A. Lange & Söhne is beloved for its beautifully made watches that exude quality. But beautiful as they are, Lange watches are mostly often complicated and consequently expensive, sometimes extraordinarily so. Fortunately, the German watchmakers does think of the less well heeled, with the Saxonia Boutique Edition, the most affordable wristwatch in its line-up.
The Saxonia is a clean, time-only wristwatch with a hand-wound movements, as no frills as a luxury wristwatch can get. With a diameter of 37mm, it’s available in white or rose gold, with the same grey dial in either metal. Visually the rose gold Saxonia has a slight edge over its white gold counterpart, since it has more contrast and colour.
The dial is legible and functional, with the baton hour markers that are the trademark of the Saxonia line watches, as well as lance-shaped hands. It’s a handsome, albeit restrained look. Plain is perhaps too harsh, but the Saxonia design is certainly not arresting or notable.
But what it lacks in looks it makes up for with a tangible feel of quality. Despite being a compact watch at 37mm in diameter, the Saxonia still retains the feel that characterises Lange watches, one of dense quality in the hand.
Not aged a day in twenty years
Turn it over and the feeling of quality gets a visual confirmation. Most likely the primary reason the Saxonia is affordable compared to other Lange watches is the L941.1 movement inside. Now the oldest movement Lange currently uses in any of its watches – a year ago that distinction would have gone to the first generation Lange 1 – the L941.1 was developed in 1994 (the first two digits of the calibre number indicate the year it was created).
It’s a smallish movement originally conceived for the first 1815 wristwatch, which was fittingly the entry-level Lange in the 1990s. Since then the 1815 has matured into a mid-tier timepiece that’s more costly and elaborate, like the recent honey gold 1815.
Though long in tooth, the L941.1 does what it’s supposed to do, and looks good while doing it. The movement has all the hallmarks of a modern Lange movement, including the three-quarter plate, engraved balance cock as well as jewels in gold chatons secured by blued steel screws. In fact, it has four jewels in chatons, a count that would probably be smaller for a newly developed entry-level movement since such fancy details are expensive and serve no purpose except aesthetics. Naturally, the decoration on the movement is superb and a joy to behold. Much effort has been put into making a simple movement attractive, such that even small and little noticed parts are properly finished. At this price point Lange probably does the best movement finishing of any brand.
|The cock for the pallet fork, below the balance wheel, is grained and bevelled on its edges
|The hand-engraved balance cock
And the smaller alternative
The version of the Saxonia sold at retailers (who sometimes discount, unlike boutiques) has the same movement, and is similarly priced, but is only 35mm in diameter. That’s too small for most men by modern standards, while the 37mm boutique edition is a good size. Price-wise the 35mm is not too far off, being about 15% less than the larger Saxonia Boutique edition.
The Saxonia Boutique Edition is priced at US$17,800 in pink gold, while the white gold is US$19,800. In Singapore the price is S$24,900 and S$26,700 respectively. It’s less than the usual for a Lange, but it’s not a lesser watch. For the money, the Saxonia is very good.Back to top.