You Are There: A. Lange & Söhne At Hampton Court Classic Car Event, Debuts Little Lange 1 Moon Phase 25th Anniversary
A. Lange & Söhne is now a fixture on the classic car scene by sponsoring high-profile events that feature some of the world’s most beautiful automobiles. Events of this magnitude involve Italy’s magnificent Villa d’Este, London’s Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance, and Düsseldorf’s Classic Days.
The Saxon brand’s timepieces are a perfect fit for the environment, in which mechanical elegance takes the upper hand. Beautiful cars and watches go together like two categories seldom do (see GaryG’s expert opinion on this in Collecting Watches And Cars: What’s The Same And What’s Different?).
Perhaps it’s the shared combination of art, science, and aesthetics. Perhaps it’s the collecting or investment angle. Or perhaps it’s just the fascination with mechanics, regardless of size, that attracts people to both microcosms.
I think it’s a lot to do with the souls of these objects – which don’t seem like objects at all to enthusiasts and collectors; they are more personality extensions.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2019 Hampton Court event as a guest of A. Lange & Söhne. Held September 5-8, 2019, the event is set up on the estate of Hampton Court Palace near London, a baroque estate built for William III and Mary II, but most famous as one of Henry VIII’s residences.
The 24 hectares (60 acres) worth of formal garden space made for an exceptionsal backdrop to some of the world’s most interesting and beautiful classic and new cars – 60 of which competed in the concours d’elegance.
The 2019 edition marked A. Lange & Söhne’s second turn as the principal sponsor.
A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Moon Phase 25th Anniversary
The Hampton Court event was also the perfect backdrop for the German brand to introduce the ninth (and penultimate) special-edition watch in honor of the Lange 1’s twenty-fifth anniversary.
In January 2019, A. Lange & Söhne kicked off a series of celebratory special editions in honor of the quarter-century anniversary of its flagship watch – one of the modern watch industry’s true icons – with the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 25th Anniversary Edition.
The limited edition models emerging in a quasi-monthly rhythm commemorate the anniversary and share an incredible silver-and-blue color scheme. They are all not straight-up Lange 1 models as Lang has reached across the entire family of Lange 1 variations as the bases for these celebration timepieces (see the first five of these in A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 25th Anniversary: The 5 Celebratory Limited Edition Watches Introduced To Date In 2019).
An anniversary version of the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase arrived at Hampton Court in London, a limited edition of the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase of 2017, which was essentially a version of the Little Lange 1 with an added moon phase.
The Little Lange 1’s superpower is that it fits the beautiful movement of the Lange 1 into a case that is close to two millimeters smaller in diameter than the original Lange 1, which measures 38.5 mm in diameter. At 36.8 mm in diameter, it might seem like the Little Lange 1’s design proportions could be thrown off kilter, but this is in no way the case.
The height of the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase comes in at 9.5 mm, which is 0.7 mm thinner than the full-sized Lange 1 Moon Phase and 0.3 mm thinner than the full-sized Lange 1 without moon phase indication. Now that’s a feat!
So now you might see why I call this a “superpower”: this watch is so lovingly proportionate in every way that it will fit every single wrist, regardless of gender or usual predilections.
Like all the other special-edition twenty-fifth anniversary Lange 1 editions, this one also keeps to the silvery-white-and-blue color scheme that sets it apart from every other Lange 1 edition on the planet.
The white gold case perfectly – and I do mean perfectly – pairs with the silvered dial, heat-blued stainless steel hands, and blue pad-printed elements.
About the engravings of the A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Moon Phase 25th Anniversary
The movement is endowed with special engravings – which I’ll get to in a bit – but so is the dial, which includes a special engraved element found in the subdial shared by the small seconds and the moon phase.
All of A. Lange & Söhne’s moon phase indications are specially decorated with some sort of artisanal touch, and this one is no exception: the lunar disk is hand-engraved with six stars and numerous “dots” that together with the two white gold moons on the disk form a scintillating three-dimensional effect.
On both this moon phase indication and that of the twenty-fifth-anniversary Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase presented in February 2019, the intaglio engraving technique was utilized for the first time to “cut” the contours of the lunar disk’s motif freehand. Then the disk surrounding the moons, stars, and dots was filled in with tremblage engraving to enhance the three-dimensional effect.
Like the balance cocks of the other special editions’ movements, this one too features a unique engraving incorporating the shape of the large date display showing the number 25. This number serves dual purposes: to celebrate 25 years since the Lange 1 launch and to reminisce October 24, the date it was introduced to the public in 1994. The large posters decorating the room at the Dresden Castle and the press photos showed the watch with the number 25 in the date display, cleverly anticipating photos of the watch being printed in the newspaper the next day.
The engraving is filled with the same deep shade of blue from the dial, continuing the “blue” theme. This engraving change is an interesting way to add a special touch to the movement, marking it as part of the anniversary edition. Like A. Lange & Söhne itself, it is understated and classy.
Just like an excellent vintage automobile.
Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Moon Phase 25th Anniversary Reference 182.066
Case: 36.8 x 9.5 mm, white gold
Dial: solid silver, blued steel hands
Movement: manually wound Caliber L121.2, untreated German silver plates and bridges, hand-engraved balance cock, 411 movement components (8 of which are chatons and 44 of which are jewels), 72-hour power reserve, in-house balance spring, 3 Hz/21,600 vph, swan-neck fine adjustment
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds; large date, power reserve indication, moon phase
Limitation: 25 pieces
Disclaimer: A. Lange & Söhne paid for Elizabeth Doerr’s travel to London.