following the company’s first successful presentation of new timepieces, after its 20th-century revival by F.A. Lange’s grandson, Walter Lange, the maison made it a top priority to develop its proprietary chronograph calibre. Five years later, the Datograph made a successful debut, gradually becoming A. Lange & Söhne’s symbol of its quest for innovation.
Today, its movement is considered by industry experts and connoisseurs to be one of the most beautiful chronograph calibres. Subsequent to its success, the house achieved new heights in chronograph design, inspired by the original chronograph, which is honoured even today with the new Homage to F. A. Lange collection.
To browse the collection, visit the A. Lange & Söhne boutiques in The Dubai Mall 04 3253923 or Mall of the Emirates 04 5471860 or visit alange-soehne.com