In terms of classic dress watches, nothing can beat the Lange 1, a well-received collection from A. Lange & Söhne that serves as an icon of modern watchmaking. It is a lineup of high-end watches produced in the wake of the industry-changing quartz crisis. These elegant dress watches were conceptualized as an avenue for the German brand to revive its own mechanical watchmaking endeavors, while also revitalizing the production of mechanical watches across the entire horological world. And indeed, the Lange 1 timepieces have achieved this goal with aplomb, even to this day.
In this article, we will be taking a close look at the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 collection, its outstanding specifications and functions, and some of the best models in this iconic collection.
The first iteration of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 was introduced with four different watch models, way back in 1994. This lineup of classy and refined dress watches became an outlet for the German brand to kick off a fresh start after the devastating impacts of the quartz crisis, while also offering a sequel to a long-established mechanical watchmaking tradition.
All the watches in this collection are elegant dress pieces with powerful mechanical movements and exquisite designs not often seen in other watch brands. In addition, the sophistication of these watches means that they also tend to come with highly-advanced complications. These include lovely moon phase indicators, highly practical perpetual calendars, and much more. Let us now take a look at all the incredible features the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 has to offer as a whole.
As a dress watch, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 shows off a very straightforward and refined exterior. One signature of the Lange 1 watch case is its long, angular explorer lugs which protrude outwards, giving the watch a more slender look. Conceived by watch engineer and entrepreneur legend Günter Blümlein, these lugs, with their gleaming, polished finish and carefully beveled sides, are an instantly recognizable component of the Lange 1. Unlike the lugs, most of the watch case itself shows off a smooth brushed finish. This interplay of different textures creates a nice visual contrast that is extremely satisfying to look at.
All four of the Lange 1 models from the first production feature cases measure 38.5mm in diameter and 9.8mm in thickness. This gives it a rather slim build, which is best suited to those with small-to-average-sized wrists or to those with more feminine wrists.
On the right side of the watch case is a flat, medium-sized crown. As an added distinguishing feature, the name of the brand is embossed on the top of the Lange 1’s crown in bold, capitalized letters. The crown also comes with deeply grooved edges. This provides wearers with a better grip to grasp and turn the crown more easily. On the other side of the case, at 10 o’clock, you can find a thick date pusher. This date pusher, which is also carefully polished, is hidden unobtrusively under the watch case.
When you flip over the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1, you will find a transparent caseback made of sapphire crystal. This sapphire crystal caseback is highly resistant to scratches and cracks. It is used to keep the movement safe inside the watch, while also allowing wearers to admire the movement in all its glory. The watch’s details are also carefully engraved around the rim of the caseback, including its brand, reference number, and the specific movement used in whichever model you are looking at.
The Lange 1 is also available in a number of different colorways and materials. These include models that are made out of stainless steel, luxurious 18K yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and even some versions which are made out of high-quality platinum.
One of the most striking features of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 is its visually appealing dial. It has a very unconventional, almost avant-garde design that is infused with the appealing minimalism of the German Bauhaus style.
The dial of the Lange 1 is designed according to the rule of thirds, giving it an intriguingly asymmetrical look that you simply cannot take your eyes off. Unlike traditional watches, which have the main dial taking up the entirety of the watch face, the Lange 1’s main dial is placed in a lopsided fashion, on the left side of the watch face. This main dial is filled with subtle, diamond-shaped applique hour indices, refined Roman numeral hour markers, and bold lancette hands.
On the right side of the dial, you can find a small seconds sub-dial with a slender stick hand. A minimalistic power reserve display is placed slightly above the sub-dial. It is made up of printed triangular indicators and a lancette hand that is thinner than the hour and minute hands. At the very top of the watch face, you can find a sizeable big date window, which is outlined in metal to help it stand out more clearly against the backdrop of the dial.
Another interesting feature of the Lange 1 is that the watch’s hands and power reserve are all coated with luminous material, something that is not commonly seen in dress watches. These handy luminous elements help to light up the watch face in the dark, allowing for optimal legibility even in poor lighting conditions.
Finally, the Lange 1’s dial is also offered in a number of different colorways depending on the specific model you are looking at. You can get the Lange 1 in more traditional hues like silver, black, gold, rose gold, grey, or white. If you want a Lange 1 piece that is a little quirkier and more playful, you could even opt for more modern dial colorways like blue or purple.
The earlier models of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 are all powered by a highly robust Caliber L901.0. This movement, which is recognized as being the first-ever in-house movement developed by the brand, was first launched in 1990.
Held together by 53 jewels, the Caliber L901.0 is a hand-winding movement that possesses an outstanding 72-hour power reserve. At the time of its release, it was one of the most precise calibers in the market, offering a remarkable accuracy rate of +/-5 seconds per day. A. Lange & Söhne bases the Caliber L901.0’s gear train design on the legendary Jaeger LeCoultre’s Caliber 822, but densely modifies it to better fit the eccentric dial design of the Lange 1. The Caliber L901.0 was used to power several different Lange 1 models for more than 20 years.
In 2015, the company began using a new in-house movement, the modern Caliber L121.1. This new movement is fitted with 43 jewels and beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). Like the Caliber L901.0, the Caliber L121.1 comes with an extensive 72-hour power supply. However, instead of coming with the standard screws, this movement features a cam-poised balance and a patented balance spring, which ensures greater accuracy when setting the time. In addition, this caliber also comes with a new quick-change date mechanism, which updates the date instantly at midnight.
