A. Lange & Söhne - 2010 – 2020 : the top 5 A. Lange & Söhne timepieces

The best of German watchamking. If that's all A. Lange & Söhne were, their Top 5 would be a quick solve. Listing their five craziest or gorgeous movements (God knows there's plenty to choose from) would have sealed the deal.

But Lange (nobody says the name in full, right?) is also built on a design acumen that goes way beyond the obvious. And furthermore, on a wild tendency to enhance or plain rebuild their best-sellers' movements, even though they don't need that argument to make a killing.

Case in point : the Zeitwerk Date. The original Zeitwerk is an awesome and unique timepiece, which transcends its dreadful weakness (a very short power reserve) by an otherwise astounding technical and design feat. Yet Lange decide to improve on it. Did it need a date ? Probably not. But nevermind, the collection welcomed the complication in 2019. It was fitted at the periphery of an enlarged Zeitwerk, in order to let the much more defining indications, hours and minutes, be the only ones featured in the all-important apertures. And while they were at it (or was it the original reason) the Glashütte watchmakers went on and plain doubled the power reserve, from 36 to 72 hours !

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date © David Chokron/WorldTempus

What's really interesting in the Lange design approach is that they're capable of releasing the leanest and cleanest dials, or the most cluttered, as well as a range of clever solutions in between. Talking about lean and clean, nothing surpasses the Saxonia Thin available from 2016 on. A discreet brand print, thin indices, 5.9 mm in height this is pure, unadulterated, gorgeous watchmaking.

2010 – 2020 : the top 5 A. Lange & Söhne timepieces

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin © David Chokron/WorldTempus

In contrast, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is as crowded as it gets. A large date, a concentric QP and chronograph, and a tourbillon hidden in the back but whose presence is stated on the dial in the most visible way make for a very very informative dial. The tachymeter scale deserved to be scrapped for the sake of readibility, but it's an integral part of the Datograph design codes. Still, its 2019 salmon dial version is one of the most fabulous, drop-dead gorgeous watches ever (and I mean every world of that).

2010 – 2020 : the top 5 A. Lange & Söhne timepieces

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon © David Chokron/WorldTempus

This is partly because Lange had managed to soften the blow by superimposing the chronographe and QP indications. That clever integration peaked with the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna. That regulator is a posterchild for visual balance. Three large circles on the dial form a triangle. The calendar windows form another, inverted one. The power reserve is discreetly fitted in a wide and thin aperture at 6 o'clock. And when you start reading the complications listed on the dial (which is thorough, the Lange way), you realize there's also a remontoire, 14 days autonomy, and that the calendar is of the perpetual kind. A 14-day QP regulator with constant force ? With a wide, astronomic and orbital moonphase in the back ? There is no other watch like the Terraluna on Earth, or on the moon for that matter.

2010 – 2020 : le top 5 des Lange de la décennie

A. Lange & Söhne Perpetual Calendar Terraluna © David Chokron/WorldTempus

Slowly, Lange has been back-pedaling on their moving the complications where they fit more discreetly, and unexpectedly. Yet what a clever move that is, and its value is most noticeable with the stereotypical perpetual calendar. Take the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar for instance. The large date is where it should be, as well as the moonphase. The day fits into the collection's complex symmetry pattern, based on a 3 on 3 grid. But the month would have ruined it. So Lange off-centered it on the edge of the dial, along with the leap-year indication. Even the tourbillon is hidden, in the back. So from a distance, this timepiece feels like your regular Lange 1. But upclose, it turns out to be an understated grand complication. And that understatement is not of the less-is-more kind. It's more of a horological pun. Who said Lange lacked humour ?

2010 – 2020 : the top 5 A. Lange & Söhne timepieces

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar © David Chokron/WorldTempus

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