The new A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Annual Calendar (refs. 330.026 and 330.032) wristwatch combines a high-tech Lange L085.1 SAX-0-MAT self-winding mechanism with an eye-wateringly elegant compact case that is available white and rose gold alloys respectively. Although the minimum retail price suggested by the manufacturer is nothing but brutal, I must admit that it seems totally justified given the materials used and the expertise invested into making the gadget.
The German watchmaking brand A. Lange & Sohne went a long way into becoming a true Manufacture that would be able to compete with the finest Swiss-based watchmaking houses. By investing lots of hard cash and human knowledge (and, of course, receiving a lot of help from Richemont SA that owns the brand together with such crown jewels as IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Panerai) into developing the most complicated movements, as well as building their own production facilities in order to make watches in what I understand is a full production cycle -from a compact slab of metal into what is essentially a watchmaking masterpiece- the brand is now capable of churning out absolutely mesmerizing pieces of work not just from time to time, but on a regular (!) basis.
So, a new addition to their comprehensive collection of beautiful timekeepers of this new A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Annual Calendar automatic wristwatch was only a matter of time. And, frankly speaking, I am glad that it was the Saxonia line that was update: by successfully combining elegant exterior appearance with intelligent design of its, um, data representation interface (yes, I am talking about the solid silver dial,) the German brand has created a true must-have for any serious enthusiast.
A little bit of total disclosure here: when it comes to dressy watches, I am a sucker for Lange. Okay, now that I have said it I can more or less safely admit that my heart is bleeding when I read a torrent of press releases issued by the German manufacture.
I mean, some of these models cost like a decent three-bedroom suburbian house and are still out of my reach especially now, when the global financial crisis finally starts showing its ugly face (Yeah, I think this is just the beginning of the real crisis and Greece is just one of the first real countries to call it quits on its enormous sovereign debt. God, I wish I was too pessimistic about this.) Let’s get down to business, though.
The new A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Annual Calendar comes powered by their recently developed L085.1 SAX-0-MAT automatic movement. Designed and built totally in-house, decorated and assembled by hand, this terrific example of German ingenuity sports Lange’s Zero-Reset function that makes the small second hand at 6 o’clock either fall back or spring forward to zero depending whether it is between 0 and 30 or 30 and 60 seconds position.
Being an Annual Calendar, the watch is able to show current date, day of week, month and even moon phase. It is not a perpetual calendar, so you will have to adjust the watch once a year, which is, let’s face it, still rather annoying. On the other hand, a perpetual calendar with leap year function would be a lot more expensive and more demanding to proper servicing, too.
The movement seats inside a rather compact white (Ref. 330.026) or pink gold (Ref. 330.032) case 38.5 mm in diameter and only 9.8 mm in height, which is really wonderful for an automatic watch.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
See also: A. Lange & Sohne 1 Daymatic
Photos: A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Annual Calendar watch specification
Price range: $50,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber Lange L085.1 SAX-0-MAT, automatic, 476 parts, 43 jewels, 21,600 vph, in-house, 5.4 mm high, 30.4 mm in diameter, Made in Germany
Complications: Annual calendar, date, day-of-week, month, moonphase, stop seconds
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case material: White gold (Ref. 330.026) or Pink gold (Ref. 330.032)
Bezel material: White gold or Pink gold
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire crystal caseback
Case size: 38.50 mm
Case height: 9.80 mm
Dial: Solid silver
Hands: Rhodiumed pink gold or Blued steel
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap, Lange prong buckle in solid white or pink gold
Water resistance: 30 meters