A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst Celebrates 20 Years of Lange 1

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Tourbillon HandwerkskunstWho says you can’t go home again? Horological history repeated itself last week at Dresden’s Royal Palace, where A. Lange & Söhne introduced the limited-edition Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst, a watch made to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Saxon brand’s iconic Lange 1 watch, which debuted at the same venue two decades prior.

October 24, 1994, marked the rebirth of the A. Lange & Söhne watch brand, founded in Glashütte, in the German state of Saxony near Dresden, in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolphe Lange. Dormant since 1948, after the post-War occupation of East Germany by the Soviet Union, the brand was resurrected by the founder’s great grandson, Walter Lange, in the German reunification year of 1990. It was four years from the foundation of the modern-day A. Lange & Sohne brand to the release of its first collection, which took place at the Royal Palace of Dresden and was headlined by the timepiece that would become the company’s unquestioned flagship: the Lange 1. The much-anticipated new 20th anniversary watch, which had been announced but whose details had been kept strictly under wraps by A. Lange & Söhne, was finally unveiled to a packed house of international watch journalists and notable Lange collectors and enthusiasts on October 24th in Dresden. It was an extremely limited (just 20 pieces) new version of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst (the term “handwerkskunst” is German for “craftsmanship” and used by Lange only on watches with an exceptional level of hand decoration; other models have included the Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst.)

The most noteworthy features of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst are its one-minute tourbillon with stop-seconds function, its black enamelled dial, and the exquisite artisanal finishes on its movement.

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst - angle

The main dial is made of white gold, coated in shiny black enamel, which contrasts appealingly with the mirror-polished hour markers and rhodium-finished gold hands. The tourbillon cock, visible in an aperture on the dial, boasts the challenging specular polishing technique, while the contours of the aperture itself are chamfered and painstakingly hand-polished. The small seconds subdial is made of solid silver and slightly recessed into main dial. The outsize date — an important element on all Lange 1 watches — harmonizes seamlessly with the color scheme, with gray numerals on black backgrounds visible through the double window at 1 o’clock.

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst - dial CU


The manufacture movement in the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst — manual-wind Lange Caliber L961.3, is visible through a sapphire caseback and offers as much, if not more, of a visual tableau as does the dial, and demonstrates how this timepiece has earned its “Handwerkskunst” designation. The solarized three-quarters mainplate made of untreated German silver (a hallmark of Lange movements and, in fact, of traditional Saxon watchmaking in general) features large cutouts that offer a glimpse of the twin mainspring barrels (“doppelfederhaus” in German, as seen on the dial), which store the watch’s 72-hour power reserve. Hand engraving is evident on elements such as the tourbillon bridge, crown wheel, and intermediate wheel cocks. Seven screwed gold chatons and two diamond endstone bearings — the latter a traditional decorative flourish used in pocketwatch movements by Ferdinand Adolph Lange to indicate their premium level of quality — are also on display. All told, Caliber L961.3 contains 51 jewels, including the two diamonds, and 378 total parts. It uses a lever escapement and its shock-resistant screw balance, with Lange’s in-house-manufactured balance spring, oscillates at 21,600 vph.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst - back


The tourbillon in this Lange timepiece is also far from standard, incorporating the patented stop-seconds mechanism developed by Lange watchmakers and presented in a watch (The Lange Cabaret Tourbillon) for the first time in 2008. This unprecedented mechanism immobilizes the balance wheel inside the rotating tourbillon cage, enabling the wearer of the watch to stop and reset the watch with to-the-second accuracy — the first time this had ever been accomplished in a watch with a tourbillon. Ticking off the final box on the list of Lange 1 accoutrements is the “Auf/Ab” (up/down) power-reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. The hand-polished, platinum case of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is 38.5 mm in diameter; it comes on a black hand-stitched crocodile strap with a deployant clasp, also made of platinum. The watch will be sold exclusively at A. Lange & Söhne boutiques and priced at $221,700.

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst - front
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  1. Debashish

    Timepieces created by A. Lange & Söhne are truly outstanding, unfortunately, these watches are beyond my means and I cannot afford to buy them.

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