Hong Kong holds a special place in the German city of Dresden, where A. Lange & Söhne operates its watchmaking business. Established 170 years ago in 1845 in the Saxon capital, the watchmaker has weathered a stormy past, encountering near-extinction at the hands of post-war Soviet administration, to experience a major international rebirth that began in Asia two decades ago.
In the mid-1990s, Hong Kong, along with Singapore, was among the first markets beyond Europe that the watchmaker explored in a relationship that now includes four boutiques and more than 50 dealers in the region. “Asian watch aficionados cherish our timepieces for what they are: an unmistakable blend of finishing, craftsmanship, ingenuity and design, which reflects our constant drive to combine even the most complex technical solutions with a balanced and harmonious look,” says CEO Wilhelm Schmid.
With Watches&Wonders now providing a face-to-face connection with its Asian fan base, A. Lange & Söhne is making the most of the four-day event to develop these relationships. In addition to new models unveiled at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), including the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, the brand will bring limited-edition and boutique-only pieces that reinforce its German craftsmanship and innovation.
This year, the brand will include commemorative 1815 models to mark the 200th birthday of founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange. He is widely credited with setting the standard for Saxon watchmaking, including the pocket watches that laid the foundation for the brand’s groundbreaking complications that would follow. Celebrations kicked off earlier this year, when the first of the 1815 200th Anniversary F. A. Lange models was unveiled, in platinum black and featuring a three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver that Ferdinand Adolph Lange developed in 1864 to stabilise movements.
Watches&Wonders will see two more editions unveiled containing similar historic features, Schmid says. The 1815 Chronograph recalls the design of A. Lange & Söhne pocket watches with a railway-track pulsometer scale, an argente-coloured dial in solid silver with blue Arabic numerals, and a white gold case. The pulsometer measures heart rate by stopping the time and counting 30 beats; the chronograph sweep-seconds hand then provides a reading of beats per minute on the scale. The timepiece features the L951.1 movement containing a large balance wheel with weights driven by a freely oscillating hairspring to ensure accuracy. The 1815 Chronograph is exclusive to the watchmaker’s 15 worldwide boutiques.
The 1815 200th Anniversary F. A. Lange in honey gold features a case crafted from gold alloy. The solid silver dial is finished with a rare, finely textured argente-graine surface reminiscent of the brand’s early observation watches and marine chronometers. The watch contains a manually wound calibre L051.1featuring the pioneering three-quarter plate, as well as a hand-engraved balance cock, classic screw balance and precision beat-adjustment system with a lateral set screw and whiplash spring. The case is engraved with a serial number indicating its place in the 200-piece set.
Other novelties on show will include the debut of a 37mm Saxonia in white or pink gold, which is also exclusive to the brand’s boutiques. The model features the revised design unveiled at SIHH in January, including the classic three hands on the dial and a newly developed minute scale, twin-baton appliqués at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock, and marginally extended minute markers against a grey background. The watch features a hand-finished L941.1manual movement with apower reserve of 45 hours.
Watches&Wonders will also highlight two additions to the Little Lange 1series that displays the feminine side of this iconic collection. The 36mm pink or white gold watches are distinguished by blue underlaid mother-of-pearl dials. They feature the L901.4 manually wound movement with the brand’s signature outsized date appearing between the 1and 2 on the dial, and a three-day power reserve.
Looking ahead, A. Lange & Söhne is confident that the fair will prove an important meeting point in bringing high-quality timepieces to its Asian audience that seek exclusivity, performance and innovation. “Our approach is to achieve sustainable growth without ever compromising on quality,” Schmid says. “A. Lange & Söhne is a performance- and innovation-driven brand that has defined standards in the field of intricate complications. With every launch of a technical innovation, the challenges and expectations are growing.”