Review: A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone in Platinum

Coming full circle.

After its initial introduction 18 years ago, the Lange 1 Time Zone with a platinum case and rhodium-coloured dial has made a comeback with a second-generation model. The revival features the cal. L141.1, which adds a daylight-saving time function to the second time zone. Already one of the most complex world time watches at the time of its launch, the second-generation Lange 1 Time Zone still stands out as one of the most advanced travel watches available today.

Initial thoughts

This combination of a platinum case and rhodium-coloured dial takes us nearly two decades back in time, as the original model was available in this same livery. It’s heartening to witness this classic pairing return, but now powered by the upgraded cal. L141.1. 

Most striking is the timeless appeal of this watch. Examining it, I can’t help but think that the design has not aged, a testament to the enduring style of A. Lange & Söhne that is both formal and functional. Its longevity and continued relevance over the years are remarkable.

To complement this, it’s worth noting the consistently surprising comfort provided by the relatively large case, which sits effortlessly on the wrist. Unlike typical sporty tool watches, it maintains a classical look and size that complements elegant attire, such as, of course, an airline captain’s suit.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the readability of its dial under certain light conditions remains a significant challenge. Despite this slight shortcoming, the Lange 1 Time Zone is still an ideal companion for frequent travellers who desire functionality without sacrificing a refined appearance. 

The functionality, however, is both an advantage and a drawback. The Lange 1 Time Zone accomplishes a lot as a travel watch, but precisely because of that, setting up the dual time zone displays requires several steps. It is not straightforward process like the no-frills Rolex GMT-Master II for instance.

Dial and case

The details of the Lange 1 Time Zone dial are meticulously crafted and showcase the precision of Lange’s design team. Under a loupe, the intricacies and nuances of the dial become apparent.

However, the lack of contrast when read in direct sunlight or artificial light can potentially affect the readability of the numerous indicators and small inscriptions. The overlap of silvered hands on a silvered dial, along with polished indices, make the main dial especially hard to read.

This issue is not entirely new to Lange, and it had previously attempted to overcome it with the Lange 1 Time Zone in white gold (sometimes nicknamed “Night Owl”) back in 2012. That model added Super-Luminova to the hands and dial.

The Lange 1 Time Zone case has a diameter of 41.9 mm, making it substantial, yet suited well enough to smaller wrists. This adaptability can be attributed to its well-balanced and graceful height of 10.9 mm.

Despite its platinum case, which typically adds weight to a timepiece, the Lange 1 Time Zone ensures you are constantly conscious of its presence without it becoming uncomfortably heavy.

Calibre L141.1

The watch’s sapphire back showcases watchmaking craftsmanship in line with Glashütte tradition. The in-house cal. L141.1 was introduced in 2020 as an evolution of the original L031.1, it delivers a commendable and convenient weekend-long 72-hour power reserve despite featuring only one mainspring barrel. Technical highlights include an in-house balance spring running at a frequency of 21,600 beats per hour.

The L141.1 embodies typical Lange attributes, including a three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, securely mounted gold chatons, blued screws, and a whiplash precision index adjuster. The balance and intermediate wheel cocks are both hand-engraved, adding a personalised touch. These intricate details are visible through the sapphire crystal case-back, showcasing the remarkable craftsmanship of a movement that undergoes a double assembly process.

It also features an ingenious synchronisation mechanism that allows for a quick change of the home time sub-dial without affecting anything else. By fully depressing the eight o’clock pusher and pulling the crown out to its second position, only the primary time will be adjusted. 

While using the piece to travel, I noticed that while engaging the eight o’clock pusher to modify the selected time zone, it demands a deliberate and precise action to ensure the outer time zone disk effectively moves eastward. The pusher must be pressed through its entire stroke in a decisive manner, as any deviation from the correct procedure results in the time zone disk not completing its action and reverting to its original position once the pusher is released.

18 years of the Lange 1 Time Zone

For almost three decades now, the Lange 1 has been the flagship model of the Saxon watchmaker, reestablishing its reputation in the world of German watchmaking. A task, many would say, it has fulfilled admirably.

Building upon the worldwide acclaim garnered by the Lange 1, the watchmakers at Glashütte embarked on a journey to elevate both its aesthetics and functionality. This journey led to the introduction of a series of remarkable timepieces, each an evolution of the original Lange 1. The Grand Lange 1 debuted in 1996, followed by the Little Lange 1 in 1998, Lange 1 Tourbillon in 2000, Lange 1 Moon Phase in 2002, and Grand Lange 1 “Luna Mundi” set in 2003.

The Lange 1 in its purest form with just a date and power reserve indicator

By 2005, a second time-zone feature was added. A function that would allow Lange owners to enjoy the convenience of having both home time and local time at their fingertips, no matter where their travels took them.

This led over the years to the creation of a collection of at least 16 references and several limited editions, including the white gold Buenos Aires edition (100 pieces), the platinum Sincere edition (60 pieces), and the rose gold Leon Martens Maastricht edition (10 pieces), all presented between 2005 and 2007.

The Lange 1 Time Zone “Buenos Aires”, an example of the first-generation model, with the most obvious difference being the position of the day and night indicators

Additionally, three unique “Como” editions were added in 2012, 2016, and 2017. In between these releases, two honey gold editions, each limited to 100 pieces, were introduced, with one paying homage to the city of Dresden. In 2019, a special 25th-anniversary edition in white gold was released.

But the biggest change came in 2020 when the model entered its second generation. This saw the Lange 1 Time Zone get a new movement, the L141.1. The launch collection included a yellow gold edition limited to 100 pieces.

The 2016 “Como” edition. Image – A. Lange & Söhne

Finally, the present ref. 136.025 in platinum announced this summer, a noteworthy timepiece paired with a platinum case and a silvered dial. A release that carries a striking resemblance to the inaugural ref. 116.025, which made its debut in 2005.

With the new Lange 1 Time Zone with a platinum case and a silver dial, Lange has come full circle. A significant milestone that highlights the brand’s steadfast dedication to the ongoing evolution and the relentless pursuit of excellence in watchmaking.

Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone Platinum
Ref. 136.025

Diameter: 41.9 mm
Height: 10.9 mm
Material: 950 platinum
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L141.1
Functions: Local and home time zones, each with day and night display; seconds; cities disc; oversized date; and power reserve display
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Leather with pin buckle

Availability: Only at Lange boutiques
Price: US$74,000

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