SIHH 2018: Three New Versions of the Little Lange 1 for Ladies

Guilloche dials in grey, brown, and purple.

Originally a men’s watch, the Little Lange 1 has been around since 1997, when an Asian retailer requested a smaller case than the standard 38.5mm. Now the 36mm model is the ladies version of A. Lange & Söhne‘s star timepiece.

The Little Lange 1 nonetheless stuck mostly to the brand’s Teutonic colour codes in silver, black or blue, while relying on traditionally feminine design elements like mother-of-pearl dials and diamond bezels.

Now at SIHH 2018, Lange has unveiled a trio of Little Lange 1s in stunningly unusual autumnal colours and engine turning, which is typically only found on limited edition watches.

A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 Purple

A purple guilloché dial paired with a white gold case is perhaps the boldest of the lot, which stands to reason why it is a 100-piece limited edition, available only at Lange boutiques.

Part of the core collection are the grey guilloché dial with a white-gold case and the striking brown dial paired with a pink gold case. And as with the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase introduced last year, the dials are made of solid gold.

A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1

The Little Lange 1 is now slightly larger, 36.8mm in diameter instead of 36.1mm, while the case is slimmer at 9.5mm high. The new dimensions are explained by the second generation Lange 1 movement found inside.

The L121.1, the same movement in the revamped men’s Lange 1, is slightly wider and thinner than the calibre in the original Lange 1. It also boasts several technical upgrades, namely a free-sprung hairspring and an in-house, adjustable mass balance, as well as an instantaneous date and a seconds hand that stops at zero when the power reserve hits zero.

Price and Availability

The Little Lange 1 in white gold with a purple dial (ref. 181.039) is a boutique-exclusive, while both the white gold with grey dial (ref. 181.038) and the pink gold with brown dial (ref. 181.037) are available at retailers. They all cost the same, €32,500, and will be available starting April 2018.


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SIHH 2018: A. Lange & Söhne Unveils Saxonia Watches with Entry-Level Complications (and a Special Dial)

The Outsize Date, Moon Phase and an aventurine glass dial.

Unveiled today at SIHH 2018 are three compelling iterations of A. Lange & Söhne’s entry-level model: the Saxonia Outsize Date, the Saxonia Moon Phase, and the Saxonia Thin in copper blue.

Available in both white and pink gold, the Saxonia Outsize Date harks back to the Langematik Sax-O-Mat, one of the earliest Lange models, dating to 1997. In classic Lange style, the large date display is advanced by the pusher at 10 o’clock.

SIHH 2018 A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Outsize Date

Measuring 38.5mm in diameter, the Saxonia Outsize Date is powered by the cal. L086.8, a self-winding movement with a 72-hour power reserve. Being Lange’s entry-level automatic calibre, the L086.8 lacks the zero-reset hacking seconds that was a key feature of the Sax-O-Mat; the “O” in the name came from the seconds hand reset.

More notably, this is the first instance black date discs have been found on an entry-level Lange wristwatch. The German watchmaker historically only equipped its flagship platinum watches, such as the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, with black date discs to match a black dial.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia moon phase black date disc

The Saxonia Outsize Date is priced at €24,500 in both white and pink gold (refs. 381.029 and 381.031 respectively), and will reach stores in June 2018.

First launched in 2016 in a silver dial, the Saxonia Moon Phase now available with a black dial.

SIHH 2018 Saxonia Moon Phase

It measures 40mm in diameter and is powered by the self-winding L086.5, which is the same calibre as the Saxonia Outsize Date, but with the addition of a moon phase.

The Saxonia Moon Phase is available in white or pink gold (refs. 384.029 and 384.031), both priced at €28,500. Delivery is scheduled to start in April 2018.

And the last of the trio – the Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue – is the most unusual, for rarely does Lange produce dials in uncommon finishes. Made of solid silver, the dial base is coated with goldstone, or aventurine glass. Originating in 17th century Venice, the material shimmers with tiny sparkling specks, actually tiny copper dioxide inclusions in the glass.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin Blue Copper

The watch measures 39mm in diameter and fitted with Lange’s thinnest movement, the hand-wound cal. L093.1. Though it measures just 2.9mm high, it delivers a 72-hour power reserve.

Expected to be available starting April 2018, the Saxonia Thin in copper blue (ref. 205.086) is priced at €20,800.


