175 years of Saxon precision watchmaking! Now that’s worthy of a celebration. Although, the absolute beginning of watchmaking in Saxony cannot be dated to a precise point in time, the core of a general guild was formed by the first watchmakers’ association in 1540 – and in Dresden. The first watchmakers belong to the guild of smiths; this is because smiths and metalworkers originally produced timepieces.
Dresden watchmaker Ferdinand Adolph Lange laid the cornerstone of Saxony’s precision watchmaking industry when he established his manufactory in 1845. His precious pocket watches remain highly coveted among collectors all over the world. The company was expropriated after World War II, and the name A. Lange & Söhne nearly vanished. In 1990, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s great-grandson Walter Lange had the courage to relaunch the brand. Today, Lange crafts only a few thousand wristwatches per year, predominantly in gold or platinum.
To commemorate 175 years of Saxon precision watchmaking and the 30th anniversary of a courageous new beginning., A. Lange & Söhne is presenting three extraordinary timepieces with the epithet “Homage to F. A. Lange” at Watches & Wonders Shanghai 2020. What we have here is one of the three exceptional limited editions – the 1815 THIN HONEYGOLD “Homage to F. A. Lange”. The first ever ultra thin watch in the 1815 collection.
Limited to just 175 pieces, this “little” masterpiece which is probably the simplest of the 1815 family, with a case diameter of 38 millimetres is merely 6.3 millimetres thick. In terms of thickness, you might argue that it is still thicker that the Saxonia Thin timepiece (which is 5.9 millimetres) and rightly so. But, the reason for that is that gorgeous enamel dial on the 1815 THIN HONEYGOLD which is partially done in-house. The brilliant white, two-piece enamel dial stands out prominently in this exclusive framework. The dark-grey printed Arabic numerals and the classic railway-track minute scale contrast well against the bright background. Just like the hands and the buckle, the case too is made of A. Lange & Söhne’s special alloy – HONEYGOLD (Harder than other gold alloys and platinum, this material has a unique colour, is strikingly resistant to damage and exclusive to Lange watches.
Another element that adds to the overall “thickness” of the watch is the integration of the gold chatons (It adds approximately another 1.5 millimetres to the thickness) Gold chatons secured by three thermally blued screws trace the path of the power transmitted from the mainspring barrel to the escapement. Proving that compact dimensions and performance are not mutually exclusive, the 1815 THIN HONEYGOLD “Homage to F. A. Lange” is powered by the 2.9-millimetre-high manually wound L093.1 manufacture caliber with a power reserve of 72 hours. The freely oscillating Lange balance spring has a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour. In combination with a classic screw balance, it assures optimised rate accuracy.
As for the finishing – Contrary to the Glashütte ribbing commonly used in other Lange models, the German-silver three-quarter plate has a granular surface texture. The crown and ratchet wheels here are visibly integrated in the train bridge and are decorated with circular graining. There is of course the freehand engraving on the balance cock, which is the signature element of all Lange manufacture calibres. Just like the inscription on the plate, the fine lines of the floral pattern are black-rhodiumed. The dark hue of the galvanic coating echoes the grey of the dial imprints and at the same time amplifies the three-dimensional effect of the engravings.
Does this mean, A. Lange & Söhne will now move in the direction of producing ultra-thin watches as part of their core collection? Well personally, I wouldn’t mind it, but I guess we’ll just have to wait this one out.