Released as part of a trio of watches to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding of Ferdinand A. Lange’s first pocketwatch workshop in Glashütte, this is the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Thin Honeygold, a two-hand watch in a limited edition of 175 pieces with a white enamel dial, special movement finissage, and cased in the brand’s proprietary gold alloy.
For those unfamiliar with the Glashütte story, here’s a quick recap: On December 7, 1845, a 30-year-old journeyman watchmaker from Dresden named Ferdinand Adolph Lange established his atelier in the Saxon town of Glashütte in eastern Germany. Three years later, he would become the mayor of the town. Glashütte flourished as Germany’s watchmaking hub producing high quality pocketwatches and marine chronometers right up to the end of World War II.
After the war, the East German government nationalised the town’s many watchmaking companies into one state-run enterprise called the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). Post the reunification of Germany in 1990, the GUB was dismantled and marked for privatisation and would lead to the re-establishment of A. Lange & Söhne and spawn the birth of brands like Glashütte Original, Moritz Grossman, and Nomos. In less than two decades, the town would re-establish itself as the heart of German watchmaking again. Such is the town’s reputation that folks like master watchmaker and industry legend Philippe Dufour reckon Glashütte, not Switzerland, is the new reference for fine watchmaking.
As part of its 175th anniversary romp, A. Lange & Söhne has unveiled three limited-edition timepieces that share the epithet “Homage to F. A. Lange” – the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold, the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold and the 1815 Thin Honeygold. As is obvious now, all three watches belong to Lange’s most classically-styled watch collection, the 1815 – the name is a reference to the founder’s year of birth is characterized by traditional style elements: three-quarter plates for the movements; blued hands, Arabic numerals and the railway-track minute scale on the dial.
The case of the 1815 Thin Honeygold is 38 mm wide and just 6.3 mm thick. The hands, buckle, and case are made from 18 carat honey gold, a proprietary alloy that’s tougher than regular gold and has a warm sheen. Hard to machine, this gold alloy is only used on the brand’s most exclusive watches, it was first used in 2010 on the three watches that were part of Lange’s 165th anniversary celebrations. So far, only eight limited editions have been cased in this gold alloy.
Deserving of the occasion, the watch is fitted with a brilliant white two-part enamel dial. Lange now has two enamel artisans in-house, but according to Anthony De Haas, director of product development, they have roped in external artisans to keep up the pace of production. The Arabic numerals and the classic railway-track minute scale printed in dark grey contrast well against the white of the dial.
The watch is powered by the manufacture Caliber L093.1, a hand-cranked 2.9-mm thick movement that’s been used previously in the Saxonia Thin. All three movements pay homage to the style of finishing seen in F. A. Lange’s pocketwatches. So instead of the regular Glashütte ribbing (the striped pattern seen on the German silver bridges), the three-quarter plate has a granular surface texture found in historic Lange pocket watches. The crown and ratchet wheels are visibly integrated in the train bridge and decorated with circular graining. Also visible are the gold chatons secured by three thermally blued screws. The engraving on the plate and balance cock are black-rhodiumed, a concession to modernity.
The 167-part movement has a power reserve of 72 hours and the free oscillating balance wheel oscillates at 3 Hz (21,600 vph). The watch is fitted with a dark brown leather strap with a honey gold buckle and as mentioned before, is limited to 175 pieces and is priced at €33,000.