Some 22 years ago, on October 24, 1994, something remarkable happened: the great name of A. Lange & Söhne was resurrected. This took place at the Dresden Castle, where Walter Lange along with Günter Blümein presented the first modern collections of A. Lange & Söhne. The very first collections consisted of the now iconic Lange 1, the Saxonia, the Arkade, and the superlative Tourbillon Pour le Merite. To celebrate this momentous occasion and to mark the 22nd anniversary of A. Lange & Söhne’s revival, the company has just released the Lange 1 Time Zone in Honey Gold, a special-edition piece that will be limited to just 100 pieces.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone has always been one of the most popular models in the Lange 1 family since its introduction in 2005. And it’s not difficult to see why. Keeping the key design elements of the Lange 1 intact, the Lange 1 Time Zone adds to it the very functional and practical second timezone complication, that’s indicated as a sub-dial at 5 o’clock.
Longtime fans of A. Lange & Söhne will know that “Honey Gold” is a very special material for the brand, and it’s only used for their special and exclusive models. Most recently, it was used in the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 ‘200th Anniversary F.A. Lange’ watch, which was limited to just 200 pieces.
Honey Gold is an 18k gold alloy that is proprietary to the brand and unique for two reasons. The first is that it is harder than regular gold alloys that are used in watches. It has a hardness rating of over 300 Vickers, while most gold alloys used in watches have a rating that is typically between 150 to 290.
The second thing that makes Honey Gold special is its color. It has a soft, almost mellow, gold hue that is hard to place. I guess the most accurate way to picture it is that its hue is somewhere between regular yellow gold and rose gold. It’s very unusual and feels special, and it is unlike any other gold that is used in watches. For this special edition piece, A. Lange & Söhne has not messed about with the basics, so the case diameter has been kept at 41.9mm – the same as the regular production A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone watches.
The use of Honey Gold in the case construction aside, what’s also unique about the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone in Honey Gold is the dial – specifically, the cities ring. In the regular Lange 1 Time Zone watches, Central European Time is represented by Berlin. But in this limited edition watch, Berlin has been replaced by Dresden. In addition, the GMT indicator is now rendered in blue instead of red. And the peripheral ring of the second timezone, which used to be black, is now rendered in the same blue hue of the GMT indicator as well. The dial is solid silver, while the various appliqués are also rendered in matching honey gold.
About the wrist, the 43mm-wide and whopping 16.6mm-thick platinum instance is a hefty, heavy beast. It wears nice, but the burden of the case and the ~1,400 components inside it do make for one very hefty watch. Weapons grade, I believe is the term. Few watches make me feel invincible, but that one did in its strange way — as it, in all fairness, is a delicate thing.Without a shadow of a doubt, Lange is a powerhouse in contemporary watchmaking — that the flippin’ Death Star that slowly moves in the vast horological space, filled with little planets of gloomy but strangely likable brands. If absolute engineering awesomeness and high quality of implementation could somehow permit a A. Lange & Sohne Pilot Watch to shoot lasers, I’d expect to see a Lange do it first — and there is no purpose to coming second in that game, is there?The Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour le Mérite’ is yet another weapon at the manufacture’s armada that testifies to the excellence and nearly terrifying know-how of Lange — and for this, I respect it without a morsel of reservation. But, strangely, for the same reasons, somehow it’s still overshadowed by other pieces in Lange’s range which are, in their own ways, both impressive, but much more Lange. Think of any of these three incredible Zeitwerks (hands-on here), the badass Lange 1 Lumen (hands-on) or, of course, that the Datograph.After all is done and said, seeing the Tourbograph Perpetual hands was a memorable and fantastic encounter, as it damn well should be for any authentic watch enthusiast — but why I am awaiting SIHH 2018 would be to see more Lange 1s and Zeitwerks, not just muscle-flexing, no matter how impressive it is.
Driving the Pre-owned A Lange & Sohne Watches is the in-house-made caliber L031.1, which features A. Lange & Söhne’s extremely high standards of finishing. Like all other Lange calibers, the L031.1 has plates and bridges made out of untreated German silver, and the balance cock and intermediate-wheel cock are both engraved by hand. Power reserve is a very respectable 72 hours, and the entire caliber consists of 417 parts.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone in Honey Gold also comes with a matching dark brown alligator strap with a honey gold prong buckle. All in all, this is a very attractive special edition A. Lange & Sohne Pilot Watch of one of Lange’s most popular and practical models, and I’m sure it will be warmly received by collectors. As mentioned previously, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone will be limited to just 100 pieces, so don’t be surprised if they have all already been accounted for. Price is $64,300. alange-soehne.com