Watch companies are forging ahead with new releases, planned years in advance of today’s current global Covid-19 crisis. Montblanc recently debuted its Star Legacy Orbis Terrarium time zone watch and now, another Richemont-owned brand, A. Lange & Söhne, has introduced an updated version of its Lange 1 Time Zone. The watch comes with a brand new movement—a feat that, on average, takes about three years of development. With travel, mostly, at a standstill these days a time zone watch may feel a little anachronistic. But when you consider that, even stationed at our WFH desks, the world operates on a much more globally connected scale than ever before, the function still feels relevant in a luxury. Besides, they are downright beautiful and this example is particularly exquisite.
The new Lange 1 Time Zone marks the first technical update on the model since 2005. The biggest difference is that the day/night indicator has now been incorporated in the center of each dial on home time (left) and zone time (right). In the previous iteration, the function was visible in two subdials housed within the two time-zone displays. The change makes for a cleaner, more legible look in what is already a rather clean and traditional watch. When the blue semi-circles pass through the hour hands, it indicates P.M. Pictured here, the time reads 1:52 AM home time and 8:52 AM for New York. The arrow, which indicates the location of the second time zone (based on 24 reference cities), is red in its aperture when the city operates on daylight savings time and white for those that use standard time.
Simplicity also extends to its user-friendly functions. A pusher, located at 8 o’clock, changes the second time zone location from west to east one, advancing the hour hand one hour at a time. The crown adjusts home time. But, in case you decide to extend your stay in a location, you can easily switch your zone time to home time by pulling out the crown to the second position to synchronize the times. If the pusher is pressed for the second time zone during this process, the hour hand will remain in position so that home time can be set independently. A pusher for adjusting the big date is located at 10 o’clock.
Outwardly, the new details may be subtle to most, but for collectors, a new movement is a significant update. The brain behind this operation is the new manufacture caliber L141.1, based on the original L901 that equipped the original Lange 1 models. It now achieves 72 hours of power reserve, indicated on the upper right-hand side of the dial, via only one spring barrel. It includes a classic screw balance and a freely oscillating balance spring crafted in-house and operating at a frequency of 21,600 VPH per hour. And, of course, it includes all of the flourishes inherent to Lange movements like a three-quarter plate in German silver, screwed gold chains, blued screws and hand-engraved balance and wheel cocks, all visible through the caseback.
The case size remains the same as the original at 41.9 mm by 10.9 mm and comes in three dial and case combinations: white gold with a black dial, pink gold with an argenté dial (both $52,900) and a limited-edition version of 100 in yellow gold with a champagne dial ($56,100). The latter, of course, will be the piece to have for collectors, and at only $3,200 more it’s a no brainer. Now all you have to do is get your hands on one.