A. Lange & Soehne brings some freshness into the saturated watch industry with its extraordinary watches for the year, communicating its technical supremacy undoubtedly
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: May 24, 2013
As soon as you enter the A. Lange & Soehne store in the sprawling Dubai Mall, you are greeted by an elegantly attired space, smiling staff and their fascinating watches right in front of your eyes. The store epitomizes the philosophy of Lange, which is perfection.
Incredibly, the A. Lange & Soehne store in Dubai Mall, is the largest yet the brand has globally. And it is quite impressive may we add. Divided into three sections, in the entry area itself you could admire some timepieces from the brand, while also browsing through a short history of the brand which has been creatively presented just opposite the entrance.
Step further inside and you’ll see an elegant area with two sales corners where the well-trained sales executives of the brand present Lange creations to potential customers. A worker’s table on one side, furnished with all the necessary tools, gives walk-in guests a live insight into the making of a watch. And a television on the wall shows the intricacies and behind-the-scenes of what makes Lange.
The third area, located further inside, is a plush VIP Lounge, where special guests can consider and marvel Lange watches with ease and comfort. The book lined walls add that extra touch of sophistication and classiness to the lounge. And if you browse through these chronological publications, you’ll be mesmerized with the incredible history and craftsmanship of A. Lange & Soehne.
And to be fair, I must put in a good word for the knowledgeable staff, who’ll tell you everything you ever need to know about the Lange watches. With the sprightly and bright staff, the customer experience at the Lange store is exemplary.
But while the store definitely wowed me, being my first visit to this particular Lange store, it was the new watches which I was keen to glimpse. To state a fact, not many ground-breaking innovations have come up in the recent years in the watchmaking industry. Considering that, I sincerely believe that A. Lange & Soehne has gone beyond convention, and crafted watches this year which are a step above the usual pieces you see by everyone.
I gasped as the Grand Lange 1 “Lumen” came up on the screen during the presentation of the new watches. Featuring the brand’s signature outsize date, the Grand Lange 1 – inspired from Lange 1 – snatches your full attention with its attractive dial. The watch, which is limited to 200 pieces only in platinum cases, has a semi-transparent dial which exposes the ingenious mechanism of the first luminescent outsize date display by Lange. Parts of the dial consist of semi-transparent sapphire crystal. Only the outer ring and the surfaces of the displays for hours and minutes as well as small seconds are made of blackened silver. The sapphire crystal surfaces reveal the disc mechanism of the outsize date that glows in the dark. Additionally, the time and the power reserve are also legible in the dark.
Quite a bit of thought and prowess has gone behind ‘lighting’ this watch. The tens cross is coated with a white luminous compound and subsequently imprinted with black numerals, while the units disc consists of transparent glass imprinted with black numerals and rotating before a luminous background. The sapphire crystal sections of the dial are treated with a special coating that blocks most of the visible light. For the invisible UV light spectrum, however, the coating is not a barrier. Therefore, UV radiation can pass through the luminous surface unhindered. Due to this, interestingly, the wearer can see the perlage (a manually-created design effect), which was normally seen only by the watchmaker. The small, overlapping circular graining produced by hand using a rotating abrasive peg is usually concealed underneath the dial. I think explaining too much will spoil the charm. You have to see it to realize the magic…
The 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar is another awe-inspiring watch. With a rattrapante (fly back) chronograph, a perpetual calendar, a moon-phase display and a power-reserve indicator, it includes quite a few complications. And if that wasn’t enough, I am absolutely fascinated by the 410 stars which have been created in the moon-phase display with the moon made in solid gold.
Of the 636 parts of the calibre, more than 200 components are part of the perpetual calendar mechanism. It not only knows the durations of all months in a year, but also indicates all leap years until the year 2100, after which the date must be manually advanced by one day. The paired calendar indications are positioned at 9 and 3 o’clock. The subsidiary dial on the left indicates the date and the day of the week, the one on the right the month and the leap year. The moon-phase only needs to be corrected by one day every 122 years. Arabic numerals, a railway-track minute scale, gold and blued hands as well as four round subsidiary dials in a clover-leaf configuration characterise the design of the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, being placed in a platinum or pink gold case with a diameter of 41.9 mm.
The most powerful of all
The pride of the pack, however, is the Grand Complication. This masterpiece, which took seven years of research to be conceived, takes a year to be made. To be limited to six beautiful pieces only, there is quite an interest in this watch already, with only one piece fully prepared. Chiming mechanism with grand and small strike, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph with minute counter and jumping seconds as well as a perpetual calendar with moonphase display – the watch has everything a collector could want.
If we get into details, this watch demands an entire article. With its many virtues, it makes sense to sift through and control to whom the watch goes. So if you are interested in this Euro 1.9 million watch, you have to apply. And if Lange finds you appropriate, you can purchase the watch from them. Snobbish you’d say? I absolutely second this move, because not everybody can understand the glory that A. Lange & Soehne stands for…
While this is not the complete collection, I found these three to be the most awe-inspiring. The 1815 Up/Down and Saxonia models feature in this year’s collection, making a complete set, which can be considered by men and women both!