Iconic is a term oft overused, but the Lange 1 is justifiably described as such. It’s immediately recognisable, essentially the face of A. Lange & Söhne. Though original conceived as a men’s watch, the Little Lange 1 has been more recently positioned as a ladies’ timepieces, though its 36 mm diameter renders it suited to both genders.
Just launched at Watches & Wonders 2015, the most recent iteration of the Little Lange 1 features a striking, blue lacquered mother-of-pearl dial. The iridescent material has only rarely been found on the Lange 1, making the new models a fairly unusual pair.
But it wasn’t always for ladies…
The Little Lange 1 was a men’s watch at its debut almost 20 years ago. Just a few years after its introduction in 1994, strong demand for a smaller Lange 1 – the original 38.5 mm size was big in those days – resulted in the Little Lange 1.
Just 36 mm in diameter, the Little Lange 1 had the same dial and movement as its larger brother, but in a smaller case without a button to advance the date – a recessed pusher did that job instead.
Current tastes mean the Little Lange 1 is now well suited as a ladies’ watch, and that is what it has become. Though at 36 mm wide and 10 mm high the Little Lange 1 is not a dainty timepiece, its size is reassuring.
Previously offered with mother of pearl dials and diamond bezels (known as the Little Lange 1 Soiree), the latest iteration of the model is plainer and consequently more elegant – and also appropriate as a men’s watch.
Notably, both new models were launched with pastel-coloured straps; swapping those out for dark crocodile straps would instantly transform them into men’s watches.
The only adornment on the Little Lange 1 is the mother of pearl dial. It’s actually a disc of sterling silver (all Lange dials are silver with solid gold hands and markers), treated with a blue galvanic coating, then covered with a thin, translucent slice of mother of pearl. That gives the nacre a bluish iridescence. Though delicate and slightly extravagant, the look is still serious minded enough to pass for a Lange.
Unlike the second generation men’s Lange 1 that’s now equipped with a new movement, the Little Lange 1 retains the original calibre L901.4 movement. It has the quintessential features of the Lange 1: an oversized date display as well as a three day power reserve.
The L901.4 not quite as sophisticated as the second-generation movement, which has the advantage of two decades worth of technical advancements, but it is an important movement, being the first calibre for the Lange 1.
At the same time, the older movement is definitely more decorative and visually appealing, with the signature “island” bridges sitting within the three-quarter plate.
The Little Lange 1 in pink gold (ref. 113.041) costs US$36,600 or S$48,000, while the white gold version (ref. 113.043) is US$37,800 or S$49,800. Though not a limited edition, the Little Lange 1 in blue mother-of-pearl is expected to be a limited production model.
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