A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the 1815 ‘Homage to Walter Lange’ with Hacking Dead Seconds

Limited editions in gold - and a unique piece in stainless steel.

Having passed away at the grand old age of 93 just earlier this year, Walter Lange was the last living link to the pre-war, family-owned firm of A. Lange & Söhne. Though he was not the driving force behind the modern day firm, Mr Lange was nevertheless revered as the spiritual father of the brand, being a direct descendent of namesake founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange.

Now his life is being swiftly remembered by a limited edition wristwatch, the 1815 ‘Homage to Walter Lange’. Its distinguishing complication are twin seconds hands, a feature originally found on 19th century Lange pocket watches, having been invented in 1867 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange himself.

The first seconds hand on the sub-dial at six o’clock is conventional, sweeping along as an ordinary seconds hand would. The central seconds hand is novel in being a deadbeat seconds that can be stopped and started via the pusher at two o’clock. Pulling the crown to set the time stops the subsidiary seconds.

1815 'Homage to Walter Lange' white gold

That means the central seconds ticks along in one second steps, thanks to an additional, indirect wheel train for the centre seconds. Though the complication is a first for a Lange wristwatch, the dial is similar to other 1815 models, being silver with large Arabic numerals, while the case is 40.5mm in diameter and 10.7mm high.

No images of the movement are available at this time, the calibre is quintessential Lange, featuring a three-quarter plate, blued steel screws and so on. Hand-wound and having a 60-hour power reserve, it’s made up of 253 parts.

The movement has been christened L1924, a departure from the usual calibre naming norms of Lange. While calibres are usually named after the year they begin development – the L951.1 was started in 1995 for instance – the L1924 is named after Mr Lange’s birth year.

Other numerical refers to Mr Lange’s life abound in the ‘Homage to Walter Lange’. The model reference starts with “297” as he was born on July 29, while the edition size of each metal is a nod to a crucial date in his life.

Walter Lange 2

Walter Lange (centre) at the launch of the modern Lange brand in 1994, flanked by Gunter Blumlein (left), and Hartmut Knothe

The 145-piece white gold version is based on the 145 years that elapsed between the original founding of the company in 1845 and the reestablishment of the firm after the Berlin Wall fell. Ninety watches in pink gold are being made, since Mr Lange registered the new Lange company in 1990. And it’s been 27 years since that registration and the launch of this watch, explaining the 27 pieces in yellow gold.

And singular stainless steel

More notably, one more 1815 ‘Homage to Walter Lange’ will be produced – in stainless steel. Fitted with a black fired enamel dial, this will be one of the handful of steel Lange wristwatches ever made (totally perhaps two dozen or so).

The one-off steel piece (ref. 297.078) will be sold later in 2018 at an auction, with all proceeds going to charity.

1815 'Homage to Walter Lange' steel enamel

Price and availability 

The 1815 ‘Homage to Walter Lange’ is limited to 27 pieces in yellow gold (ref. 297.021), 145 pieces in white gold  (ref. 297.026), and 90 pieces in pink gold  (ref. 297.032). It costs the same in all metals, priced at €47,000 including 19% German tax.

Correction April 25, 2018: The indirect, deadbeat seconds does not rely on the same mechanism as found in the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds.

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Introducing the Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition

Affordable fired enamel in midnight blue - plus a regular production model for Japan.

Following last year’s introduction of affordable Presage watches with white enamel dials, Seiko has now expanded the colour palette for the dial material. The Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition is self-explanatory: the dial is vitreous enamel done in a dark, midnight blue.

Inspired by the inky colours of the night sky, the blue dial is paired with a gold powder-coated crescent counterweight on the seconds hand, meant to evoke the moon. Similarly, a golden crescent is printed on the inside of the display back. The hands, numerals and markings on the dial are painted in white lacquer.

Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition SPB069 3

Like Seiko’s other enamel dials, this was produced by Mitsuru Yokozawa and his team of craftsmen, who do a tremendous job of producing good quality dials in large numbers for relatively low cost.

The case is steel and 40.5mm in diameter, with a thickness of 12.4mm. Inside is the 6R15, a self-winding movement with 50 hours of power reserve.

Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition SPB069 2

Launched in parallel to the limited edition is the regular production Presage SARX053 that is available only at Seiko boutiques and salons in Japan. It has an identical blue enamel dial, but leaf-shaped hands and lacks the golden crescent decoration.

Price and availability 

Limited to 1500 pieces, the Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Limited Edition (ref. SPB069) costs €1150 in Europe.

The Japan-only blue enamel Presage (ref. SARX053) costs ¥108,000.

Both prices include local taxes. The respective models are already available in international markets and Japan.

Correction December 9, 2017: The SARX053 is part of the regular collection, and with a different hands. It is not identical to the international market limited edition as described earlier.

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The Biggest Surprises at Last Week’s Phillips Hong Kong Watch Auction

From a golden Omega to an Indian industrialist's pocket watch.

Phillips’ year-end watch auction in Hong Kong was the first for its new head of department, Thomas Perazzi, with sales totalling HK$110m, or just over US$14m. That was despite it being a relatively small, 167-lot auction, about the half the size of a typical Hong Kong catalogue. Several big results helped push it to that level, including a handful of major surprises. The full catalogue and results can be found here.

Probably the biggest surprise of the evening was, of all things, a modern Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch limited edition in 18k yellow gold, the ref. 3690.30.01. Nicknamed the “Golden Panda”, lot 954 was a 40-piece run made for the Japanese market in 1997 and sports a two-tone black and silver dial. Another example of the same model sold for US$35,000 at Christie’s New York in December 2016.

Omega Speedmaster Golden Panda Phillips 3

A panda from the back

Consequently the watch was estimated at HK$160,000 to HK$320,000, or about US$20,000 to US$40,000. After a few minutes of rapid, take-no-prisoners bidding between two phone bidders, each represented by Aurel Bacs and Tiffany To of Phillips, it sold for HK$662,500 all fees included – an extraordinary US$84,800.

In comparison, that is slightly more than what the Audemars Piguet Triple Complication sold for in the same sale, and also more than the Laurent Ferrier Galet Tourbillon.

Another surprise hit was lot 908, the Patek Philippe ref. 2523 world time with double crowns. Having a estimate of HK$10m to HK$20m, the world time sold for the high end of the estimate, achieving HK$22.3m, or about US$2.85m, with fees. Just this watch alone accounted for a fifth of the sale total. And the ref. 2523 also became the most expensive watch sold at auction in Asia, taking the crown from yet another Patek Philippe sold by Phillips in 2016.

Patek Philippe 2523 gold guilloche 11

Patek Philippe 2523 gold guilloche 10

Last sold in 2012 for about US$1.3m including fees, the watch is extraordinarily rare, being one of just three known with a gold guilloche dial, and the only one with a retail stamp on the case back. Its appeal is also enhanced by the alluring condition, with the case showing all of its original surfaces, edges and shapes.

Patek Philippe 2523 gold guilloche 3

Patek Philippe 2523 gold guilloche 4

But the result was a surprise, because the world time, while extraordinarily rare and important, is not really in tune with current tastes and fads in vintage Patek Philippe collecting. Your correspondent was proven wrong.

Also a Patek Philippe but one of a completely different genre was lot 965. In itself an ordinary late 19th century pocket watch with chronograph and quarter repeater, something that would be worth US$10,000 to US$15,000 on a good day, this sold for HK$562,500, or US$72,000. That more than tripled the high estimate.

Tata Patek pocket watch Phillips 1

The reason for that was the provenance of the watch: it was a gift from Indian industrial Jamsetji Tata to James Morris, the British architect who was responsible for Esplanade House in Bombay, once the family home of the Tatas. Regarded as perhaps the greatest businessman in India ever, Tata was the founder of the modern day Tata Group, now the biggest company in Indian. The degree to which he is revered in his native land is unsurpassed, giving this watch tremendous cachet.

Tata Patek pocket watch Phillips 2

Though the bidding began with several parties, in the end it was down to only an anonymous phone bidder with Ho Ziyong of Phillips bidding on his behalf, as well as two Indian gentleman in the room who appeared to have stayed the entirety of the sale just for this lot. Bidding without pause, Mr Ho’s phone bidder triumphed after extended back and forth bidding.

And a watch of a totally different stripe was lot 807, a Vianney Halter Goldpfeil. A compact but colourful wristwatch modelled on a vintage camera, the Goldpfeil was part of a series of watches made by several independent watchmakers for a now defunct German leather goods maker.

Vianney Halter Goldpfeil 1

Vianney Halter Goldpfeil 3

While rare it is quirky enough to have niche appeal, so the HK$312,500 result, or about US$40,000, was unexpected. That compares to the estimate of just HK$120,000 to HK$200,000.

A watch that deserved to do well, and did, was lot 966, an early Breguet perpetuelle pocket watch from 1791. Number nine amongst the self-winding pocket watches made by Abraham-Louis Breguet himself, this is a truly historically crucial timepiece.

Breguet perpetuelle no91

Breguet perpetuelle no94

Estimated at HK$960,000 to HK$1.44m, it went for HK$2.8m, or US$358,000.

This was brought to you by Phillips.

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