A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 - 101.002 - Full set
When the Lange 1 was first introduced, it was fitted with a solid caseback only. This was subsequently updated later when an option of either a solid caseback or a sapphire display was made available. This change was denoted by its reference number, with the former following a structure of 101.00X and the latter being 101.02X. This Lange 1 with us today is a 101.002, meaning it represents one of the earliest first series Lange 1 models ever produced and is indeed fitted with a solid caseback. Measuring 38.5mm wide, this 18-carat yellow gold case is a proportional masterclass with a thin brushed case body fitted with straight lugs which hug the wrist from the rear. From a top-down view, the watch is polished from bezel to lugs with the addition of tapering chamfers gently blending into the brushing seen from a profile view.
The Lange 1 truly shines, however, when exploring its dial and movement. Complementing its yellow gold exterior is a beautiful silver dial adorned with thermally blued hour, minute, and second hands, along with its power reserve indicator hand at the conventional three o'clock position. Commanding the top portion of the dial is the famed big double-digit date aperture which is inspired by Dresden's Semper Opera House. Towards the left-hand side of the dial, the Alpha style hands tracking the minutes and hours sit surrounded by faceted diamond hour markers and quarter Roman numerals. Ever so slightly overlapping this dial is the seconds subsidiary dial with its long needle style hand and peripheral black scale. The dial is further finished with the A. Lange & Söhne arcing signature along with 'Glashütte i/SA' ('in Saxony') underneath, and the readings for the power reserve and Doppelfederhaus, which references the twin-barrel set-up of the movement.
The elevated collectability of this piece is not solely due to its early production number but also its solid caseback, which conceals its extraordinary calibre. Of course, one could argue that hiding the beauty of this calibre behind a caseback is less desirable, but such is the iconic status of these references that they represent a time when Lange was fresh, finding its feet, and it marks the beginning of their unassumingly humble approach. Hiding it behind a solid caseback conveys utter restrained class and traditionality—an undiluted expression of the Lange 1.
Powering this whimsical early Lange 1 is a matching calibre, the pioneering L901.0. First sketched in 1990, this calibre is the first Lange 1 movement explicitly created for this watch. Characterised by its ¾ plate produced in German silver, it features gold chatons, blued screws, 53 jewels, 72 hours of autonomy due to its twin mainspring barrels, and a highly decorated, hand-engraved balance cock with a swan neck regulator. This movement played an enormous role in establishing the reputation of A. Lange & Söhne. It ensured the brand's dual focus on bespoke Germanic design and technically wonderful movements was embodied from day one.
How It Wears
The Lange 1 is beyond compare when fitted to the wrist. Of course, its proportions (which are dictated by its 38.5mm case width) are remarkably comfortable and versatile on an array of wrist sizes, but how a Lange 1 sits and moulds to the wearer is truly distinctive. This effect is significantly aided by its rounded bezel, thick and compact lugs and clever uses of different finishing techniques. Furthermore, with this early 101.002, its slenderness is emphasised due to its solid caseback resulting in just a 9mm thickness, ensuring the watch is fantastic in formal or more casual settings.
This A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 101.002 in 18-carat yellow gold dates from approximately 1995 (sold in 1998 by Wempe) and is sold complete as a full set with its box and papers. The watch is presented in an unpolished, good condition. The piece is fitted to a Grained Navy Blue Mr Watchley matching the blue hands on the dial, and its original buckle is also included.
Attempting to establish a watch brand as a newcomer is no easy feat. In an industry held together by heritage and historical storytelling, endeavouring to start fresh and form meaningful connections is remarkably difficult. During the 1990s, this hurdle was one which A. Lange & Söhne tackled as, despite the brand's lineage stretching back to 1845, the company was nationalised and ceased to exist from 1948, meaning if the company was to return, it had to start again. The great-grandson (Walter Lange) of the founder (Ferdinand Adolph Lange) did precisely that during the 1990s. In '94, four references were announced that immediately caught the attention of collectors and legacy watch brand executives the world over. One particular model was the Lange 1, and it swiftly became the totemic model of the launch with its charismatic flair and unique dial configuration which considered the mathematics of the golden ratio. Other models have further cemented Lange's 'product first' approach to watchmaking, but the Lange 1 remains the golden standard for everything the watchmaker embodies.
Since its inauguration in 1994, the Lange 1 has enjoyed a constant presence in the brand's line-up through many advancements and variations while still maintaining the essence of its Germanic appeal. Its widespread desire is heightened even further due to the significant part it played in the re-birth of the brand. Examples fitted with guilloché dials, using original movements, fitted with solid case backs, and even stainless steel cases are amongst the pinnacle of collectable Lange 1. It is a rare occurrence for them to appear on the open market.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium
No stock kept on site
|Dial||Silver with blue hands|
|Size (Case)||38,5 mm|
|Material (Case)||Yellow gold
|Bracelet||Mr Watchley Grained Navy Blue|
|Condition||very good, unpolished|
|Year||1995 - Sold in 1998|