New A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone For 2020: All The Time In The World, Including Daylight Saving
It doesn’t get more iconic than the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1, undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and classic wristwatches of the modern mechanical era.
One of the first four timepieces to come from the reborn Saxon manufacture in 1994, the Lange 1 symbolizes far more than just haute horlogerie perfection; it represents a human spirit that could not be broken despite years of turmoil and frustration.
So it stands to reason that A. Lange & Söhne would use the Lange 1 as a base for important evolutions. And one was presented at the SIHH in 2005, the Lange 1 Time Zone, featuring a practical down-to-earth complication ideal for international travelers.
The idea of dividing the world into 24 time zones was established during the International Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C. in 1884. And in a fun moment of memorable horological history, it should be noted that that in same year A. Lange & Söhne’s watchmakers were the first to manufacture pocket watches with two separately adjustable time displays.
In those days, very few people were in need of such a complication, though, and unfortunately only a few of these watches can still be seen today. Today, more than 120 years later, a second time zone indication is more useful than ever with the modern world’s love of travel.
The 2005 A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone
The Grand Lange 1 case (41.9 mm instead of 38.5 mm) was chosen back then to accommodate the extra displays, gears, and reference city ring. The base concept of the dial’s visuals hardly seemed changed, with the practical beauty of the original Lange 1 retained.
The Lange 1 Time Zone features the main time zone displayed in the larger off-center subdial on the left, with the second time zone positioned where the larger subsidiary seconds dial was on the Lange 1. Each time zone has its own unobtrusive day/night indication, and the first time zone retains a very small subsidiary seconds dial that fully harmonizes with the indication right across from it.
A. Lange & Söhne’s patented large date, which incidentally kicked off the large date trend back in 1994, remained in its original place; the addition of the reference city ring around the circumference doesn’t disturb the harmonious appearance of the dial.
The displays are completed by the original “auf und ab” (“up and down”) power reserve display that also retains its original positioning from the Lange 1.
The Lange 1 Time Zone is user friendly, as world timers need to be today. As usual, the crown is used for winding and setting; the pusher located at 10 o’clock quick-sets the large date and the pusher at 8 o’clock moves the reference city ring in increments of one hour, which is synchronized with the hour hand of the second time zone and its day/night indicator.
The original 2005 Lange 1 Time Zone also had a special feature that other world timers didn’t have at that time, and I’m not sure if any other watch does yet today (let me know in the comments if you know of any): if the wearer is abroad and wants to reverse the priority of the two time zone displays, an ingenious adjustment mechanism in the timepiece makes this possible.
All that is needed is to hold the pusher for the second time zone down to “freeze” the hour hand, then use the crown to adjust the time on the large dial. The date display remains synchronized with the main display, regardless of whether it is used to display home or local time.
The small golden arrow within the subdial for the second time zone serves as a reference marker, pointing to a city in the time zone selected.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone evolution
At the time of the Lange 1 Time Zone’s introduction in 2005 – only 11 short years after the manufactory introduced its first collection of four wristwatches in 1994 – it had produced a total of 18 new movements. As of 2020, 26 years after the first reborn wristwatch, it’s a whopping 65!
In the 15 years since the first Time Zone, however, with the exception of a small modification as of the 2009 version, the Lange 1 Time Zone hasn’t changed, except in the appearance of case materials and dial colors.
The small modification to the Lange 1 Time Zone’s reference city ring came with the 2009 collection where Caracas was exchanged for Santiago de Chile. That occurred because in September 2007 Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez enacted a new law putting Venezuela four and a half hours behind GMT, rather than its previous GMT minus 5 hours zone. Chile’s capital, Santiago de Chile, remains to this day on the reference city ring as “Santiago.”
The Lange 1 25th Anniversary collection of 2019 brought forth the other biggest change in appearance with its striking blue accents inside and out. This version was limited to just 25 pieces.
