Offered by the German brand to the most discerning of their customers, the 2010 A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Luminous (ref. 115.028) model goes in the same direction as the “digital” Zeitwerk Luminous (Ref. 140.035). The Lange 1 Luminous belongs to a rare breed of dressy timekeepers that not only feature working luminous coating on main elements of the dial but also look almost as good as non-luminous models.
Like the rest of the current members of the Grand Lange 1 line, the Luminous version is powered by the in-house Caliber L901.2 hand-wound movement decorated and assembled by hand. Being 30.4 millimeters in diameter and mere 5.9 mm in height, the movement allows for a pretty slim body, which, in this particular case, is only 11 mm thick. With a diameter of 41.9 mm, the 18-karat white gold job indeed looks very slim on just about any wrist.
The manual-wind movement with its plates and bridges made of untreated “German silver” (which is not silver at all, but is a 60% copper alloy with 20% nickel and 20% zinc) and the balance cock engraved by hand, sports Lange’s trademark twin mainspring barrel that stores enough power for the caliber to run for as long as 72 hours.
Well, it may be not particularly impressive compared to the latest manufacture calibers from IWC that offer up to 168 hours of continuous operation with guaranteed accuracy, but still much better than an average Swiss Made in-house hand-wound movement can offer.
However, as you may have already noticed, the main attraction of this timekeeper is the amount of Superluminova that the German watchmaking specialist has applied to the timekeeper’s beautiful dial trying to create a crossover between a dress watch and a pilot’s timekeeper. The result is controversial and, well, polarizing: some people will hate it, some will love it.
I am also fairly sure that there won’t be a lot of enthusiasts who’d simply shrug it off: my crystal globe tells me that there will be a lot of holy wars on forums dedicated to all sorts of watches.
It is not clear how many examples of the Lange 1 Luminous the brand plans to sell, however, it is going to be a strict niche product. While the “normal” Grand Lange 1 is a living classic that looks great on just about any wrist with just about any suit (if it costs more than $5000, that is), the Luminous version leaves an impression of a timepiece developed for a small group of fans who need “something different” without any particular reason.
SuperLuminova is a good choice when you need something versatile or, just the opposite, something highly specialized, like a “diver” or an “aviator.”
Yet, a dressy watch that is designed to be worn on very special occasions where there is always light doesn’t need any amount of lume on its hands and indexes, especially when the lume utterly destroys their gorgeous shapes. Well, as I said, a niche product.
As far as pricing is concerned, the gadget will initially go on sale at a pretty average (for the niche, of course) price of just USD 37,000.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Luminous (ref. 115.028) specification:
Price range: $37,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber Lange L901.2, 53 jewels, 30.40 mm in diameter, 5.90 mm in height, 365 components, 9 screwed gold chatons, 21,600 vph, Nivarox balance spring, Glucydur screw balance, Made in Germany
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve
Power reserve: 72 hours
Case: 18-karat white gold
Size: 41.90 mm
Case height: 11.00 mm
Dial: Solid silver, black
Numerals: Roman, rhodium-plated gold, luminous
Hands: Rhodiumed gold, luminous
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched black crocodile strap with Lange prong buckle in solid gold or platinum
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective