First released in 1994 as A. Lange & Söhne's prototype dress watch, the Saxonia has had an undeniable air of elegance, sophistication, and stunning design baked into its aesthetic since it first made its way onto the wrists of watch collectors. Since then, the collection has evolved to include some of the most stunning dress watches around and the watch I have here - the Saxonia Ref. 105.021, produced between 1997 to 2007, is no exception.
For historical context, when the Berlin wall fell in 1989, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s grandson, Walter Lange, together with the successful entrepreneur, Günter Blümlein, set out to re-establish the pinnacle of German watchmaking. As a result of this partnership, the Saxonia collection was born. At the time, it was introduced as a part of the initial quartet of watches launched in 1994. In a way, the Saxonia represented one of the pillars of the brand’s renaissance, and the name “Saxonia” was specifically chosen to honour the German region of Saxony where Ferdinand Adolph Lange first erected the manufacture.
The Saxonia Ref. 105.021 offered here was meant to replace its predecessor – the Ref. 102.001. It features a 33.9mm x 9.1mm case in 18-carat yellow gold which is finished with a satin-brushed case band with a contrasting, mirror-polished bezel. The watch also comes equipped with an external pusher at the 2 o ‘clock position which allows the user to conveniently set the date. On its gorgeous, silvery champagne dial, there are subtle diamond shape markers at its periphery that are interspersed with evenly-spaced minute markers. The gold sword-shaped hands on the Saxonia are slim and exude a sense of elegance and refinement. You will also find a date window at 12 o ‘clock and a small seconds at 6 o ‘clock. One element I find very amusing is the split “A. Lange & Sohne” logo at the center of the dial which ties in nicely to form a very well-balanced visual.
As the pioneering modernist architect Ludwig Mies van Der Rohe once famously said, “Less is more”, but he also said, “I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good”. I feel that this particular Saxonia reference embodies the exact spirit of these expressions. At the time of its inception, there was a very clear focus on ensuring the core elements of the Saxonia were executed to a very high level. However, these words only hold true up until the point you turn the watch to its case back.
As with most A. Lange & Sohne timepieces, the movements used are a big highlight of what makes a Lange timepiece so special. Encased behind the Saxonia’s exhibition-style case back is a visually engaging Cal. L941.3 - a manually wound movement that is fundamentally based on the Cal. L941.1. It consists of 164 parts, beats at 3 Hz, features Lange’s signature three-quarter plate, gold chatons, and a hand-engraved balance cock. It also boasts a respectable 45-hour power reserve.
During my time with this Saxonia, I constantly find myself gazing at the watch and unconsciously examining the finishing, details, and overall presentation. There is something about this reference that exudes a very understated, elusive, and almost puristic sense of elegance that is very absent in many other watches I’ve handled before from this time period. I feel the great need to emphasize that A. Lange & Söhne has done an outstanding job with this Saxonia reference and I am just utterly astonished by how such a small watch could provide such immense tactile satisfaction and an enjoyable on-wrist experience.