A special timepiece salutes the founder of the Lange Uhren GmbHA. Lange & Söhne honors Walter Lange at SIHH 2018
The sad news of Walter Lange's death on the morning of the second SIHH day in 2017 shocked the world of watchmaking. It spread rapidly, and numerous show visitors spontaneously paid their respects to the deceased pioneer of horology at the Lange stand.
Asked at the time how he intended to salute Walter Lange, Lange CEO Wilhelm Schmid replied: "The best way to honour Walter Lange is to assure the continuity and the ongoing development of the company that he founded – in the way that he would have envisioned it." Now, with the 1815 "Homage to Walter Lange", A. Lange & Söhne is proving that a watch is capable of reflecting the intention and personality of a founder.
The 1815 "Homage to Walter Lange" with a black enamel dial and a steel case will be produced only once. This makes it as unique as the man whose name it bears. The classic dial, reduced to the essence, is complemented with a technical feature that warrants a further look: the jumping seconds hand. With this combination, it quite likely lives up to Walter Lange's vision of a perfect watch.
The jumping seconds was one of his favourite complications because it embodies the puristic notion of precision watchmaking, while at the same time being a piece of family history. It does not divide the second into a number of steps depending on the balance frequency, but instead treats it as a coherent unit of time. A pusher at 2 o'clock starts and stops the sweep seconds hand. The idea dates back to an invention by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1867; in an advanced configuration developed by his son Richard, it was granted one of Germany's first patents in 1877. Lange's "one-second movement with a jumping hand" was implemented for the first time in a masterpiece built by his second son, Emil, Walter Lange's grandfather. Overall, more than 300 pocket watches with this function were crafted. Just like the 1815 "Homage to Walter Lange", they were endowed with a separate seconds subdial. Buyers included the Leipzig Observatory, Grand Duke Adolph of Luxembourg, Ernst Abbe, the owner of Carl Zeiss in Jena, and the eccentric English watchmaker Sir John Bennett.
As a tribute to a very unusual individual who was dedicated to craftsmanship his entire life, the one-off piece is endowed with a black enamel dial that, with the traditional railway-track minute scale and the polished hands, is inspired by the design of historic pocket watches. The newly developed movement has a special calibre designation: L1924. It refers to Walter Lange's birth year. Additionally, the first three digits of the reference number 297.078 recall his date of birth, 29 July.
The 40.5-millimetre case of the 1815 "Homage to Walter Lange" is made of stainless steel, a material that at A. Lange & Söhne has been reserved for only a very few exclusive and special timepieces. As well as this one-off watch, limited editions in yellow, white and pink gold will also be available. The steel version will be auctioned off for a charitable purpose in 2018. Walter Lange, always noted for his philanthropy, would have approved.