Where better to begin our journey through Lange’s models than the Lange 1. The Lange 1 is not merely the most recognizable model from the prestigious brand, as the name might imply, but arguably the most recognizable watch to come out of Germany in my lifetime. It comes in many varieties, but all are easily discerned from other Lange models due to its separate subdials with minimal overlap. Each complication is given its own space in the Lange 1, making it not only very unique, but highly legible.
We’ll begin with what may be best called the de facto Lange 1, although there’s nothing plain about it. Like all Lange 1s, it has a very large, highly legible double date window, AKA a grande date complication, at the top right. The double date window is very easy to read, but it was actually chosen, I suspect, because it allowed Lange to use two small date rings instead of a single large one. This was probably important to give them maximum freedom to place the date wherever they wanted. You can also spot a power reserve on the right, a seconds subdial on the bottom right, and, of course, the time on the left. This 38.5mm Lange 1, the 191.028, is also available in 4 other versions, which have various other colors and metals, including silver dials, champagne dials, yellow gold and pink gold cases.
The Grand Lange 1 is much the same as the last Lange 1, except it’s 40.9mm instead of 38.5mm. It’s available in three versions in addition to this one, including a white gold/black dial model that looks fantastic and an understated platinum and silver dial.
Among the most beautiful of the Lange 1s, or really, watches in the world, is the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase. As its “grand” name would imply, it’s a little larger than other Lange 1s, at 41mm, and in exchange you get this wonderfully large moon phase. This version is also available in platinum with a silver dial for something a bit more low-key.
By far the coolest Lange 1, however, is the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase Lumen, a limited edition of 200 pieces. It, of course, features a dark, but transparent, dial. As the name implies, it features numerous luminous elements, including the moon phase and even the date complication.
If all of those feel too similar to you, try the Lange 1 Daymatic, where Lange really mixed it up. Most obviously, the 39.5mm’s dial is reversed in orientation relative to the other watches we’ve looked at. As the name would suggest, the power reserve has been swapped for a day complication. The biggest, difference, however, can only be viewed from the back.
That’s because, unlike the other Langes we’ve looked at, it’s an automatic. Despite this, and its two complications, it’s just 10.4mm thick. It’s also available in a pink gold/silver dial combination and a platinum case with silver dial.
Next we arrive the Lange 1 Moon Phase (contrasted with the larger Grand Moon Phase, this one is just 38.5mm), which is probably my favorite Lange watch and one of my favorite watches of all time. Here we see the moon phase in the bottom right, a bit more low-key than the Grand Moon Phase, which put the moon phase front and center. It’s also available in a lovely black dial (blue moon phase) and white gold case, as well as a silver dial and platinum case model.
Those looking for a smaller Lange 1 will find a lot to like about the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase, a miniaturized version of the last watch. This one is just 36.8mm thick, making it more accessible to ladies. There’s more to the Little Lange 1 Moon Phase, however, namely that it has a very elaborate dial.
By far the most visually complex (yet not the most mechanically complex) Lange 1 is the Lange 1 Time Zone. As you might have anticipated, the additional features of this 41.9mm watch are all about other time zones, complete with AM/PM subdials and a second time subdial.
It should also be appreciated for the unique visual appeal of its movement, thanks to the addition of several parts above the top plate.
That not impressive enough for you? Try the 41.9mm Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. This is quite a remarkable piece, not merely because it’s a tourbillon and perpetual calendar, but because it manages to do both of those things with such restraint. The dial remains clean and uncluttered, and somehow Lange has managed to resist the urge to show off its tourbillon, except, of course, from the back. It is also one of few watches with a hacking tourbillon.
Oddly enough, this is also one of the few Lange 1 automatics. The beauty if its movement is almost unparalleled, and yet, even here, restraint is shown.
A particularly striking version of the watch is called, less than appealingly, the Handwerkskunst. Fortunately, what it lacks in a name it makes up for in beautiful dial work. The entire white gold dial is engraved by hand, and only 15 were made.
Still too reserved for you? Try the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst, a limited edition of just 20 pieces. Unlike the other tourbillons, this one wears its balance wheel, somewhat literally, on the sleeve.
Finally, we look at the smallest of the Lange 1s, the aptly-titled Little Lange 1. At 36.1mm, and with a beautiful mother of pearl dial, this makes the Little Lange 1 among the finest ladies watches in the world. It’s also available in pink gold.
The 1815 line pays homage to the birth year of Ferdinand A. Lange, founder of German watchmaking as we know it. It is perhaps most easily identified by the presence of Arabic numerals throughout the collection, but it is so much more than simply a certain aesthetic style. It boasts some of the most complex watches Lange has ever made.
Unlike the radical departure from conventional design that is the Lange 1, the 39mm 1815 embraces traditional watch design, with a clean dial, a railroad track minute scale and blued hands. To make the watch even dressier, try it in white gold.
