A. Lange & Söhne Little Lange 1 - 111.025 - ‘THE LITTLE STEALTH’
It is a daring task to challenge the Swiss when it comes to fine watchmaking and mechanical perfection, but if there’s one brand able to take on the contest it is the German watchmaker that turned Glashütte into a fine watchmaking destination, A. Lange & Söhne. Founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845, the brand combines Saxon precision with aesthetic impeccability, resulting in hand-crafted timepieces of the highest standards.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 embodies this legendary and bold spirit, introduced not long after great-grandson Walter Lange revived the avant-garde family brand from Glashütte together with his friend Günter Blümlein – a watch fanatic with roots at IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre – after the collapse of the Berlin wall.
Years earlier, the company’s main manufacture was destroyed during a bombing on the last night of war in 1945. A few years later, in 1948, the brand disappeared during the occupation by the Soviet Union. But Walter Lange proved the legendary watchmaker’s spirit did not pass on and the platinum Lange 1, first introduced in 1994, became the epitome of its renaissance with its modest yet idiosyncratic and recognisable design, giving it an instant cult status among collectors.
Following the demand dictated by both the fashion of the time and the interest from the Asian market in the Saxon brand – in particular raised from Japanese collectors – the ‘Little’ Lange 1 was subsequently launched in 1995, with a more modest case diameter of 36mm, in contrast to the 38.5mm case of the original.
No official information about the production period is available, yet connoisseurs estimate that this conservative size has been produced no longer than a scattering number of years.
The model here at hand has been coined ‘The little Stealth’, attributed to its distinct platinum case and monochromatic silver dial. Widely considered a modern icon, it is one of the rarest A. Lange & Söhne timepieces of the moment, of which is believed no more than 100 pieces have been manufactured.
This A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 ‘The Little Stealth’ – Ref. 111.025 – watch distinguishes itself with a platinum case and a peculiar monochromatic appearance, by its silver dial and unusual matching date discs with a prismatic finish.
Inspired by the original A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1, the watch face honours its heritage style with the decentralized arrangement of non-overlapping displays (their centers are designed to form the corners of an isosceles triangle), resulting in the iconic, harmonious asymmetrical dial (sparked by the golden section for its artistic balance) – with more refined proportions.
The platinum watch case measures a modest 36mm with a stunning dial in pronounced silver with a matte finish, masterfully contrasting in all subtility with the two sub dials – indicating hours, minutes and seconds – that have a slightly lighter hue of silver and an opalescent finish. The monochromatic appearance is completed by the brand’s distinctive ‘outside’ aperture at the top right corner of the dial, reflecting a panorama date and hinting to the brand’s heritage as inspired from the Five-Minute Clock (1841) at Dresden’s Semper Opera House.
The clock’s revolutionary design was the effort of clockmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, the mentor of A. Lange & Söhne founder Ferdinand A. Lange. Together they crafted one of the world’s first digital clocks, involving two counter-rotating drums indicating hours and minutes. The success of the design contributed to the opening of the A. Lange & Söhne (pocket) watch manufacture and lead to the first patent granted for the top-right outside date aperture to the Lange Uhren GmbH in the new epoch in the 1990s.
The dial is further embellished with faceted hands, featuring appliqué Roman numerals, a German power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock and the eminent arc brand signature referring to its cradle underneath: Glashütte i/SA (‘in Saxony’).
The watch, believed to be one of the first to have left the Manufacture, spots a matching platinum pin buckle.
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 ‘The Little Stealth’ Ref. 111.025 houses the L901.0 caliber, historically based on the gear train from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s caliber 822. This hand-wound movement consists of 398 components (including 54 jewels and 5 signature-style screwed gold chatons) with a 72-hour power reserve, a lever escapement, beating at 21,600 A/h.
The extraordinary hand-finishing of the watch can be observed trough the sapphire caseback, with outstanding chamfering, interior angles and an engraved balance cock from the hand of one of Lange’s master engravers. Plates and bridges are made of German silver, giving the movement a warm silver tone.
This discontinued and highly rare A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 ‘The Little Stealth’ timepiece with reference 111.025 is in as-new condition and has perfect mechanical functioning, being fully serviced by A. Lange & Söhne in March 2021. The piece was one of the first to have left the Manufacture in the new era and has been sold in 1999 by Kutter GMBH & Co. It comes with its original silver-crafted dial and as a full set, including original box, papers and manual.
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