Hands-On: A. Lange & Söhne Watches & Wonders Pieces (Part 2)

Yesterday we looked at two of the watches that A. Lange & Söhne released at the recent Watches & Wonders exhibition in Hong Kong. Today, we’re looking at the four other references that the Saxon manufacturer unveiled.

Horological heaven...

Horological heaven…

Along with the 1815 Chronograph and the 1815 “200th Anniversary F.A. Lange” watches (there’s a link to that article at the end of this one), A. Lange & Söhne released two new models of its Little Lange 1, and two new Saxonia references.

What’s interesting here is that, right at the beginning of the year, Lange updated the Saxonia line, giving the Saxonia, Saxonia Dual Time, and Saxonia Automatic new dial designs. It was therefore a bit of a surprise to see the brand once again updating the Saxonia watches this year. Before we get to the Saxonia models however, we’ll take a look at the Little Lange 1 – after all, the Lange 1 is the most iconic model in A. Lange & Söhne’s collection.

Little Lange 1

The Little Lange 1 was originally designed to be a men's watch, before the 'large' case trend took hold in the late 90s.

The Little Lange 1 was originally designed to be a men’s watch, before the ‘large’ case trend took hold in the late 90s.

The Little Lange 1, as its name suggests, is a smaller version of the Lange 1, the watch that was at the vanguard of A. Lange & Söhne’s resurgence back in 1994. Today, the Little Lange 1 is largely viewed as a lady’s timepeice but in actual fact, the Little Lange 1 was designed to be a men’s watch, when it was first introduced.

You see when A. Lange & Söhne introduced the Lange 1 back in 1994, a few of Lange’s clients felt the original 38.5mm Lange 1 was too big. Word got back to the brand about this, and shortly thereafter, the Little Lange 1 with a 36mm case diameter was introduced. It’s incredible to see how much times have changed as back in the 90s, watches with smaller cases were the order of the day, whereas today, most watches that are smaller than 40mm are viewed as women’s watches.

The lack of diamonds on the bezel and lugs is refreshing, and makes these Little Lange 1 watches look even more elegant.

The lack of diamonds on the bezel and lugs is refreshing, and makes these Little Lange 1 watches look even more elegant.

As for the two new models that we’re looking at today, A. Lange & Söhne has told us that these 36.1mm watches are designed with women in mind. Both watches feature a mother of pearl dial that actually starts off as sterling silver. To create the look that you see in the pictures, Lange applies a blue galvanic coating, and then covers it with a translucent piece of mother of pearl. The result is an attractive dial that maintains the traditional Lange 1 layout with the Lange 1 calling card, the oversized date display.

What differentiates one watch from the other is the case material and strap – you can opt for white-gold or pink-gold, and with the white-gold model you get a blue calfskin strap, while the pink-gold is offered with a biege calfskin strap. Lange has matched the straps to the case materials well, both watches look incredible, and we’re pleased to see that these watches don’t have diamond encrusted bezels and lugs – we’ve heard from several readers that they prefer their watches without diamonds.

We aren't the target market but in the interest of telling you what we thought, we tried on the pink-gold Little Lange 1.

We aren’t the target market but in the interest of telling you what we thought, we tried on the pink-gold Little Lange 1.

The Little Lange 1 features the in-house produced calibre L901.4, this is a manually wound movement with 365 parts but what’s interesting here is that this isn’t the movement found in the current Lange 1 (which was launched earlier this year).

The current generation Lange 1 features the calibre L121.1, but while that is a superior movement in terms of features, the L901.4 in the Little Lange 1 is aesthetically more appealing. This older movement isn’t short on features either, you still get 72 hours of power reserve when it’s fully wound, and we’ve heard of absolutely no complaints about its robustness or time keeping abilities.

With the oversized date window and power reserve, the Little Lange 1 has too much going on, on its dial to be considered a dress watch. That said, it's still incredibly elegant.

With the oversized date window and power reserve, the Little Lange 1 has too much going on, on its dial to be considered a dress watch. That said, it’s still incredibly elegant.

We aren’t the target demographic for this piece but we thought it’d be a wasted opportunity if we didn’t try it on. Given its 36mm case size, the watch did look and feel small on our wrist but we think it will suit most women’s wrists perfectly. The Lange 1 has always been a bit of a serious looking watch, and you still get that sense with both of these new Little Lange 1 timepieces – the mother of pearl dial and the texture of the strap definitely help to give it feminine appeal but this is still everything a Lange should be.

