A. Lange and Söhne: the power of discretion

Some brands elicit an emotion that defies expression. A. Lange & Söhne is one such brand. As a matter of principle, the religious silence that precedes the unveiling of its new models goes hand-in-hand with that which comes afterwards: a mix of respect and restraint. Thus the 2012 vintage stunned the audience into appreciative silence.
By : Mathilde Binetruy
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The message is delivered as a prelude to the press conference, in the form of a film about unhewn material, craftsmanship and innovation, and how all three have helped to forge the history of the brand. A. Lange & Söhne transcribes in images the emotion it seems incapable of expressing in any other way than through its actions. One can only nod in agreement on discovering the 2012 collection, which takes its essence from the past and renders it with even greater perfection. As the film reveals, a watch emerges from a raw material and A. Lange & Söhne knows how to extract its sap. It lays claim to the right to begin with nothing to end with a collection that forms a whole.

First the classic watches whose pure forms leave nothing to be desired. The Grande Lange 1 takes its cue from the Lange 1. Its revisited and no less perfect proportions have the makings of a true classic. The movement, the hand-wound L095.1 calibre, has been redeveloped for a watch that is more slender than ever. The Grand Lange 1 transposes the DNA of the brand's iconic model, launched in 1994, into another dimension. This same intention to capture an essence is evident in the Saxonia Thin family. After rose gold in 2011, this year the collection lends itself to white gold, with the same philosophy that less is more: two javelin-shaped hands for the hours and minutes, and twelve baton hour markers on a silver-coloured dial in solid silver. The thinnest watch crafted by the Glashütte Manufacture thus far - 5.9 mm high – it joins the ranks of timepieces whose longevity is assured in few words. At A. Lange & Söhne, sobriety is not akin to simplicity but concision.

Identity and modernity

A. Lange & Söhne makes another decisive contribution to this class of 2012 in the form of three technical watches which respond to the needs of twenty-first-century adventurers. One joins the company's favourite repertoire of chronographs. Building on the success of its Datograph, which for more than a decade has embodied the ideal instrument for measuring time, the brand has this year increased the power reserve to 60 hours, and incorporated a power-reserve indicator and an oscillating system which it developed in-house. The new Datograph Up/Down comes in a 41 mm case for those who like to divide their day. Inveterate travellers can look to the Lange 1 Time Zone whose dial keeps track of time at home while simultaneously displaying the hour in a second time zone by means of a rotating disc inscribed with the names of 24 cities, each representing the corresponding time zone.

For lovers of fine watchmaking, A. Lange & Söhne unveils two complications in a model in the Lange 1 style: the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. The tenth masterpiece in A. Lange & Söhne's most famous watch family, it vehicles fundamentally innovative mechanical solutions. The balanced layout of the dial gives away nothing of the technical complexity of this horological opus magnum, nor the immense efforts required to develop and build such a watch. As always, discretion is the masterword. Sobriety surrounds virtually each of the 2012 models from Lange & Söhne, but for the brand such praise would be malapropos. The Saxon mindset shuns the inhibitions and intricacies of horological language in favour of prose exempt from rhetorical devices. The collection speaks for itself.

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