Hands-on with the Lang 1943 Field Watch Edition One

While the name Lang 1943 might indicate that we are dealing here with an old and established brand, it is, in fact, one of the more recent additions to the watch world. The name and year are dedicated to Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, born in 1943, and to many best known for founding Chronoswiss. Before that, he worked next to Jack Heuer in the glory days of this brand. Lang was very passionate about mechanical watchmaking, which also came forward at the founding of Chronoswiss in 1983, a time when not many thought mechanical timekeepers would have much of a future. Lang thought differently, which also comes forward out of the fact that at the height of the quartz crisis, he bought large numbers of mechanical movements from brands that went bankrupt, including the respected brand Marvin. While he used a portion of them in Chronoswiss models, mainly the Orea, others remained in his possession, even after he sold Chronoswiss in 2012.

Those movements now fuel the new brand Lang 1943, the brainchild of an industry-insider and a close friend of Lang, Georg Bartkowiak. On his shoulders rests the task of building Lang 1943 into a brand that continues the legacy of Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, who unfortunately passed away earlier this year. If their first timepiece, Field Watch Edition One, is a promise for that future, it is going to be a bright one. You could call this watch a homage to vintage field watches, heavy-duty timepieces that came forward out of the timepieces worn by soldiers during WWI and WWII. To me, it returns more to the essence of the sports watch. One that a gentleman-connoisseur could have chosen decades ago when enjoying horseback riding or racing his Bentley on dirt roads.

Above all, the Field Watch Edition One is a beautiful representation of sportive elegance. With a diameter of 39 mm, and a thickness of 8.40 mm, the timepiece is beautifully proportioned. The shape of the case and the lugs is organic, and the more you wear it, the more you start to appreciate it. As Lang 1943 opted to have the case fully brushed to honor the true spirit of the field watch, the angles are not always that obvious. This gives the Field Watch Edition One a slightly understated look but also creates harmony with the dial.

The dial impresses with bold Arabic numerals and a railroad track with prominent markers per five minutes. These are all finished in old-radium-colored Swiss Super-Luminova, just as the syringe-styled hands. They go very well with the black-to-grey sunray-brushed fumé finish of the dial, which shows lots of beige. The subdial for the seconds, located at six o’clock, is a nice contrast with this, as it is matt black and slightly recessed. Because Lang 1943 decided not to extend the cross hair decoration over the full subdial, it looks optically larger than it actually is. The crown also deserves a special mention, as it is kept relatively modest, which increases wearing comfort, while large grooves ensure that this doesn’t mean the ease of operating isn’t compromised.

The caseback shows a rare sight, as here you get to admire caliber L43.1, visible through the sapphire insert. It is based on a vintage Marvin 700 movement, which originates from the 1960s and comes from the personal stock of Gerd-Rüdiger Lang. The movement is completely refinished and rebuild and delights with its beautiful bridge lay-out, gold chatons for the rubies, and beautiful Geneva stripping. While being old, it doesn’t mean that it is lacking in performance. The caliber runs at 3 Hz/21,600 vph and has a healthy power reserve of 46 hours.

Lang 1943 delivers the Field Watch Edition One with two straps, one in brown calfskin, the other in a beige woven texture strap. The first gives the timepiece that classic, rugged field watch look, while the latter highlights the watch its qualities in a more contemporary way. Both come with a beautiful designed tang buckle, as well as quick-release spring bars, meaning that you can go from one look to another in a matter of seconds. It is all delivered in a robust Pelican case, staying once again true to the spirit of the field watch while making one splendid homage to Gerd-Rüdiger Lang’s legacy and perpetuating this into the future. The Lang 1943 Field Watch Edition One is priced at €3,500, or about $3,800 USD at time of writing.

For more information, visit Lang 1943, here.

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  1. Be careful with double negatives. They cancel each other out. When you write it doesn’t mean that operating isn’t compromised, you are actually saying that it is.

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