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SIHH 2018: A. Lange & Söhne Revives 1815 Chronograph Pulsometer in Pink Gold

Lange's entry-level chronograph reverts back to form.

The first generation 1815 Chronograph was introduced in 2004 and it had a pulsometer dial. Six years later it was replaced with a cleaner dial, but now at SIHH 2018, the pulsometer 1815 is back, again.

If a watch brand unveils successive iterations of the same model, you know it’s a good seller. The new 1815 Chronographs follow the black on white gold 1815 Chronograph last year, and the white and blue version three years ago.

The new 1815 Chronograph in pink gold is offered with either a black or silver dial. A feature conceived originally for doctors for easy measurement of a patient’s pulse rate, the pulsometer occupies the outer section of the dial.

Of the two, the most striking is the inky black dial against the pink gold case, a combination that harks back the first 1815 Chronograph, with the only difference being the black counters here (while the original had silver sub-dials).

Lange 1815 Chronograph Pink Gold black dial

The second version is a new one, though familiar. It is the first time Lange is offering a silver pulsations dial with a pink gold case. Along with the blued steel hands, the watch does offer a lot of vintage appeal. On the first generation model, the silver dial was matched with a white gold case.

Lange 1815 Chronograph Pink Gold silver dial

Dial and case colours aside, everything else remains the same. Its proportions are still 39.5mm in diameter, and 11mm in height.

Ditto for the mechanics. Inside is the cal. L951.5, a hand-wound, column-wheel and horizontal clutch chronograph equipped with a free-sprung, adjustable mass balance wheel and a 60-hour power reserve. And a fact worth savouring: the caseback offers the same view one would get with a Datograph.

Lange 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition Pulsometer 10

Price and Availability

The 1815 Chronograph in pink gold, with either a black dial (ref. 414.031) or silver dial (ref. 414.032) is priced at €49,000. It will be available at Lange boutiques and retailers come April 2018.


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SIHH 2018: Introducing the A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split Chronograph

Totally unnecessary and totally cool.

In 2013 Mercedes-Benz unveiled the G63 AMG 6X6, a preposterously unnecessary yet incredibly impressive SUV. The same might be said of the A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split chronograph, just launched at at SIHH 2018.

The German watchmaker is rightly the maker of the most impressive chronograph movements in modern watchmaking, exemplified by the DatographDouble Split, and now, the Triple Split.

When the Double Split was launched at SIHH 2004, it was the first chronograph on the market with split seconds and split minutes. That meant the Double Split can record simultaneously elapsed times of up to 30 minutes, far surpassing the one minute of ordinary rattrapante chronographs. The Triple Split, on the other hand, is self explanatory: it boasts split seconds, split minutes and splits hours – up to 12 of them.

Lange Triple Split white gold 5

Split seconds are indicated by a pair of central hands, while the counter at four o’clock counts up to 30 minutes. Split hours resides at 12 o’clock, replacing the power reserve display that is found on the Double Split (a steel version of which is the most expensive contemporary Lange watch sold at auction). Here the power reserve is now at six o’clock, which gives the dial a modest balance between its top and bottom halves.

Lange Triple Split white gold 3

Lange Triple Split white gold 4

The Triple Split also has a flyback function, meaning the chronograph can be instantaneously reset and restarted with just one button. And more importantly, the split-seconds has an isolator mechanism that cuts down on “rattrapante drag”, essentially friction generated by the operation of the split-seconds. Drag saps energy from the oscillator, causing the amplitude of the balance wheel to diminish when the split-seconds is running; the isolator fixes that problem.

Calibre L132.1

In an ordinary split-seconds movement, one of the biggest challenges in movement assembly is the proper alignment of the arbors for the twin seconds hands, essentially two narrow but lengthy metal tubes, one inside the other. Because the arbors are narrow, almost a hair’s width, but disproportionately long, ensuring they are perfectly parallel is a remarkably delicate process. In the Double Split it’s almost twice the work, since it has a pair of arbors each for the seconds and minutes. And now in the Triple Split it’s one extra set of arbors for the hours.

Lange Triple Split white gold 6

Lange Triple Split white gold 9

Despite the similarities in function, the cal. L132.1 is distinct from the L001.1 inside the Double Split, according to Lange. The Triple Split movement is hand-wound, with a 55-hour power reserve, compared to 38 hours in the Double Split and likely due to a superior (namely thinner, improved alloy) mainspring rather than a larger one.

