Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, 72 Hour Power Reserve
Price: $ 279
18 carat rose gold case with a leather strap. Fixed bezel. Silver dial with rose gold hands and Roman numeral/ index hour markers. Minute markers around the dial. Dial Type: Analog. Date display at the 1 o'clock position. One sub-dial - small seconds. Manual wind movement. A. lange & sohne caliber l901.0 engine. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Pull / push crown. Transparent case back. Case diameter: 38.5 mm. Case thickness: 10 mm. Round case shape. Tang clasp. Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date, 72 hour power reserve. Additional Info: power reserve (up/down) indicator located at the 3 o'clock position. Luxury watch style. Watch label: Germany. A Lange and Sohne Lange 1 Silver Dial Mens Watch 101.032.
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A. Lange & Söhne - Zeitwerk on the Wrist
WORLDTEMPUS - 11 January 2011
When this test watch finally arrived and I opened the box, I couldn't help but be awed. Though I had attended its Berlin introduction in 2009, I had never had the chance to actually wear the Lange Zeitwerk, and I was astounded by its sheer "solidity." Back when Gunter Blumlein (one of the two founders of the modern incarnation of A. Lange & Söhne and the legendary manager responsible for IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre's modern-day success) was still alive, I had at times heard him say that Lange's products could easily be compared to those of Mercedes or BMW. A good German car just feels solid, closing the door gives you a good, solid "plop." Well, handling a Lange feels much the same way, as Blumlein intended, and in my opinion the Zeitwerk with its thicker case (it measures 41.9 x 12.6 mm) even more so than other models.
The first thing that strikes one about the Zeitwerk is its beautiful design. Surprisingly, even my 13-year-old boy was drawn in, remarking, "Mom, that is such a beautifully designed watch." The unusual digital display is at least as fascinating as a tourbillon and I caught myself watching the dial over and over again waiting for the minute disk to move. Pure thrill overtook me at the top of the hour when all three disks would move at once, an act that takes incredible amounts of energy and required the invention of a special constant force element to ensure enough torque. The crown at 2 o'clock is a detail that is hardly noticeable since its location was chosen so as not to interfere with the aesthetics of the prominent dial as well as the mechanics of the complicated disks. Another detail that is most enchanting is the asymmetrical feel to the bridge shown through the cutaway (that is barely noticeable as such) that frames the digits' windows: on the left we find a mirror-polished steel screw securing the bridge, while opposite it, next to the minute display, we find a jewel set in a polished gold chaton. The jewel is not the regular synthetic red ruby generally used for this purpose, but rather a synthetic blue sapphire. Since both of these corundum variations serve exactly the same function, the color is secondary. However, the blue instead of the traditional red sets it apart and adds yet another fascinating detail to the whole. This particular detail was even noticed by laypeople who conversed with me about the watch during my test period.
Clicking through Turning the watch over, as we watch journalists are wont to do after receiving a watch in our hands, I was often struck by the depth of the beautifully finished movement and its 388 components. For a connoisseur there is almost no bigger thrill than to know that the front and back of a luxury watch are equally as beautiful. Caliber L043.1 is a genuinely aesthetic specimen by any stretch of the imagination with its hand-beveling, beautiful gold chatons, and hand engraving. The beautiful design is underscored by the audible click that the watch lets loose every time a disk is turned, though the change is never felt. I vaguely remembered this from the watch's interesting introduction in Berlin last May, but was genuinely surprised to discover how I looked forward to it on the serial model. The only fly in this ointment was that the disks at times did not land in their final, 60-second positions and were a tad off-kilter. The three on the second disk at times also seemed to get jittery before lifting off, but certainly these are easily solvable teething difficulties. Building a personal relationship with the Lange Zeitwerk is easy as the timepiece must be wound almost every day - something that most owners of manually wound watches do fairly automatically every morning anyway. Officially, the Lange Zeitwerk has 36 hours of power reserve, but in practicality this limit was probably reached just before the given time span was up. It was thus a necessity to keep a good eye on the power reserve indication, whose balanced presence on the dial is not only aesthetic, but exceedingly practical.
Rare treat During the course of my month, some of the world's best retailers — people who have access to every rare and expensive watch in this world — were prepared to pay me cash to take the watch off my wrist. Apparently, they are all eagerly awaiting delivery of the stunning piece for their demanding clienteles. On the very last day of my Zeitwerk test, I had the rare pleasure of serendipitously sitting next to a Zeitwerk owner. The chances of that must be one in a billion - unless you are dining in a castle in Dresden, that is.