The new A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Annual Calendar (refs. 330.026 and 330.032) 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 is totally justified given the materials used and the expertise invested in 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 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 production facilities to make watches in what I understand is a full production cycle -from a compact slab of metal into what is essentially a masterpiece- the brand is now capable of churning out 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 Saxonia Annual Calendars was only a matter of time. And, frankly speaking, I am glad that it was the Saxonia line that was updated: 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 Saxonia Annual Calendar comes powered by their recently developed L085.1 SAX-0-MAT automatic movement. Designed and built 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 falls back or springs forward to zero depending on whether it is between 0 and 30 or 30 and 60 seconds position.
Being an Annual Calendar, the dial can show the current date, day of the week, month and even moon phase. It is not a perpetual calendar, so you will have to adjust the mechanism only once a year, which is, let’s face it, still 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 nothing but wonderful for an automatic watch.
See also: A. Lange & Sohne 1 Daymatic
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Annual Calendar 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: White gold (Ref. 330.026) or Pink gold (Ref. 330.032)
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire crystal
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