First released in 1994, the Lange 1 is widely considered the most recognizable watch that A. Lange & Söhne has ever created. Known as the model that best depicts the archetypal "Lange" design, the Lange 1 combines dressy aesthetics with an unusual dial arrangement to create what has since become a truly iconic aesthetic. Created during Lange's re-establishment in the '90s, the Lange 1 was among the first batch of novelties released to mark the Saxon brand's return to watchmaking, after the brand's operations were halted in 1948 following the end of WWII.
Today the Lange 1 has been expanded across several variants, with one reigning supreme as the Holy Grail; the Grand Lange 1 Lumen ref. 117.035. Featuring the very same design as the other Lange 1 models out there, the Lange 1 Lumen was launched in 2012 as a slightly more modern take on the Lange 1's rather classical aesthetic. A dress watch at heart, it features a round platinum 41mm case with a polished domed bezel, uncomplicated lugs, and a brushed mid-case that measures a relatively thin 10mm tall.
Beyond its familiar case design, the Grand Lange 1 Lumen sports a wonderfully intriguing dial design. Sporting the same layout as other Lange 1 models, it features an off-center outsize date indication - inspired by the Five-Minute Clock in the Semper Opera House, an asymmetrically positioned hour and minute sub-dial, and seconds sub-dial at 5 o'clock. As you will notice, however, the dial itself is partially transparent in the area surrounding the outsize date aperture, as it is made of sapphire crystal with blackened silver subdials for the minutes and hours, and seconds.
Perhaps the most significant challenge with creating the Grand Lange 1 Lumen was ensuring the date indicator would be bright enough to deserve its "Lumen" title. As its name suggests, the date had to remain luminous at all times, which it could not do if the date display was hidden behind a traditional dial without the opportunity to charge. As such, Lange created the sapphire dial that includes a special coating that allows UV light through the dial to charge the date wheels below. This means that when the date changes, the date display will immediately be bright, not needing time or light to charge and brighten up.
Another benefit of the partially transparent sapphire crystal dial is the wonderful view we have of the Lange 1's wonderfully finished cal. L905.2 movement from above. Of course, though, the unhindered view from the exhibition caseback is unmatched as the German silver ¾ base plate emphasizes the genuinely remarkable level of finishing Lange puts into their spectacular timepieces, and the Grand Lange 1 Lumen is no different.