The Lange 1 is A. Lange & Söhne’s flagship model. It is also the brand’s most successful line and the most frequently sold Lange watch on Chrono24. This luxurious dress watch features decentralized displays and an outsize date inspired by the famous five-minute clock in Dresden’s Semperoper opera house. The harmonious displays are characterized by Roman numerals mixed with hour indices and slim lancet hands. As you would expect from A. Lange & Söhne, the entire watch and in-house movement are exquisitely hand-finished. Timepieces from this Saxon watchmaker feature some of the finest craftsmanship on the market and represent the crème de la crème of master watchmaking.
Lange & Söhne originally introduced the Lange 1 in 1994, alongside the Saxonia, Arkade, and “Pour le Mérite” models. The Lange 1 remained largely unchanged for the first 20 years of its existence and soon became an icon of the Glashütte-based manufacturer. There are now several variants available, including the 36.8-mm Little Lange 1, the Lange 1 Moon Phase, and the elaborate Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. The latter is made of platinum and features a hand-engraved white-gold dial and hand-painted blue digits on the date display. Only 15 examples of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar were made, making it a rarity only available for the select few. But let’s take a closer look at the classic model that started it all.
Lange 1: Design of a Glashütte Legend
Lange & Söhne currently offers several different versions of the “standard” Lange 1. When it comes to case material, you have the choice between 18-karat yellow, white, and pink gold or platinum. The latter bears the reference number 191.025 and comes with a solid silver dial and gold indices. The hands are also made of gold and coated in rhodium to protect them against corrosion.
As is the case with every Lange 1 watch, the main dial indicating the time is on the left side of the face. There are Roman numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock with indices in between. The small seconds subdial is located on the bottom right of the dial and exclusively features indices. Above the small seconds is the hand for the power reserve display and further north is a two-part window for the date display. In typical Lange fashion, the power reserve display scale is marked by “AUF” and “AB” (“UP” and “DOWN”) along the far right edge of the dial. If you were to connect the center of each display, you would get a perfect isosceles triangle. None of the displays overlap, which is further proof of the Lange 1’s well-considered, harmonious design.
Measuring just 38.5 mm in diameter and 9.8 mm tall, the Lange 1 is a relatively small watch by today’s standards. The polished case features satin-finished sides. The platinum ref. 191.025 comes on a black alligator leather strap, while the yellow gold ref. 191.021 is paired with a brown alligator leather strap. The hands and applied indices are made of yellow gold and the champagne-colored dial is solid silver. The pink gold ref. 191.032 likewise has a silver dial, gold hands and indices, and a brown alligator leather strap.
White Gold Lange 1 Versions
Lange & Söhne currently offers the Lange 1 in three different white gold versions: The ref. 191.028 has a dark blue dial, the ref. 191.039 has a silver dial with white gold hands, and the ref. 191.066 has a silver dial with blued steel hands. The latter is the special edition “25th Anniversary” model that was released in 2019 and limited to a run of 250 pieces. This watch features a recessed, matte dial background and framed subdials. The indices and Roman numerals, as well as the date display numerals, are all in a deep blue tone to match the blued hands.
A highlight of this watch is its hinged white gold case back. The surface is engraved with “25 JAHRE LANGE 1” and the names Günter Blümlein and Walter Lange. Blümlein and Lange were business partners in the early 1990s and introduced the four initial watch models after re-establishing the A. Lange & Söhne brand. If you lift the case back, you can get a glimpse of the beautifully-finished in-house caliber with its hand-engraved balance cock and deep blue accents. Moreover, an image of the characteristic Lange outsize date is engraved on the balance cock with the number 25 to indicate the anniversary year.
Lange & Söhne also presented several other “25th Anniversary” models. These include a Lange 1 Moon Phase, Little Lange 1, and Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. Each of these special edition timepieces is available in white gold with blued steel hands.
The Lange 1 ref. 191.028 is part of the so-called Blue Series, which also includes a Lange 1 Daymatic, Saxonia, and Saxonia Automatic. The deep blue dial on this watch is made of solid silver and features gold applied indices and rhodium-plated hands. The watch comes on a blue alligator leather strap to match the dial color.
