Tino Bobe, Director of Manufacturing, A. Lange & Söhne, speaks to us about the brand’s coveted launches this year.
Could you tell us about the new watches that Lange launched at SIHH this year?
We have a new Lange 1 Moon Phase, which was already in our lineup. Two years ago, we launched a new Lange 1. So logically, now you have a new Lange 1 Moon Phase. It’s just the same movement, with the second hand stopping exactly at 60 seconds if the 72 hours of power reserve are over. We integrated into this a Moon Phase indication — day and night. It means that at daytime, you’ll see a very beautiful blue sky, and at night, you see stars. We have a second new watch in the Lange 1 family, called the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase. It’s an elegant ladies watch that is 36.8mm in diameter and 9.5mm thick. Then we come to another ladies model — Saxonia. We were very encouraged by the success of the Saxonia automatic for ladies, two years ago, so we thought of doing a pure ladies watch.
We have a watch in our 1815 family. For us, 1815 is the year of birth of our founder, but is also our traditional family. With Arab numerals printed on the dial and being a part of the classic family, it’s manually wound. It’s got 72 hours of power reserve. If you put it away and you take it out, it’s easy to adjust your annual calendar with the push piece. You can do all corrections with these push pieces. Normally, just once a year, in February, you have to advance this small push piece. It’s a very pure, classic watch for connoisseurs.
We were inspired to create a new type of striking time. This year, to hear the acoustics with honey gold, which is our own gold alloy, we have the Zeitwork decimal strike, which makes time audible in a new way: its striking mechanism sounds every ten minutes, so in one hour we have six strikes. It was a huge challenge to do this within the 36 hour power reserve, but we achieved it. It’s a 100-piece limited edition.
There’s a second limited edition this year — the 100 pieces of the Lange 31. It was launched in 2007, with a world record in power reserve of 31 days. That is why the name is Lange 31. More impressive would be to say 744 hours of power reserve! As it is not an easy one to wind, there’s a special key to wind up your watch once a month.
Our highlight is the “Pour le Mérite”, our top timepiece, because it is equipped with a fusée-and-chain mechanism. We presented our first tourbillon Pour le Mérite in 1994. It was always an indication of which direction Lange will go in terms of complication. It was for the very first time that this fusée-andchain mechanism was realised in a wrist watch. It was always existing in pocket watches, but much bigger. So we had to engineer it to fit into a wrist watch. The watch has 684 parts — but one of the 684 is the chain. The chain itself has 636 parts. This means that the fusée and chain are very complex, and then you have a tourbillon, a chronograph, a rattrapante function and a perpetual calendar. So by definition, it’s a grand complication. So we call it the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite”. I think it’s a must for every collector.
A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Merite
What is the story behind the development of the Lange 1 Moon phase?
At Lange, we often try to put a little detail. It takes a new and realistic approach by combining the moon-phase display with a day/night indicator. It’s useful to set the watch if you know if it’s AM or PM. I think it’s a small, useful and functional addition. And by the way, it is a very beautiful way to realize it.
What do you see as being the new trends in watch design and manufacturing in the coming year?
This year, what you saw at SIHH are time machines. Watches indicate time, but here there were spectacular time machines. It’s not the way we are, but if you look at many brands, they are taking it up more and more. We as a brand are more classical. The watches are being opened up to see more of the beautiful mechanism inside. That seems to be the trend, and we also do it in our way. If we look at ladies watches, they are looking for complications more than stones; even ladies are buying our Lange 1, despite it not being a ladies watch. They are looking for more than just time out of a watch.
How do you see your growth in the Indian market?
Besides the EU or the US or China, India is one of the fast growing markets in the world. Few countries are developing in terms of watches, and India is one of them.
Smart watches are now the trend worldwide. How does Lange view the development?
For the new generation, smart watches are really interesting and useful. Luckily, humans have two wrists, and you can wear both a watch and a smart watch. But seriously, human beings are more interested in art work, and that’s why I think our style of watchmaking will remain the same.
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