As the curtain comes down on 2020 — which, in addition to everything else that will make it memorable for better or worse, is the 175th anniversary of watchmaking in the German town of Glashütte — A. Lange & Söhne has unveiled three new timepieces in commemoration of the milestone and of its founder’s pivotal role in it.
The modern A. Lange & Söhne was established in 1990, the result of a partnership between watch-industry entrepreneur Gunter Blümlein and Walter Lange, great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the Dresden-born watchmaker who founded his family watchmaking atelier in Glashütte in 1845. The foundation of the original Lange firm spurred the growth of an entire fine watchmaking industry in the German state of Saxony, and the Saxonia watch family — one of the first contemporary collections introduced by A. Lange & Söhne, in 1994 — pays tribute to this legacy with its classically proportioned, elegant designs and precision movements. The newest models hail from the Saxonia Thin and Saxonia Outsize Date sub-families.
The special 2020 edition of the Saxonia Thin is limited to 50 pieces in a white gold case measuring 40 mm in diameter and. as per its name, a svelte 6.2 mm thick. Its solid silver dial is coated with a “subtly shimmering” black gold flux whose tiny spangles sparkle on its deep black surface. The production process for gold flux, a type of glass with copper constituents, was discovered in Venice in the 17th century, and involves heating copper until it forms microscopically small crystals. Casting the dials to ensure they retain a homogeneous surface requires a high level of caution from the watchmakers. The simple two-hand display uses white gold for its slender hands and baton-style hour appliqués.
The movement inside the Saxonia Thin is Lange’s manually wound Caliber L093.1, with a diameter of 28 mm and a thickness of just 2.9 mm. In the traditions of Saxon haute horlogerie, it uses a three-quarter mainplate made of German silver and enhanced with Glashütte ribbing and chamfered and polished edges. Its gold chatons are secured with thermally blued screws, and the wheels sport a sunray finish. The movement features an indexless oscillation system, which beats at a 21,600-vph frequency, and stores on an ample power reserve of 72 hours. The balance cock boasts a hand-engraved finish. The Saxonia Thin is presented on a shiny black leather strap and retails for $25,800.
The latest editions of the Saxonia Outsize Date offer two distinct executions, both in 38.5-mm gold cases. One is in 18k white gold with rhodiumed gold hands, the other in 18k rose gold with hands in the same precious metal. The former comes mounted on a black alligator leather strap, the latter on a red-brown alligator strap, each with a matching gold pin buckle.
The solid silver argenté dials feature the same chamfered, polished gold baton hour markers and hands as the Saxonia Thin, as well as two additional elements that contribute to the watch’s symmetrical look: a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock and the emblematic large (“outsize”) date display at 12 o’clock. This type of display, which has been a hallmark of Lange watches since 1994, is noteworthy for its gold-framed double aperture and its space-saving configuration, in which two separate disks are employed to display units and tens.
Behind a sapphire exhibition caseback ticks the self-winding Caliber L086.8, whose complex date mechanism required adding an additional 77 parts to the base Caliber L086.1, which powers the dateless Saxonia Automatic models. Its large central rotor incorporates ball bearings and a platinum centrifugal mass for efficient winding, and its mainspring barrel holds a maximum power reserve of 72 hours. The movement’s classic screw balance and freely oscillating balance spring are both manufactured in-house. Like its thinner sibling inside the Saxonia Thin, it features the decorated three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver and the hand-engraved balance cock with an elegantly curved whiplash spring for precision beat adjustment.
Both the white-gold and rose-gold versions of the Saxonia Outsize Date are priced at $27,700.