Fifteen years after its original launch in 2020, the movement of the Lange 1 Time Zone gets a mechanical upgrade in the form of a new caliber that includes a daylight savings time indication among other new elements.
A daylight savings time indication . . . who knows how long we’ll still need that? But while the governments sort out its relevance in the modern world, it remains useful information on a travel watch. And now it’s here on the 2020 Lange 1 Time Zone.
To use the daylight saving function, just look in the small subdial for the second time zone at the golden arrow serving as a reference marker for the reference city ring at 5 o’clock. This golden arrow has a small aperture at its base: if the aperture is red, the city it is pointing to subscribes to daylight savings time and the wearer must add an hour to the time zone during DST. That’s it. About as easy as it comes.
This feature is cleverly implemented using mechanical “coding” on the underside of the city ring.
Another significant difference between the old and new variations is visible in two spots of blue color on the dial: the semi-circles in the middle of each time zone display are the new day/night indications: when the hour hand is in the no-color segment, the time displayed is between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm; when the hour hand is in the blue, the time shown is between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.
This is a very intuitive display that doesn’t take up any extra room on the dial. In fact, it frees some room up compared to the original.
All watches in the Lange 1 family have been experiencing movement upgrades that includes the reduction of spring barrels from two to one while continuing to provide 72 hours of power.
As is the case with all A. Lange & Söhne movements, this one uses untreated German silver and is assembled twice. This is no mean feat when the masterpiece in question comprises a full 417 parts (including 54 jewels) as the 2020 Lange 1 Time Zone does.
This movement includes all the features typically found on a quality watch made in Glashütte, and in particular the Lange 1: a screw balance with swan-neck fine adjustment, screw-mounted gold chatons, and a hand-engraved balance cock.
The gears added for the second time zone function have been placed on top of the Glashütte three-quarter plate and can easily be seen through the watch’s sapphire crystal case back.
Limited edition yellow gold variation of the Lange 1 Time Zone
A. Lange & Söhne has included a yellow gold variation among the three new versions: something you don’t hear very often.
It’s no secret that over the years consumer preferences have shifted from yellow to pink/red and finally white gold cases. Yellow gold, which used be standard, is now a rare case metal among new watches.
There are two main reasons that A. Lange & Söhne has included 100 yellow gold pieces in this new edition. One is that it is now collectible. The yellow gold variation is only available in A. Lange & Söhne’s boutiques, and there are only 33 of these in the world. Which means that each boutique really only needs to sell three – so 100 suddenly doesn’t seem like many for a brand as highly regarded in the collector scene as A. Lange & Söhne.
The other reason that the brand decided to include this metal is that yellow gold is a classic metal in the Lange 1 series. Out of 115 references in the current A. Lange & Söhne lineup there are only eight available in yellow gold – and five of these are in the Lange 1 family (Lange 1, Grand Lange 1, Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase, Lange 1 Daymatic, and the new Lange 1 Time Zone).
In case you are interested, the three outside the Lange 1 family are all in the 1815 family: 1815 Homage to Walter Lange (which is still in the catalog, though it is probably safe to assume that the 27 pieces of this limited edition are sold out), the 1815, and the 1815 Auf/Ab.
For more information on the new Lange 1 Time Zone, please visit www.alange-soehne.com/en/stories/lange-1-time-zone-at-home-around-the-world.
Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone References 136.021, 136.029, 136.032
Case: 41.9 x 10.9 mm, white or pink gold (unlimited), yellow gold (limited)
Movement: manual winding Caliber L141.1, untreated German silver plates and bridges, hand-engraved balance cock, 72 hours of power reserve (one spring barrel), free-sprung balance, 3 Hz/21,600 vph, swan-neck fine adjustment
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds; second time zone, world time, 2 day/night indications with daylight savings time, power reserve, instantaneously jumping large date
Limitation: 100 pieces in yellow gold only available in Lange boutiques; white and pink gold unlimited
Price: €49,200 (white and pink gold), €52,200 (yellow gold boutique edition), all prices for German market MSRP including VAT