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A. Lange & Soehne – Scientific Craft

As we have been saying time and again, watchmaking is an art – and very complicated at that one. Couple it with scientific savoir-faire, and you have a magnificent piece in your hand by A Lange & Sohne

A. Lange & Sohne historyGerman watchmaking brand, A. Lange & Söhne, has its origins in Saxon precision. Dating back to the court of Augustus the Strong, Ferdinand Adolph Lange established his successful watchmaking industry in the town of Glashütte, in the Ore Mountains, during 1868. Over the years, the name A. Lange & Söhne has become synonymous with quality and elegance in craftsmanship.

But why so? Because apart from producing good designs and utilitarian products, A. Lange & Söhne called to aid some scientific principles – quite early in its watchmaking history – and created some brilliant masterpieces. A. Lange & Söhne has always tried to merge innovation with tradition. Marvellously, the brand has successfully managed to create mechanical watches of the future with visionary ideals of the past.

Current-generation Lange engineers and calibre designers often collaborate with universities and research institutes to harness the latest scientific and technical advances for discerning owners of Lange timepieces. But like it was during the time of the founder, a strict rule applies. Each innovation must be genuinely useful.

A. Lange & Sohne watchesWe profile three examples from A. Lange & Söhne where the German brand has called science to its aid to add some forwarding-looking facets to the traditional craft of watchmaking.

All that glitters is Gold
Over the years, A. Lange & Söhne has developed a gold alloy that outperforms all currently known alloys with respect to hardness. Chemically speaking, the novel ‘honey-coloured’ gold is also an 18-carat gold alloy, which means that it consists of 75 per cent pure gold. The fascinating colour, which seems to lie midway between pink and white gold, is attributable to its copper and zinc content. This scratch resistant, honey-coloured gold beats all other gold alloys.

Light up the time
Which watch aficionados can’t recognise Zeitwerk by A. Lange & Söhne? This watch, with its precisely jumping numerals and iconic design vocabulary, has evoked enthusiastic responses. The ‘Luminous’ version of this watch makes it possible to tell the time even in darkness. The phenomenon is best explained with the principle of inverted sunglasses. The transmission of light in the visible spectrum is attenuated to such a degree that only the outlines of the disc mechanism can be seen. Conversely, the UV light is allowed to pass unhindered, so that the super luminova numerals can be charged up with photonic energy – enough at any rate to keep them glowing for several hours at night.

A. Lange & Sohne complicated watchLange’s star attraction
One of the finest collections of A. Lange and Söhne – The1815 Moonphase – symbolises the ultimate excellence in precision watchmaking. Its moon-phase transmission was calculated to such a degree of accuracy that it takes over 1000 years for the display to be off by one day relative to the real position of the moon. A closer look at the coating of the lunar disc provides hints as to how obsessed Lange’s experts are when it comes to details: technically emulating the fascination of the nocturnal sky. They have developed a new coating process that comes closer than ever to the perfection of nature.

The conventional technologies used till now in the watchmaking industry to coat lunar discs did not satisfy the Lange technologists. Therefore, a new process was invented which involves the application of extremely hard carbon films on the solid-gold lunar discs by way of physical vapour deposition (PVD). Interference effects cause the eye of the beholder to perceive a deep-blue canopy closely resembling a clear starry night. The stars are then cut out with an excimer laser of the type also used for manufacturing highly integrated semiconductor circuitry. The technology is ultra-precise. With flawlessly smooth edges, the stars are endowed with a crisp brilliance that makes them seem shine brighter.

Starting from its inception, A. Lange and Söhne continues to drive innovation and come up with superbly efficient watches. Sometimes we wonder, what’s left to achieve now?