The 1815 Up/Down is essentially the same design as the “basic” (I despise using that word to describe any Lange, but for lack of a better synonym it’ll do) 1815, but now it has a power reserve subdial, from which it derives its famous name. I like power reserves to begin with, but I prefer it mostly because it doesn’t bisect the 6.
In rather stark contrast to the extremely understated 1815, the 1815 Annual Calendar wears its complexity openly. In addition to the annual calendar complication, and its requisite month and date complications, the 40mm watch also has a moon phase and day indicator. It’s also available in white gold with silver hands, which makes the watch look considerably simpler.
The 39.5mm 1815 Chronograph is an extremely elegant implementation of the otherwise busy chronograph complication. However, such restraint was not shown to gorgeous its movement. The 1815 Chronograph is also available in pink gold with a silver dial and blued hands, or a white gold case with black dial, as well as a white gold, silver dial and blue accent boutique edition model.
As is always the case with Lange chronographs, we’re treated to some of the most fascinatingly complex movements ever devised. Traditional 3/4 plates needn’t apply.
The 39.5mm 1815 Tourbillon sets itself apart from other high-end tourbillons because this one not only hacks, itself an extremely rare feature for tourbillons, but has a seconds reset mechanism. When you pull the crown, the seconds hand resets to 60, making setting this watch very easy.
Despite its relatively flamboyant dial, at least by German standards, the other side of the movement is traditional Glashutte through and through. There’s a lot of tradition in this piece. It’s also available in platinum.
If, for some unknown reason, the 1815 Tourbillon is just too dull for you, you can always try the Handwerkskunst version, with its unique dial.
The unique finishing is carried onto the back. The “grained” finish was apparently inspired by historic Lange pocket watches.
The Lange 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst makes up for its lack of naming elegance with sheer movement complexity. This 41.9mm watch has a rattrapante chronograph, moon phase, power reserve and, of course, a perpetual calendar.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, but, if we’re honest, not particularly low-key, try the “normal” 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, which is also available in platinum.
The 43mm Turbograph Perpetual (finally, a cool name) Pour le Mérite is among the most complex watches you can get today. It combines five separate, and impressive, complications, including a perpetual calendar, rattrapante + chronograph, fusée-and-chain transmission and tourbillon, in addition to the beautiful, but more common, moon phase.
Finally, we reach the pièce de résistance of the 1815 collection, the aptly-titled Grand Complication. In addition to the moon phase, perpetual calendar and rattrapante chronograph, it features the amazing, and extremely rare, minute repeater complication, which plays the time back to you in chimes. Who needs lume?
Second only to the Lange 1, the Zeitwerk collection has come to symbolize the brand, and it’s easy to see why. Some people prefer digital watches, others prefer mechanical, but a tiny number of elite watchmakers ask: why not both? It is that single trait that defines this line of important watches.
We’ll start with the simplest, and in my view best, Zeitwerk, which is also available in pink gold with a silver dial, although I prefer this black dial myself. Like all Zeitwerks, it features the “time bridge,” displaying the time digitally, with the exception of an analog seconds hand. The iconic power reserve is still there at 12:00, balancing out the dial.
It’s also available in this stunning Handwerkskunst version, which is probably my favorite of the Handwerkskunts.
In typical Lange fashion, they step up the complexity with each successive model. In this version, the 44.2mm Striking Time, hours and quarter-hours are indicated with visible chimes. It’s also available in white gold with a black dial.
Taking it one step further is the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike, which has audible signals for hours and ten-minute increments. It’s made exclusively in Lange’s own honey gold.
The “final form” of the Zeitwerk is the Minute Repeater, which, as you might have guessed, has the exotic minute repeater complication.
Next we see the Saxonia collection. The Saxonia is, in general, the simplest and most elegant pieces, and they’re best identified by their use of applied indices in favor of numerals. Those looking for a traditional dress watch would do well to begin with Saxonia.
We’ll start with the “basic” Saxonia, which is essentially the only dress watch you’d really ever need. There’s not much to say here: it’s simple, it’s traditional, it’s elegant. It’s also available in a wide variety of colors and materials, including versions aimed at women, so make sure to check them all out. It’s also conservatively sized at 35mm, although the Boutique Edition is 37mm.
Arguably a more everyday friendly model is the Saxonia Automatic, also available in a variety of metals and dials. At 38.5mm, it’s a more contemporary size, and, of course, it’s an automatic.
You might think that moving to an automatic would compromise a dress watch’s thinness, an important characteristic, but that’s not the case here. The Saxonia Automatic just 7.8mm thick, which is thinner than many hand wound watches out there and virtually identical to the manual Saxonia (7.3mm).
The Saxonia Thin is pretty much what you’d expect: a simple, elegant and very thin dress watch. There are a variety of Saxonia Thins, ranging from 37mm to 40mm in various colors and metals, and they can be as thin as 5.9mm. Recently, Lange gave us something more to talk about than its dimensions, however, with this stunning new dial.
The Saxonia Dual Time is a sportier, but still quite reserved, 38.5mm watch. As you might expect, it’s a dual time watch, but in a distinctive Lange style. It’s also available in a pink gold case.
