The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Just Got Better…
Some brands have icons. What we mean by that is a particular model that has not only stood the test of time but also come to define not just the brand but also an entire market segment. Sure, the term is grossly overused, but when using it to describe the Lange 1, there can be no doubt — we are in the presence of an icon. What makes the Lange 1 family different from, say, the Rolex Datejust or Submariner is exactly how much variation there is within it. The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is really a model in its own right, and this particular iteration lives up to the long and prestigious history that came before it.
From a distance, the models within the A. Lange & Söhne collection seem not to have changed that much since the brand’s relaunch in the nineties. However, up close, the changes are apparent. The subtle refinement of each model’s focal points is a joy to behold. Tiny updates — some technical, some aesthetical — have been amounting over the past few years to result in something very special indeed.
New kid in town
You could be forgiven for thinking these two new models are nothing more than chromatic updates to the existing line. The biggest, most obvious changes are to the colorways. Here we have an 18-karat rose gold case with a gray solid-silver dial (above) and a beautiful white gold limited edition with a solid pink gold dial (as seen on 2019’s Datograph limited edition) below.
However, there is, once again, more to these updates than seems to meet the eye upon first glance. Followers of Lange will be aware of the charming day/night indicator introduced to the Lange 1 Moonphase a couple of years ago. This new system replaced the need for a dedicated dial or arrow on the dial to indicate which side of the 24-hour clock we were working with. Instead, a graduated blue disc sits beneath the moonphase “disc”, cooly imitating the color of the sky above as the day wends through its daylight hours toward the night.
Aside from the simply gorgeous day/night indicators presence, shifting to this system negates the need for the small day/night indicator that had previously called the 6 o’clock point of the time-telling sub-dial home. This cleans up a dial that is further rebalanced by altering the orientation of the moonphase aperture from the bottom left third to the upper third.
A refined classic
All in all, these two references mark a continued refinement of the Lange 1 perpetual. This journey began 20 years ago with the Langematik Perpetual. Seven subsequent models were released. These included complications such as a chronograph, a tourbillon, or both. Those models have come and gone, leading us to this satisfyingly comprehensive entry in the catalog.
The clever thing about the Lange perpetual is, of course, its peripheral month indicator. This allows for the classic Lange 1 layout to remain unimpeded. Returning the moonphase aperture to a more “upright” position looks more comfortable to my eye. Additionally, the absence of the small, somewhat finicky day/night indicator on the time-telling sub-dial is nothing but a plus.
The gradient day/night disc is a thing of beauty. It has, since its debut, been the thing I look forward to most on new watches from A. Lange & Söhne. Here, it is a welcome addition. It makes an incredibly wearable watch (41.9mm by 12.1mm) even more enticing. Powered by A. Lange & Söhne’s self-winding L021.3 caliber, the new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar has a power reserve of 50 hours, an operating frequency of 21,600vph, and will not need its calendar resetting until 2100, nor its moonphase complication for 122.6 years. The price for this wizardry? Reference 345.033 (rose gold) is €98,000. Reference 345.056 (limited to 150 pieces) is priced at a fresh €109,000. Learn more about this and other Lange masterpieces on the brand’s official site.