A. Lange & Söhne in its most current form was revived after the unification of the two sides of Germany 1990. Started originally in 1845, Lange as a brand has had a rich history of technical achievements with clientele that rivaled their Swiss counterparts, before unfortunately closing their doors in 1948. Lange ultimately stood the test of time, and with their reintroduction to the world 25 years ago we saw the introduction of a lineup that highlighted the workmanship of German watchmaking. In celebration of their silver jubilee, Lange took the opportunity to use one of their most iconic platforms, creating the Lange 1 25th anniversary 191.066.
Over the past quarter century there have been a few references of the Lange 1 produced, each with their unique features. Each one of those references added up to this icon becoming something rather special among collectors. For this occasion we see a combination of features from different Lange 1s over the years (i.e. hunter caseback, argenté dial, blued hands) brought together to make a ‘greatest hits’ of the Lange 1.
When we talk about special editions, we sometimes think to Beanie babies or Hummel figurines. They usually involve some gimmick or collaboration with the flavor of the month. Lange as a company is not really known for doing such special editions and variants of their watches (looking at you Mr. Speedmaster). In celebration of this occasion, we have here the first of the offerings for the anniversary series. The Lange 1 was one of the main watches that were offered in the reintroduction of the brand, and it is rather fitting to see that celebration with this watch.
Upon the initial launch of the Lange 1 it sported the L901, which on paper does the same thing as the updated movement, but that’s about where the similarities end. In 2015, Lange updated the movement to the L121.1, which is what we find inside of the jubilee. With the updated movement the entire layout of the ¾ plate was redone, the balance was repositioned, and a new in-house balance wheel was introduced. The L121.1 also featured a new date mechanism, so the date changes instantaneously upon striking midnight. Under the hunter caseback we see the trademark hand engraving on the balance bridge, this time featuring Lange’s signature outsized date with ‘25’ in the blue to bring contrast and tie back to the features on the dial.
To demarcate the jubilee, the Lange 1 191.066, features a rich blue font throughout and is accented nicely against the argenté (Silver) dial. This motif is continued onto the date discs. The choice of using a more uniform colour throughout highlights the warmth and the difference in finishing within the dial. On the dial printed in an arc is ‘Doppelfederhaus’, meaning double barrel in German, does exactly what it says on the tin.
On a full wind the L121.1 will run for 72 hours, and if you don’t happen to get back to the watch before the watch stops running, the L121.1 packs a nifty party trick. When the watch is out of power, the second hand will return to zero for accurate time setting when you pick it up again.
A watch like the Lange 1 would lead you to believe that it would be much thicker than the 10.7mm would suggest. While it is thicker than the general releases of 9.8mm, it is far less thick than what it would suggest on paper. The watch itself is deceivingly large from photos, because of the way that the dial is laid out and the variety of finishes playing with the light. However the Lange 1 is only 38.5mm, which helps with the wear ability either as a daily watch or in a collection. Limited to 250 pieces and an MSRP of €43,700, if you were to add any Lange to a collection this should be the one.