When it comes to watch movement development, we tend to see changes in incremental volumes, anticipating big announcements on specific anniversary years. But our friends at Lange, specifically director of product development Anthony de Haas, loves to throw us curveballs.
That’s what happened at the start of the year: we went in thinking all would be breezy and the big guns would be out in 2019 for its 25th anniversary revival (it was in ’94 that the first modern Lange pieces were presented) and boom, they offered up a Triple Split that just blew us away.
The split-seconds chronograph is long considered a challenge even for expert watchmakers. It requires impressively robust movements and even before the Triple Split, Lange already held the record for the Double Split, which allows one to split both the chronograph seconds and minutes. The new complication enables one to record lap differences with the hour counter as well.
De Haas realises, probably as much as you do, that unless you’re using your Triple Split to time the Tour de France, you’re not likely to need the split hours. But his philosophy of watchmaking has always been “why not” rather than why. Hence the Triple Split and our hearty applause for ingenious innovation on a classic complication.
Little Lange 1
Other highlights of the year include the Little Lange 1, with two new versions in white gold and one in rose gold, and all without diamonds or mother-of-pearl or other female-skewed aesthetics. Perhaps it’s a tacit acknowledgement of the need for androgyny in watch design, we don’t know. But it now sits at 36.8mm, in all honestly a size that can work for either gender. In mauve, anthracite and brown dials with matching straps, powered by the L121.1 calibre, it has all the bells and whistles of the Lange 1. We’re betting it’s as difficult to get as the Lange 1 — good luck.
Other pieces included additions and improvements to the Saxonia line, with a new Outsize Date to the collection. Essentially a classic Saxonia with small seconds and an added central outsized date display, it differs from the standard outsize dates of Lange. It bears white numerals on black date discs, so the display is seamless and uninterrupted.
The Saxonia Thin Copper Blue is a new variant with a copper blue dial that’s embedded with white copper oxide crystals that appear like stars on a starry sky. It adds a beautiful dreamy display to what’s usually a stark Lange dial, a nice anomaly.
The Datograph Up/Down “Lumen”
Finally there’s the recent release of the Datograph Lumen, the first illuminated Datograph watch. It bears the “Northern Lights” green lume that’s consistent with other Lange timepieces. The same translucent dial is used across the illuminated displays of Lange, allowing UV light to pass through to charge up the pigment.
It’s a spectacular watch both in the day and night time. Furthermore, the technology behind the display is pretty clever. The display absorbs most of the visible light spectrum while UV can pass through. And lubricants have been tested to ensure that UV has little or no impact on them, according to Lange.
Finally, there’s the 1815 Tourbillon with enamel dial, limited to only 100 pieces worldwide, truly a mix of classic aesthetics with smart tourbillon functions including the stop and zero reset functions integrated into the watch. The enamel dial, a blinding white with a red 12 o’clock index and the rest of the display painted in black, stands out.
From a product point, it’s hard to imagine what else could come out from Lange on the 25th anniversary of its first watch collection release. A complete “Pour Le Merite” set, perhaps? One can only hope.