The latest Lange 1 models were released in 2021. Known as the “Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar”, all of these watches, unlike previous versions of the Lange 1, came with complex perpetual calendar functions. In order to facilitate this, the 2021 Lange 1 timepieces were all equipped with the brand-new Caliber L021.3. On top of possessing perpetual calendar complications, the Caliber L021.3 is held together by 67 jewels and can last for up to 50 hours when fully wound.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 is paired with an alligator leather strap, which completes this dress watch’s fancy and sophisticated appearance. The color of the strap depends on the specific Lange 1 model selected. In general, the bracelets of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 are offered in black, brown, and blue hues.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 watches are considered luxury works of art, which allows them to hold exceptional market value. A brand-new Lange 1 watch is typically priced at around $55,000 USD, while a pre-owned version can go for about $24,000 USD. The prices can differ depending on the model you are looking at and the seller in question.
3 Best A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Models
Now, let us get to know more about the best watch models in the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 collection.
1. A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen” Ref. 139.035
First off, the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen” Ref. 139.035 is an exquisite dress watch that effortlessly stands out in the crowd. This is one of the newer generation Lange 1 models, introduced in 2016. Along with its handsome, almost mysterious style, this watch is notable for its unique moon phase feature, which is not commonly seen in other Lange 1 models.
The Ref. 139.035 comes in a 41mm case made of luxurious platinum, coupled with a black alligator leather strap. The striking black dial of this watch is beyond sophisticated, with a smoked sapphire crystal design that gives you a clear view of the gears inside the watch. This gives the timepiece a very refined, elegant look. Another highlight of the dial is its unique moon phase display. Located within the main dial, this moon phase display takes the form of a starry night sky, which adds greater complexity and texture to this watch face. Aside from that, this dial is adorned with all the usual Lange 1 trappings, albeit in a classic black and silver colorway.
Driving the Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen” Ref. 139.035 is a superior in-house Caliber L095.4. This powerful mechanical movement is held together by 45 jewels and beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). It also delivers an excellent 72-hour power reserve. Finally, this watch also comes with a 30-meter depth rating, which is quite standard for a dress watch.
The Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen” Ref. 139.035 is a limited edition timepiece, with only 200 pieces available around the world. This moon phase watch retails at around $30,000 USD.
2. A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone Ref. 116.066
Next up, we have the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone Ref. 116.066. Released in celebration of the Lange 1 collection’s 25th anniversary, this GMT timepiece is a direct descendent of the original Lange 1 watch, with a similarly quintessential, timeless appearance. This model is presented in a 41.9mm case made of lavish 18K white gold, coupled with a stylish alligator leather strap in blue.
Complementing the silver-white case is an appealing silver dial, which has the standard Lange 1 “rule of three” design. It also has a lovely silver and blue colorway, with fashionable blued steel hands and markers that blend perfectly with the rest of the watch.
What truly sets this Lange 1 model apart, however, is its little details and complications. This watch comes with a handy dual-time display. Instead of serving as the small seconds counter, the sub-dial at 5 o’clock is instead used as a world time sub-dial, with a small AM/PM indicator placed right to the left of it. The small seconds sub-dial, on the other hand, is shifted to the watch’s main dial, replacing the VI marker. An AM/PM indicator is also located on the main dial, right under the XII marker. In addition, an internal bezel is placed on the rim of the dial, with indicators for the 24 different timezones that wearers can track.
The Ref. 116.066 runs on the in-house Caliber L141.1. Held together by 38 jewels, this mechanical movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and possesses a 72-hour power supply. Like the other Lange 1 models, this watch also has a depth rating of 30 meters, which allows it to survive any showers or splashes.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone Ref. 116.066 is another limited edition Lange 1 watch. This model is even more exclusive than the previous one, with only 25 pieces put on the market. As such, it is little surprise that it sells at an exorbitant price of $52,000 USD.
3. A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Ref. 191.039
Sought-after for its impeccable beauty and sophistication, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Ref. 191.039 is another Lange 1 model that deserves to be on your radar. With its very simple, classic design, this watch is designed to be the perfect companion to all your suits and formalwear.
The Ref. 191.039 utilizes a 38.5mm platinum case, coupled with a traditional black alligator leather strap. Fixed to the top of the watch case is a smoothly-polished fixed bezel. This bezel is extremely flat, which adds to the slim visage of the watch. A clean white dial of the watch is used to complete the watch’s elegant, cultivated look. This dial is almost barebones in its design, containing only the standard Lange 1 features and complications, which also gives it a very minimalistic appeal.
Inside this watch, you can find an in-house Caliber L901.0. It is fitted with 53 jewels, beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz), and has a 72-hour power supply. This watch also possesses an accuracy rate of +/-5 seconds per day and a water resistance capacity of 30 meters.
This beautiful dress watch costs approximately $33,600 USD.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 is a timeless, sophisticated series of dress watches that proves A. Lange & Söhne’s expertise in designing avant-garde watches fitted with an array of incredible features. The Lange 1 lineup not only showcases the German brand’s impressive watchmaking designs and techniques but also serves to celebrate its rich heritage. If you want a well-polished, high-end dress watch that comes with all the watch complications you could ever want, then checking out the Lange 1 collection is definitely a great start.
All images are credited to eBay.com unless otherwise stated.
Featured image courtesy of (u/Quincymmx) on Reddit.
If you are searching for a top-tier dress watch with unparalleled accuracy, then the Grand Seiko Snowflake is the right piece for you.
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