The L132.1 is made up of 567 parts – it is impressively complicated – and is also equipped with Lange’s in-house adjustable mass balance that’s found on the brand’s upper-end watches.

Lange Triple Split white gold 8

Lange Triple Split white gold 7

Available only in white gold for now, the Triple Split is 43.2mm wide and 15.6mm high. That’s almost the same size as the Double Split, the Triple Split shares the same diameter and is a mere 0.3mm thicker.

Lange Triple Split white gold 1

Price and availability 

The Triple Split in white gold (ref. 424.026) is a limited edition of 100 watches, priced at €139,000, including 19% German tax. That’s equivalent to about US$166,000 at the time of publishing. Relative to the Double Split it’s a reasonable ask, being about 15% more expensive than its simpler cousin.

The Triple Split will be available at Lange boutiques and retailers starting September 2018.


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SIHH 2018: Montblanc Introduces the Suspended Exo Tourbillon (That’s Pretty Nicely Finished)

An impressively detailed new movement.

A departure from the affordable watches Montblanc now focuses on, the Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon costs north of US$140,000, a price justified by the newly developed and handsomely finished calibre inside that’s worlds apart from the entry-level Montblanc tourbillon.

The movement features a one-minute tourbillon regulator with an extra-large, 14.5mm balance wheel suspended just above the dial, thanks to a steel cock. The tourbillon cage sits just below the balance wheel, a conceit of the ExoTourbillon that gives the watch its name. That shrinks the size of the cage, which boosts the efficiency of the movement since less energy is required to turn it.

Montblanc Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon 2

Developed at Montblanc’s Villeret workshop, which was formerly the Minerva factory, the cal. MB M16.68 inside is a large, hand-wound movement that appears to be based on the 16-ligne Minerva chronograph movement.

Montblanc Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon 1

It boasts several thoughtful details, including the Minerva logo incorporated into the winding click, gold chatons for the jewels, and sharply bevelled bridges. Unsurprisingly given that the movement comes from the same workshop, the level of decoration is equivalent to that found on Montblanc’s top of the line chronographs powered by Minerva movements.

Montblanc MB M16.68-2

Montblanc MB M16.68-3

Montblanc MB M16.68-1

The 18k red gold case is a large 44.8mm in diameter, with a dial that’s silver-plated solid gold.

Montblanc Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon 3

Price and availability

The Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon Limited Edition 58 (ref. 116829) costs €120,000. An additional 28-piece limited edition features a baguette diamond-set bezel.


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SIHH 2018: MB&F x Sarpaneva MoonMachine Redux

Here's the MoonMachine 2, based on the HM8.

Six years after their first collaboration, MB&F has once again joined forces with the Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva to launch the MoonMachine 2 at SIHH 2018. Like the original MoonMachine that was based on the HM3 Frog with the injection of Sarpaneva’s dramatic moon face, the second instalment works off MB&F’s HM8 but adds a lunar touch.

In the MoonMachine 2, both of the HM8’s most notable design features – the battle axe rotor and the prism time display – have been tweaked by Sarpaneva. A moon phase has been added to the digital time display, sitting in between the jumping hours and dragging minutes.

MB&F MoonMachine 2 black titanium

A specially cut prism projects the flat time and moon display into the vertical time display window. The prism magnifies the digits for the time by a fifth, but keeps the moon phase true to size so as not to distort it.

MB&F MoonMachine 2 black titanium front

As a result of the additional moon disc, the watch is 19.5mm high, 0.5mm thicker than the HM8. The two gold moons on the moon disc are 4.5mm wide and 0.35mm thick – the smallest ever made by Sarpaneva, whose own timepieces typically feature moons that are 10mm by 0.5mm.


Stepan Sarpaneva

The typical MB&F rotor has been replaced by an radial open-worked oscillating weight inlaid with a Sarpaneva moon face that’s 8.5mm in diameter. The sapphire crystal on top has been metallised with the same radial motif, which extends from the rotor, almost to the edge of the case.

MB&F MoonMachine 2 red gold

Underneath that all the base movement remains the same, a tried and tested Girard-Perregaux automatic calibre that’s found in several MB&F creations.

