First revealed early this year at the annual SIHH 2012 event, the new A. Lange & Sohne Grande Lange 1 not only sports cosmetic differences here and there: there is more to it than meets the proverbial eye. The new dress watch is powered by a brand new hand-wound caliber that, while being quite thin and equipped with only one (albeit very big one) mainspring barrel with a very long spring inside of it, will keep on ticking for whole 72 hours after being fully wound: a perfect power reserve if you plan to wear this elegant beauty only on office days and don’t mind its small seconds pointer moving in a somewhat jerky fashion that comes courtesy of its slow-beating balance wheel.
The movement in question is, of course, the new and gorgeous in all of its archaic beauty Caliber L095.1. Sporting a manual winding mechanism and beating at a frequency of just 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, the movement keeps most of its inner-works hidden behind plates of metal revealing only the balance bridge with their traditional swan-neck regulator.
Designed and built solely in-house (Lange claims that even the highly efficient main spring is manufactured entirely on premises), the movement is not only very accurate, but is also nicely decorated with lots of blued and polished screws, seven gold chatons housing the most important jewels, and, of course their signature, hand-engraved balance bridge with the tradition swan neck regulator.
A. Lange & Sohne claims that the diameter of this new caliber is slightly larger than that of previous engines that powered other Grande Lange 1 models and it actually shows.
Although the watch is has become a trifle smaller (at least, compared to their older ref. 115.032 model), the dial of the piece became slightly more spacious and thus less cluttered. Of course, the effect was further emphasized by shrinking the diameter of the small seconds sub-dial, which is still located at 5 o’clock, and moving their trademark oversized big date indicator closer to the bezel’s rim.
The traditional retrograde power reserve indicator at 3 hours was, too, slightly moved due East with its hand proportionally shortened and thinned.
Since, being less than five millimeters high, the movement is quite thin, the body of the watch, which is just shy of 41 millimeters in diameter, is, too, quite slender measuring less than nine millimeters in height, which makes it a very nice choice for those wearing tight-cuffed shirts.
As usual, A. Lange & Sohne targets the “upper premium” niche, so don’t expect a stainless steel version of the timekeeper to go on sale any time soon. Instead, you will have to choose among pretty expensive variations in yellow gold (ref. 117.021) and rose gold (ref. 117.032), as well as ultra-expensive (yet more inconspicuous) platinum (ref. 117.025).
All these versions will be shipped on hand-stitched crocodile straps of different colors and feature sapphire crystals on both sides of their polished cases.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne Grande Lange 1 hand-wound watch specification
Price: $41,500 (MSRP, versions in gold) / $56,500 (MSRP, version in platinum)
Movement: Manual (hand-wound,) Lange caliber L095.1, 4.70 mm thick, in-house, Made in Germany
Number of jewels: 42
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 72 hours
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, big date
Case material: 18-carat Yellow gold (ref. 117.021) / 18-carat Rose gold (ref. 117.032) / 950pt Platinum (ref. 117.025)
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.90 mm
Case height: 8.80 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Solid silver
Numerals: Roman (dial) and Arabic (big date)
Hour markers: Applied
Hands: Yellow gold / Rose gold / Rhodiumed gold respectively
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap on a tong buckle in gold or platinum (depending on case)
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire