Movement based on L951.1 - date function was later removed to create this 'pure' chronograph version.
A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne L951.1
Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds
Chronograph, Column wheel, Flyback
Price: $ 249
The ref. 401.031 1815 Chronograph was available from 2004 to 2008. It features a pink gold case (39.5mm) and a black dial with silver subdials.
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A. Lange & Söhne - Back to School
WORLDTEMPUS - 23 September 2011
There was a lot of swearing in many different languages as various members of the world press spent a couple of days at the A. Lange & Söhne Watchmaking School in Bärenstein, near the small former East German city of Glashutte. Glashutte is the current and historical home of A. Lange & Söhne and other Saxon watch companies. Instead of the usual show-and-tell and a tour round the production facilities, A. Lange & Söhne invited specialized watch journalists to get a close look into the ticking heart of the watch company that was revived by Gunter Blumlein and Walter Lange in 1990 via the company's Academy.
Uniform and magnifying eye The dedicated A. Lange & Söhne Academy course offers a two-day, hands-on experience, which mainly comprises (trying to) master manual decoration the A. Lange & Söhne way: bluing hands the old-fashioned way, working with micro mechanics and losing many tiny blue screws on the floor. This is accomplished as professionally as possible wearing a white lab coat and, if needed, a Cyclops-like magnifying loupe over one eye - which ends in having one look like the other apprentices that attend the watchmaking school, if only in appearance. While the press attending the course was admittedly older than the 16- through 18-year-olds watching us with quirky smiles, they obviously also felt proud of the flashing cameras and extra attention as we shared their benches and specialized watchmaking tools. Two groups Split into two smaller groups, the first spent a day learning to assemble a simple Saxon caliber while the other learned how to blue screws the old-fashioned way over a small flame, apply perlage to three-quarter plates and polish gold chatons to perfection before these are set with synthetic ruby jewels. The assembly and disassembly - A. Lange & Söhne actually assembles all its movements twice - demanded a lot of concentration and steady fingers. Even if you were to master both, the tiny blue screws remained hard to handle - causing swearing in five or six different languages as heard from the various benches around the room. Almost Zen No swearing was heard, however, when day two had us finger-polishing tiny gold chatons. Personally, I went into a Zen-like mode polishing these tiny gold parts using miniscule 8-shaped movements and three different grains of polishing papers. I was exceedingly proud when the watchmaker commented "perfect" as he inspected my polished chatons. Admittedly, I was the last of the group to finish, but I realized when working with the manual polishing at A. Lange & Söhne speed is not en vogue. Perfection, however, is. Brutally woken from my Zen mode, the day's next lesson was to apply a perlage pattern to plates. Seemingly an easy job, it is not - particularly when I compared my own attempt to that completed by one of the skilled A. Lange & Söhne decorators. Admittedly, my perlage decor looked like the works of a drunken barfly rather than the perfect pattern and even positioning that a true A. Lange & Söhne movement offers. High brows My last lesson was in bluing steel screws the old-fashioned way. This meant we were to heat tiny screws over a flame until they not only become blue, but the perfect, even cornflower blue found in the Saxon movements. My four attempts varied from purple to grey and I did not receive high-fives from my colleagues, but rather high brows from the watchmaker in charge of training us. "We actually do this in an oven to obtain an even blue color," the watchmaker admitted, but told me that this was the only way to do blue screws if restoring an old pocket watch today. Lange Expert Of course, what we attempted was nothing compared to the decorating, assembling and other steps that an experienced watchmaker at A. Lange & Söhne does on a daily basis. Nonetheless, we all received a diploma handed to us by Walter Lange and CEO Wilhelm Schmid that certifies us A. Lange & Söhne experts, which admittedly sounds way better than just being a watch journalist. Ask me anything you want to know about A. Lange & Söhne. I am, after all, a certified expert.