The Newest A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 is Insanely Clever

A. Lange & Söhne, as Anthony de Haas, the brand’s longtime Director of Product Development likes to say, is for watch nerds. This statement is both accurate and entirely complimentary. As one of the world’s most revered watch brands, A. Lange & Söhne produces an extremely limited number of watches each year, employs no celebrity ambassadors, and is beloved by collectors who appreciate their unabashedly technical approach to watchmaking. From their hard-to-pronounce name (it’s ah long und zonnah to those in the know) to their incredibly complicated German-made movements, there’s no other maker quite like it.

While more people might be familiar with the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus, the brand’s quirky integrated bracelet sport watch that received a new chronograph movement earlier this year at Watches & Wonders, the true fan favourite is the Lange 1. Released in 1994, when the brand rose from the ashes after a long period of hibernation, the watch’s unusual dial layout and oversized date function became a paradigm for A. Lange & Söhne’s future creations. The latest of these is the Lange 1 Time Zone in 950 platinum. 

A. Lange & Söhne’s Lange One inside look

The Lange 1 Time Zone was first launched in 2005 and relaunched in 2020 with the new in-house calibre L141.1. The 2023 platinum edition joins previous iterations in rose gold and white gold, but it doesn’t mark any major technical departures from the previous one. It does, however, deserve a closer look purely on the merits of having one of the coolest movements of any world timer out there.

Like most world-time watches, the Lange 1 features a ring of 24 reference cities (one for each of the world’s 24 time zones) around its bezel. Due to the Lange 1’s unconventional layout, however, this doesn’t greatly reduce the visibility of the four other complications displayed on the dial. This includes a home time dial (and perhaps the tiniest small seconds subdial ever made) as well as a smaller dial displaying a second time zone. Look closer and you’ll notice each of those dials is also equipped with a blue half circle, which rotates to indicate day vs night. You’ll also find Lange’s signature big date undiminished, along with their unapologetically German power reserve indicator (ab/auf = up/down).

When the corrector button at 8 o’clock is pressed, the city ring around the bezel rotates by one time zone. At the same time, the hour hand in the second time zone dial advances by an hour to display the correct time in the city indicated by the small arrow at 5 o’clock. Still with us? Because, as Ron Popeil would say (and you know Ron would be a Lange guy), wait there’s more! The little arrow also features a small indicator that tells you if the time zone you’re looking at observes daylight-saving time by turning red.

Finally, the Lange 1 Time Zone features an ingenious synchronization mechanism that allows the second time to be transferred from the smaller dial to the larger one. Perhaps best to let Lange’s engineers tackle this one: 

A. Lange & Söhne’s Lange One dial close up

“When the crown is pulled in the second position, the times of both zones can be adjusted synchronously. However, if the time-zone correction button is pressed and held, the hour hand of the zone-time dial will be stopped in its position. Now, the defined new main time can be set independently of the zone time. Finally, it may be necessary to correct the outsize date, which is connected with main time, by actuating the date correction button at 10 o’clock.”

If, after reading that, you immediately started scouring the internet for a Lange 1 of your own, you’re just the kind of watch nerd that A. Lange & Söhne is made for.

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