MB&F MoonMachine 2 -1

MB&F MoonMachine 2 -2

The MoonMachine 2 is available in three iterations: titanium with white gold moon faces and a light-blue moon disc, black titanium with white gold moon faces and dark blue moon disc, or red gold with titanium flanks, red gold moon faces and an anthracite disc.

 Price and Availability

The MB&F MoonMachine 2 in both natural titanium and black titanium are priced at SFr88,000, while the red gold version is priced at SFr95,000. Each is limited to 12 pieces.


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SIHH 2018: H. Moser & Cie. Introduces the Unusual Endeavour Flying Hours

An novel take on the wandering hours.

A well known complications thanks to watches like the Audemars Piguet Star Wheel and Urwerk 105, the wandering hours originated with clocks from long ago. Just as SIHH 2018 opens its doors (and with the Swiss Icons Watch left behind), H. Moser & Cie. has just taken the covers off its unusual interpretation of the display, the Endeavour Flying Hours.

It shows the minutes on a rotating clear sapphire disc in the centre, while hours are shown on three separate discs one level below. Each of the hours discs rotate in fixed positions, with the hour numerals cut-out, allowing the current hour to be highlighted by a white disc.

H. Moser Endeavour Flying Hours 3

The Endeavour Flying Hours is powered by the C806, an automatic movement that’s a joint development between Moser and its sister company Hautlence. The base is the Moser HMC 200 (also found in its Pioneer Sports Watch), while the time display module is a Hautlence creation. It has a 72-hour power reserve and 18k red gold rotor.

H. Moser Endeavour Flying Hours 1

Price and availability 

The Endeavour Flying Hours (ref. 1806-0200) is a limited edition of 60 pieces, priced at SFr32,000.


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SIHH 2018: Hands-On with the Minerva-Powered Montblanc 1858 Monopusher in Green Dégrade

A classically fine chronograph movement in a wearable size.

Montblanc‘s top of the line Minerva movements have thus far been used only in extra-large, 16-ligne format in its aviator-style 1858 watches. That meant wristwatches sized like pocket watches, 47mm wide.

But at SIHH 2018 Montblanc restyled the 1858, giving it smaller cases with cleaner details. The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100 consequently has 40mm steel case with a 13-ligne movement inside.

The dial is an attractive dark green with a radial brushing and a dégrade finish that darkens towards the edges. Unusual though it is, the colour is not new, having been found on last year’s one-off 1858 Chronograph “Only Watch”.

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph green 5

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph green 4

But the highlight of the watch is visible only from the back. Last used four years ago in the somewhat plain Heritage Pulsograph, the cal. MB M13.21 is the Minerva cal. 13.21 (which means it is a 13-ligne movement and the 21st developed by Minerva), a compact, hand-wound movement with a single-button chronograph. The pusher at two o’clock starts, stops and resets the stopwatch.

While improvements have been made to its construction, the calibre still looks very much like what it is, a high quality chronograph movements of the mid 20th century. The chronograph is horizontally coupled, while the balance wheel is large and beats at a slow 18,000 oscillations per hour.

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph green 2

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph green 3

The movement finishing is tangibly excellent, with plenty of polished bevels, straight grained steel parts and mirrored countersinks.

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph green 7

The “devil’s tail” that’s derived from Minerva’s historical arrowhead logo.

The polished teeth on the barrel ratchet wheel are especially fine.

The case of the 1858 line was just redesigned for 2018, and this features all the improvements. Conceived to give the case a more refined feel, the tweaks include a wide, polished bevel along the length of the lugs. And the lugs are also shorter, to make the watch more wearable.

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph green 6

Price and availability 

The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100 (ref. 117834) is limited to 100 pieces, priced at €28,000.


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SIHH 2018: Ulysse Nardin’s Freak Concept Watch Becomes Reality

The Innovision reaches the consumers' wrist, for the most part.

A pared back and more practical version of the Freak Innovision 2 concept watch introduced last year, the Freak Vision is the most advanced version of Ulysse Nardin’s signature watch to date and the flagship of its SIHH 2018 collection.

While the Innovision concept was a technical bombshell, boasting 10 innovations, including the ultra-efficient Grinder automatic winding system, the Freak Vision streamlines the technical advances into a few workable for day to day wear.

Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision 2

The cal. UN-250 in the Freak Vision boasts the same Grinder self-winding system, making it the first commercially available automatic Freak, which is a big deal if you know the Freak’s history. While automatic winding is commonplace in ordinary watches, manually winding – somewhat tediously via a notched case back to wind a gigantic mainspring – has always been a trademark of the Freak, until now.

The Grinder mechanism exposed in last year’s Innovision concept watch.

But the Freak Vision reins in escapement technology, doing away with the Dual Constant escapement in favour of the tried and tested Ulysse Nardin Anchor escapement first unveiled in 2014. Made entirely of silicium, the high efficiency escapement features a pallet fork that intriguingly has no pivots. Instead it is suspended between the escape wheel and balance roller, supported by silicon blades less than a hair’s width in diameter, mounted perpendicular to each other so as to keep them stable.

A novelty here is the balance wheel. Instead of gold masses, the silicon balance wheel is now bonded with nickel inertia blocks that reduce its weight, increasing its efficiency and the movement’s power reserve. And the balance is self-compensating, thanks to silicium micro blades to stablise amplitude across positions.

Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision 4

While much has advanced since the first Freak, the time display on the Freak Vision relies on the same principle – a baguette-shaped movement designed to rotate once per hour, functioning as the minute hand. But it’s been restyled, now with sleek upper bridge shaped like a boat’s hull.

Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision 1

Measuring 45mm in diameter, the case is platinum and it adopts an entirely new, and slimmer, profile. While earlier Freaks were characterised by wide bezels for better grip to set the time, the Freak Vision has a thinner bezel made of titanium and lined with blue rubber with three titanium riders for easy winding.

Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision 5

On top of that, the watch is fitted with a “box-type crystal” that sits above the bezel, accommodating the taller bits of the movement. That enables the Freak Vision to have a thinner case band and slimmer profile on the wrist.

Price and Availability 

The Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision (ref. 2505-250) is priced at SFr95,000, or S$146,300.


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SIHH 2018: Hands-On with the Face-Lifted Montblanc 1858 Automatic and Chronograph

Smaller, better proportioned, and also less expensive.

Modelled on an oversized 1930s Minerva chronograph, the Montblanc 1858 line started with a chronograph, and last year grew to encompass more affordable models in steel and bronze. Thing is, handsome as they were, the 1858 watches were large: 47mm for the chronograph and 44mm for the automatics (which had disproportionately short hands).

Just a year on the design has been refined, leading to a pair of new models that are both well sized and affordable – the 1858 Automatic and 1858 Automatic Chronograph.

Beyond the size the new 1858 has a subtly tweaked case with shorter lugs that now sport a polished bevel lengthwise. The look is now more compact and refined, suiting the retro style better. The sapphire crystals retain their domed form so as to resemble Plexiglas on vintage watches.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 3

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 8

Both models have a solid, pressure-fit case back featuring a relief depicting Montblanc’s new theme for the 1858: mountaineering. A curious choice for a pilot’s style watch, the back depicts the Montblanc peaks along with a pair of crossed pickaxes.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic 3

The inspiration for the 1858

The 1858 Automatic is 40mm and steel with a bronze bezel, matched with a gold-plated crown. It appears to use the same set of hands as on its larger 44mm cousin, but now they are the exact size, reaching the minute track nicely.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic 1

Montblanc 1858 Automatic 2

The dial is available either in traditional black, or an unusual “smoked champagne”.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic 4

Inside is the cal. MB 24.15, actually a Sellita SW200, an automatic with a 38-hour power reserve derived from the ETA 2824.

The 1858 Automatic with a black dial (refs. 117832 or 117833) or in “smoked champagne” (ref. 119065) costs €2490 all the same.

The 1858 Automatic Chronograph similarly styled, but slightly larger at 42mm in diameter.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 5

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 4

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 2

That’s partially due to the MB 25.11 inside. That’s a rebadged Sellita SW500, which is a clone of the Valjoux 7750. Here it’s been modified for a “bi-compax” layout that suits the pilot’s style well (though the mountain and pickaxes are still on the back).

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 6

Three versions are available: steel case with a black dial, or a bronze case with a “smoked champagne” dial.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 1

The steel model (refs. 117835 or 117836) costs €3990, while the bronze version (ref. 118223) is €4690.


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