Despite the fact that this model, unlike the Saxonia Thin, is automatic, it’s still just 9.1mm thick, a very impressive feat given its complications.
The 40mm Saxonia Moon Phase is for those who, like me, value the sight of a moon phase complication more than other, more useful, complications like a second time zone. But on top of that, it’s got the iconic Lange big date complication. It’s also available in pink gold with a black dial, pink gold and a silver dial, or, my favorite, white gold with silver dial.
Of course, some won’t be satisfied with merely the moon phase, and they can try this model, the 38.5mm Saxonia Annual Calendar. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a chronograph at a glance, but no, that’s a day and month complication, each of which are used to set the annual calendar.
That said, if you want to take it to an extreme, you can go all the way up to the Langematik Perpetual, which, as you might suspect, has a perpetual calendar. On top of adding a leap year display, useful in perpetuals, you get a day/night indicator. Impressively, the whole watch is just 38.5mm and 10.2mm thick, very compact for a watch of this complexity. It’s also a rare Saxonia with Roman numerals.
Like the Annual Calendar, it also features a micro-rotor, another rare and exotic movement design. This allows the watch to be an amazing 10.2mm, as an automatic, with tons of complications in addition to the perpetual calendar. It’s also available in white gold with a black dial.
You can’t forget about the legendary Datograph, one of the all-time great chronographs. It’s got tons of Lange heritage here, from the Up/Down power reserve to the big date complication. At 41mm, it’s actually a pretty contemporary size which fits its sporting character.
Thankfully, there’s no rotor to get in the way of this breathtaking movement. It’s also available in platinum, which would be how I’d get it.
And so begins Lange’s inevitable march into absurd complexity with the Datograph Perpetual, as if the “basic” Datograph is somehow too pedestrian. The watch, also available in pink gold with a silver dial, adds not only a perpetual calendar, but a moon phase, leap year indicator and a day/night indicator. It even stays the same size and is just 0.4mm thicker despite these complications. What more could you want?
That’s a very dangerous question to ask Lange, because they will inevitably one-up themselves with an even more absurdly complex watch, like this 41.5mm Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. For those millions upon millions of people that looked at the original Datograph, or nay, the Datograph Perpetual, and said no, this is far too simple for me, this watch is for you. The tourbillon even hacks.
The 43.2mm Double Split is an incredible chronograph that features a double-rattrapante complication. Both the seconds and minute chronograph hands “split” to measure two separate events. Incredible.
Taking the Double Split to its inevitable conclusion gives us the 43.2mm Triple Split, which adds rattrapante functionality to an hour subdial. This is arguably the most sophisticated chronograph complication ever made.
Lastly, we get to my favorite Saxonia, the Lange 31. This is the first-ever watch to have a month-long power reserve thanks to massive mainsprings and made accurate by a constant-force escapement. It also has a very Lange-esque look, almost resembling a Lange 1, albeit much larger at 45.9mm.
There’s a look at the ridiculously huge barrel hidden underneath that top plate. The watch is also available in pink gold or platinum with a silver dial.
And last, but far from least, we take a look at the Richard Lange collection. The Richard Lange line of watches are inspired by classic observation watches and named after Ferdinand Lange’s son, himself a pioneer in watchmaking.
We’ll start with the Richard Lange, currently the only 3-hander in the entire collection. It’s an exercise in elegant simplicity, aiming for, and achieving, extremely high legibility and precision. Interestingly, it’s in a pretty modern size at 40.5mm. It’s also available in white gold with all-blued hands, my personal choice.
The 39.9mm Richard Lange Jumping Seconds, as you might have guessed, features the rare jumping seconds complication, which makes the seconds hand tick once per second. As you can see, all three watch hands have been divided into subsidiary dials for maximum clarity. It’s powered by a constant-force escapement and has an end-of-power indicator. The watch is also available in platinum.
The Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite is in a class of its own. Like the Jumping Seconds, it features a regulator-style dial, but with one crucial change: an open heart to the tourbillon. Amazingly, the western portion of the hours subdial is hidden when not in use, revealing the full tourbillon.
If, somehow, you find that too plain, they also make it in this Handwerkskunst version.
And finally we get to the amazing Terraluna. This Richard Lange is a perpetual calendar, adding big date, day, month and leap year complications, but also so much more. Also note the amazing 14 day power reserve indicator at the bottom of the dial. Owing to its incredible complexity, no doubt, the watch is relatively large by Lange standards at 45.5mm.
The Terraluna is so named for the amazing orbital moon phase complication on the back of the watch. It, of course, shows the moon phase, but also the position of the earth, as viewed from the northern hemisphere. Astonishing.
So there’s a very brief overview of every model, which hopefully gives you a starting place from which to choose your next Lange. Despite all of the incredibly complex masterpieces Lange produces today, my heart still remains with the (relatively) simple Lange 1s. There’s just something so right about that watch, as if it’s the only one I’d ever need. What’s your favorite? Click the button to let us know.