Watches today are becoming chunkier and more colourful, moving away from the appearance typical of a functional, scientific, practical timepiece. This is not the case for A. Lange & Söhne, whose watches retain their timeless, sober style, and, whatever their value, remain pieces that could be worn during everyday life without raising eyebrows. They are watches for cognoscenti.
Another hallmark is user-friendliness. In the 1815 Annual Calendar, this is provided by an orderly dial layout, with date and days shown with analogue hands on the left, months on the right, moon phase and continuous seconds below. The red 1 on the date ring reminds you that on 1st March you have to adjust the watch. It’s an annual calendar, and so keeps track of the different lengths of month, except for the leap year cycle. It treats February as a 30-day month and so every year it needs adjustment on 1st March. The moon phase display is accurate to one day’s deviation in 122.6 years, and so once this has been set up, it won’t need any adjustment for a while.
Rapid simultaneous calendar adjustment
And if the watch stops? The button at 2 o’clock is one of the user-friendly features: by pressing it, you can advance all the calendar and moon phase indications day by day, so you can quickly bring it up to date. Four more recessed pushers make it possible to correct day, date, month and moon phase separately.
The L051.3 calibre is hand-wound, slim at 5.7 mm. This enables the watch to be relatively slender at 10.1 mm, thin enough to slide under a shirt sleeve. It is 40 mm in diameter, with alligator strap and pin buckle. The view through the sapphire caseback has all the features of A. Lange & Söhne’s Saxony watchmaking, with three-quarter plate, Glashütte stripes, beautiful engraving, and three lovely gold screwed chatons. The balance runs at 3 Hertz, 21,600 vibrations per hour, and the movement provides 72 hours’ power reserve, 3 days. Enough to keep it going when you leave it at home for the weekend.
A. Lange & Söhne: there’s nothing else like it. The only other brand that comes close is their next-door neighbour Glashütte Original. Lange is part of the Richemont Group, Glashütte Original is owned by Swatch Group. But they share a lot of history.
Prices and references
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar in white gold is reference 238.026, price €39,500 inclusive of VAT. The 1815 Annual Calendar in rose gold is reference 238.032, same price of €39,500. The 1815 Annual Calendar in platinum costs €52,000.