In-House Caliber L121.1 With 72-Hour Power Reserve
Lange & Söhne began equipping the Lange 1 with the in-house L121.1 caliber in 2015. Prior to that, the in-house L901.0 caliber powered the model for more than 20 years. The new movement features a proprietary balance spring and cam-poised balance rather than screws. Like the swan-neck fine adjustment, these are used to precisely set the movement. Both movements feature a typical Glashütte three-quarter plate and screw-down gold chatons, as well as two barrels, giving the watches a three-day power reserve when fully wound. This means you can lock your Lange 1 in the safe over the weekend and it will still be running on Monday morning. The balance wheel beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour, which is equivalent to 3 Hz.
The Original Lange 1
Many collectors are drawn to first generation watches and it’s no different with the Lange 1. Early versions can be found under reference numbers 101.001, 101.002, and 101.005. The latter is made of platinum, while the two former refs. are made of 18-karat yellow gold. Each features a solid precious metal case back. This differs from current models, which come with sapphire glass case backs, affording you a view of the finely finished movement within. From the front, however, newer models look strikingly similar to first generation watches. Little has changed other than the bezel slimming down over the years.
Yellow gold Lange 1 models were originally priced at 27,000 Deutsche Mark (approx. 17,000 USD) in 1994. The platinum version, on the other hand, cost 39,000 Deutsche Mark (approx. 24,000 USD). Today, you should be prepared to spend around 23,500 USD for a pre-owned gold Lange 1 and 26,000 USD for a used platinum model.
Toward the end of the 1990s, A. Lange & Söhne released several stainless steel examples of the Lange 1. At the time, these cost 28,500 Deutsche Mark (approx. 16,300 USD). Today, these stainless steel models are so rare and sought-after that they regularly sell for record prices at auction. This was the case in December 2019, when Phillips, together with Bacs & Russo, sold a stainless steel Lange 1 for more than 360,000 USD. Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo are acclaimed watch experts who have worked for Christie’s in the past.
Two Time Zones: Lange 1 Time Zone
The Lange 1 Time Zone (ref. 116.032) and the “standard” white gold Lange 1 (ref. 191.039) are the two bestselling Lange watches on Chrono24. The Time Zone model, first introduced in 2005, offers the addition of a second time zone to the Glashütte classic, making it the ideal choice for professionals who are often on the road. The second time zone is displayed on the subdial that usually displays the small seconds on standard models. The small seconds on this watch has been moved to the 6 o’clock position on the main time display. When you set the main time using the crown, the hands on the second time zone display move simultaneously. A push-piece at 8 o’clock allows the wearer to advance the hour hand on the subdial in hourly intervals.
A small arrow at the subdial’s 5 o’clock position indicates the selected time zone via a series of reference cities listed on the dial edge. The outsize date remains linked to the time displayed on the larger main dial.
The Lange 1 Time Zone comes housed in a 41.9-mm pink gold case. The finely decorated, in-house L031.1 caliber can be viewed through the sapphire crystal case back. This hand-wound movement has a power reserve of 72 hours. New models are priced around 43,000 USD and have appreciated in value by roughly 4,700 USD over the past 12 months. Pre-owned watches typically cost around 31,000 USD. The newest 2020 edition, the ref. 136.032, will set you back closer to 56,000 USD.
Price and Performance
Generally speaking, A. Lange & Söhne watches are luxurious works of art and thus, priced accordingly. The first generation Lange 1 has proven that appreciation is possible with this model, though it can’t always be guaranteed with newer watches. The white gold ref. 191.039 features a silver dial and costs around 30,000 USD new and approximately 24,000 USD pre-owned. While prices have risen by roughly 3,500 USD in the past four years, you can still purchase a new watch on Chrono24 for about 8,200 USD below the official list price.
It’s a slightly different story when it comes to the yellow gold ref. 191.021. You can expect to pay around 19,000 USD for a used piece. This is quite affordable considering the official list price is closer to 39,000 USD – that’s a savings of nearly 50%! You can find new watches on Chrono24 for just under 40,000 USD, which is about 10,500 USD up on the previous year.
If you want to call a pink gold Lange 1 ref. 191.032 your own, be prepared to spend 30,000 USD on a mint condition example. Used watches cost only marginally less. The manufacturer’s recommended retail price is closer to 39,000 USD.
The platinum Lange 1 ref. 191.025 has the most expensive list price of the bunch at just under 50,000 USD. However, on Chrono24, you can find new watches for closer to 39,500 USD; that’s roughly 10,000 USD below the official list price. Pre-owned examples are even more affordable at around 33,500 USD.