The Little Lange 1 in pink-gold carries a retail price of approximately US $37,000, whereas the white-gold Little Lange 1 should cost about US $38,000. These are fair prices given the quality of the watch you’re getting in return for your money.

Saxonia

The grey dial looks magnificent on these 37mm Saxonia pieces.

The grey dial looks magnificent on these 37mm Saxonia pieces.

The Saxonia was one of the four models to debut with A. Lange & Söhne’s initial collection back in 1994. Since those early days, the Saxonia family has grown but still contains some of the brands most understated and dressy timepieces. That’s not to say that the family is limited to just classic timepieces however, the Saxonia collection consists of complicated watches with double split and perpetual calendars complications as well (the Datograph, Langematik Perpetual etc. all fall under the Saxonia collection).

At SIHH, Lange updated the classy Saxonia, Saxonia Dual Time and Saxonia Automatic. Watches & Wonders bought two new Saxonia references that, like the 1815 Chronograph we discussed in the first part of this article, will be sold in boutiques only. The two new Saxonia timepieces are time-only, manually wound timepieces, and are the brand’s most accessible watches.

These are dress watch proportions we can totally get behind.

These are dress watch proportions we can totally get behind.

The design traits that Lange unveiled on the updated Saxonia watches at SIHH are present on these new references with a couple of key differences. The first is that there’s now a dark grey dial offered with either a white- or pink-gold case, and the second is that both these manually-wound watches feature a 37mm case diameter (the current manually wound Saxonia watches that are also sold through Lange retail partners feature a 35mm case).

Lange has used dark grey dials on several of its other current watches (Lange 1, Datograph etc.), so seeing this dial color permeate over to the Saxonia collection is no big surprise. Lange isn’t, however, replacing the silver dial Saxonia models (also offered in white- and pink-gold), instead this new dial color will serve to extend the collection.

We reckon you could wear this particular Saxonia with casual clothes or with a suit. The rose-gold model is more of a long sleeve or suit watch.

We reckon you could wear this particular Saxonia with casual clothes or with a suit. The rose-gold model is more of a long sleeve or suit watch.

We liked the aesthetics of the updated Saxonia that was shown at SIHH, but we reckon this new boutique edition is the best looking model yet. The dark grey dial matches both case options beautifully, so we had a heck of a time deciding which we liked better. We reckon both will look fantastic when paired with a suit and, if we were really pushed to make a choice, we reckon we’d side with the white-gold option, as we can imagine wearing it with suits or even with more casual attire.

The Saxonia is a full-fledged dress watch, the case measures 37mm in diameter, and it is just 7.8mm thick. It will slide under shirt cuffs and sweaters effortlessly, and on the wrist, it’s just a handsome thing that exudes quality. It may be the most accessible timepiece that Lange produces but you get the same quality feeling that you get from the brand’s high complication watches. This is the great thing about Lange, you get the same attention to detail and finishing on all their watches regardless of their cost.

The 37mm Saxonia is powered by an older Lange movement. However, it's still a Lange movement, and that means you're getting top quality workmanship.

The 37mm Saxonia is powered by an older Lange movement. However, it’s still a Lange movement, and that means you’re getting top quality workmanship.

The Saxonia is powered by the in-house L941.1, it is now the oldest calibre that A. Lange & Söhne’s uses on any of its watches. Since it is a time-only, manually wound calibre, there are just 164 components but what the movement lacks in design architecture and looks, it makes up for in finish and quality. The caseback reveals the famous three-quarter plate, there’s a hand-engraved balance cock, as well as other attractive appointments including blued steel screws and gold chatons.

The 37mm pink-gold Saxonia is priced at US $18,000, while the white-gold reference is slightly more costly at US $20,000. We think the boutique edition Saxonia will be the preferred choice for men in the market for a handsome dress watch – as much as we liked the manually wound silver dial Saxonia, we think the 35mm case size will prove too small for most men’s wrists.

If you want to read part 1 of this article, click here.

To learn more about A. Lange & Söhne, click here.

Our thanks to the A. Lange & Söhne PR and Dubai Mall boutique team for arranging for HME to try each of these pieces.

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Fantastic images of the Saxonia, best of what’s available online. Good coverage as well.

    • Jase

      Reply

      Thank you for the kind words, we are very pleased that you liked the photographs and the write-up.

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