This year’s presentation of the new A. Lange & Söhne timepieces in Geneva was very interesting. Seven new timepieces have been introduced, including an A. Lange & Söhne Grande Complication. However, one of the watches that surprised me most is this Grand Lange 1 “Lumen” or reference 117.035.
My initial thought was: “this is not a Lange”. Yes, it has the typical Lange 1 case and dial lay-out, but the use of luminous material (hence the name “Lumen”) for the Roman numerals, hour markers, hands and the power reserve indicator (“Auf & Ab”) set me on the wrong path at first.
Normally, I associate these heavily lumed timepieces to sports watches. Effective use of luminous material on a diving watch or a chronograph would make more sense than to use noticeable amounts of it on a more formal timepiece. So, to be honest, my first impression was that the Grand Lange 1 Lumen was a bit of a stranger in the collection of fine A. Lange & Söhne watches.
After I got home from the tight-scheduled SIHH 2013 I went through all the pictures I took and the press material I received from the brands. A second, or perhaps, third look at the A. Lange & Söhne Grand 1 Lange Lumen changed my initial ideas about this watch. Drastically, I might add. I won’t go as far as to say this is a sporty Grand Lange 1, but it does draw attention to those who are definitely interested in this high-end brand from Glashütte, but found them a bit too classical for their taste.
The ref. 117.035 Grand Lange 1 Lumen is an interesting watch that combines functionality & modern looks with high-end watchmaking from Glashütte. I think that this Grand Lange 1 Lumen will attract a new type of consumer to the most impressive haute horlogerie brand from Germany.
The dark coloured semi-transparent dial revealing bits and pieces of the movement on the dial side (like the date discs) looks very interesting, but also serves a purpose. The UV light will charge all luminous parts that are covered by the semi-transparent dial. Once the date numeral will appear in the date aperture, it will immediately start to glow.
For the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Lumen, the relative new movement caliber L095.2 has been used. This manual wind caliber has been designed in such manner, that the overall height of the movement has been reduced without having to make any compromises with regards to the complications of the Lange 1 timepiece.
Furthermore, the new A. Lange & Söhne L095.2 movement ensures that there is no overlap with regards to the hour, minute, second, date and power reserve indicators. Personally, I find this to be a big pro. How many times do you see that sub dials are being overlapped by each other, a date aperture cutting a square out of a sub dial or an unreadable power reserve because of a minute hand that is located just above it. More common: a minute hand that overlaps the date aperture. Some brands try to fix this using a date aperture that shows 3 dates at the same time, but that’s quite a pragmatic solution that doesn’t belong to watches in this category.
Having a view on the top side of the L095.2 movement is interesting already, but the sapphire case back of the Grand Lange 1 Lumen reveals the most interesting mechanical parts of course. The 3/4 main plate (a Glashütte tradition), the 7 gold chatons for the rubies, blued screws and the beautiful hand-engraved balance cock are a feast for the eyes of the wearer.
The L.095.2 movement consists of 400 parts and has a power reserve of 72 hours. As you could see on the first picture (click for a larger version), the watch features a decentral hour and minute indicator, a sub dial at 5 o’clock for the seconds, a power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock and a big date indicator at 1 o’clock. The date is being advanced by a pusher at 10 o’clock.
Only 200 pieces are being made of the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Lumen, all in platinum. The case has a diameter of 40.9mm and a height of 9.8mm. List price of the Grand Lange 1 Lumen reference 117.035 is 59.000 Euro.
More information: www.alange-soehne.com
Article written by Robert-Jan Broer for www.fratellowatches.com.