In an era where watchmakers are increasingly catering to a specific kind of streetwear-casual millennial with pumped-up aesthetics, Lange remains steadfastly true to a certain subset of wealth that prefers a finely tailored suit or a perfectly fit field jacket to an overpriced branded hoodie.
So, in celebration of its 175 years of creating refined dress watches that remain tirelessly appealing for generations of trend-averse collectors that prefer quality and subdued luxury over hype, Lange has introduced three new timepieces encased in Honeygold—a proprietary alloy, whose properties remain secret, but is said to be harder and more scratch-resistant than 18-karat gold—that will, no doubt persevere through centuries of cultural waves, to become enduring classics. Small tweaks to existing formulas are the secret sauce of nearly every enduring luxury company (Hermès, Chanel, Patek Philippe and Rolex, to name just a few). To date, Lange has released only eight limited-edition watches in Honeygold.
The most complex model, the 43 mm x 38 mm Tourbograph Perpetual, was previously released in 2017 in platinum with a solid silver dial. It now comes in a Honeygold case and dial, as well as hands, calendar indications and a lunar disc all made from the material. The lunar disc, like the dial, is made in-house and treated in black-rhodium for the gray effect. Its moons have been cambered and surrounded by hand-engraved stars. The dial features raised numerals, scales and a logo that have not been applied, but raised from the dial material itself by roughly 0.15 millimeters for a 3-D effect. It combines five complications including the tourbillon, rattrapante (split-seconds) chronograph, perpetual calendar and fusée-and-chain transmission. The tourbillon, made of 84 parts and weighing less than a quarter of a gram, rotates once per minute and is suspended in the rotating cage, decorated in black polish, between two diamond end stones—a nod to Lange’s high-end pocket watches.
Its L133.1 movement is comprised of 684 parts, including a column-wheel for the rattrapante chronograph. The bridges and cocks have been granularly textured. They have black rhodium inscriptions, while the filigreed lines of the manually engraved chronograph have also been outfitted in the material. Limited to just 50 pieces, this is the only piece for which Lange has provided the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” tag of price upon request. (The platinum version, from three years ago, is 477,600 euros or approximately $563,302 at current exchange rates.)
The 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold, on the other hand, is brand new. This is the first rattrapante-only chronograph in Lange’s collection, despite the fact that it has already created a Double-Split Chronograph, featuring two chronograph hands and two rattrapante (split-second) hands, and a Triple-Split Chronograph, which was a triple rattrapante mechanism for seconds, hours, and minutes. The latter was released two years ago, while the Double-Split was released in 2004—both were world firsts. Here is a simpler introduction with a sweep seconds hand that can be stopped to measure lap times and then can instantly catch up with the chronograph sweep-seconds hand again.
The complex split-seconds chronograph is equipped with the 395-part L.1012 movement, which controls elapsed or lap-time via two column wheels visible through the caseback. In true Lange fashion, great care has also been taken on this piece for the finishing with black rhodium, hand-finished patterns on the balance cock and chronograph bridge. It also takes inspiration from the company’s pocket watches with granular finishing on its bridges and plates, with the top sides, as well as levers, springs and jumpers coming in a straight-grained decor. The peripheral chamfers are polished. Limited to just 100 pieces, the 41.2 mm x 12.6 mm watch is $134,000 and is the first Lange Honeygold watch with a black dial.
Like its more complicated counterparts, the 1815 Thin Honeygold, 38 mm x 6.3 mm, was also inspired by Lange pocket watches, this time in the railway-track minute scale on the dial. It is a pristine time-only watch, sans seconds hand, that features, of course, a Honeygold case, with a white enamel dial and dark grey printed Arabic numerals.
Its 167-part L093.1 movement requires a two-part assembly and has a granular finish on its German-silver three-quarter plate. Lange’s traditional gold chains are secured by three thermally blued screws that outline the direction of 72 hours of power reserve transmitted from the mainspring barrel to the escapement.
At $34,400, this is an entry-point Lange (not that you can call any watch at this price entry-level, especially one that is limited to just 175 pieces). It will appeal to those looking for a classic dress watch in a slimmed-down, elegant sizing—whether it’s for a time when dressing up may once again be required or simply to pair smartly with denim and a cashmere sweater.
These are refreshing introductions in a sea of seemingly never-ending steel sports watches. Although, even Lange got in on that game last year with its Odysseus model. But no matter the timepiece, getting your hands on a Lange suggests a certain level of horological savvy that will be well worth the wait and years of collecting required to achieve one. And you can be sure that in another 175 years, it will, likely, look as sophisticated and special as it does today.