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A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone

A.Lange & Söhne has added a platinum Lange 1 Time Zone to its catalog, filling out the collection that was updated in 2020. Paired with a matching rhodium-colored dial, it’s a monochromatic addition to the globetrotter’s Lange 1, and one of the most sophisticated timezone watches around.  Introduced in 1994, the Lange 1 is one of the great watch designs of the modern era. Today it’s a true family of watches, complete with tourbillons, perpetual calendars, moonphases, and much more, including the Lange 1 Time Zone. Aesthetically, these all draw on the same design as the original Lange 1; technically, the movements have the classic German movement architecture, with three-quarter plates, hand-engraved balance cocks, and fine finishing throughout. Like the existing A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone, the new 950 platinum version (ref. 137.025) uses caliber L141.1, which we first saw when Lange introduced the Time Zone in gold in 2020. This new caliber allowed for an updated 24-hour display, which is indicated by the rotating disks at the center of the main dials, which rotated once every 24 hours. When the hour hand is over a blue section, it’s PM for that time zone. A city ring sits on the outside of the dial, adjustable with a pusher at 8 o’clock – this is actually a complex mechanism with 67 components, as the pusher must advance the city ring, time zone hour hand, and the day/night disk.

The little pointer around 4 o’clock (pointing at New York in the photo above) performs the function of indicating the time zone reference city, but the 2020 update added a small window that shows whether or not that city is one in which Daylight Savings Time is observed – red if DST is observed (as in the photo above) and white if it’s not. No, it doesn’t tell you whether DST is in effect at that time – that’d be technically complex and essentially require a perpetual calendar mechanism, not to mention the fact that different time zones switch to daylight savings (or summer time) semi-randomly, and at different times in different parts of the world (don’t ask if this fact has ever caused us to mess up an embargo time), but it’s a cool and functional addition to the caliber L141.1.

The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone platinum case measures 41.9mm by 10.9mm (and 50mm lug-to-lug), and is matched with a rhodium-colored dial, paired with a black alligator strap. It’s a traditional pairing for Lange, reminiscent of collector favorites like the Lange 1 “Stealth.” Along with the local time zone and second-time zone indicators and power reserve indicator, there’s the DST indicator and the Lange 1’s signature big date.

“If someone were to design a watch that would fit “me” (me being Ben Clymer, journalist and editor of this here horologically-focused web-log), it might look very much like A. Lange & Söhne’s Lange One Time Zone White Gold Luminous,” one Ben Clymer wrote way back in 2012 when reviewing the contemporary version of the Lange 1 Time Zone. More than a decade later, it’s hard to say I feel any different. Since then, the Time Zone has been subtly refined and updated, and a platinum case with a silver dial is a very Lange take on the matter. You could’ve told me this already existed in the catalog and it probably would’ve fooled me.  Whenever I think about Lange, I usually think it’d be great to add one to my collection one day. It almost feels like a necessity for any enthusiast who claims to like serious, well-made things. Even today, A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone makes just a few thousand watches a year and they don’t seem overly concerned with making much more (in fact, in many cases they seem to be making less for a variety of motivating factors, but that’s a different story). But, when I think about Lange, I usually think about chronographs first – the game-changing Datograph or the more wearable 1815. The Lange 1 Time Zone is an unpretentious reminder that A. Lange & Söhne does a lot more than chronographs, and just as well.