The Saxonia Outsize Date (Ref. 381.026) is a perfect dress watch that you can wear on all your momentous occasions. The 38.5mm piece is crafted in 18K white gold and has a silver argenté dial featuring appliqué white gold baton hour markers, which are dual in numbers at 12, 3, and 9 o’clock respectively, and a small seconds subdial located at 6 o’clock, where double markers are reduced. The dial also features a big date aperture at 12 o’clock, which is the striking feature of this timepiece. Powering the watch is an in-house L086.8 automatic movement.
On the dial, the name of the German watchmaker is printed precisely on the dial in beautiful art deco type. On the back, a glass roof made of sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides provides a spectacular view over a mechanism that’s intended to last a lifetime, and longer. The white gold case is carefully polished with a midsection made of satinised white gold.
The skeletonised gold rotor spins above it all. Five heat- treated blued screws secure the platinum oscillating weight, providing both beauty and function. The handsome relief engraving on a bead-blasted background leaves no doubt about the origin of the elegant timepiece. If the rotor should stop, work will continue for a reassuring period of 72 hours.
The embellishments continue at the next lower level. A Glashütte ribbing pattern decorates the three-quarter plate. In typical Lange style, it is made of untreated German silver, with a warm golden colour to complete the look. The same is true of the hand-engraved balance cock with its floral motif and swan-neck fine regulator. Like a finely laid table, every last detail is perfect. The only thing missing here are screwed gold chatons.
The Saxonia Outsize date comes very close to perfection, with only a slight delay. On the timing machine, values measured in six positions remain close, with a maximum deviation of 6 seconds. On average, Saxonia runs with a slight loss of only -0.5 seconds per day. The same result was seen consistently each day during a two-week-long wearing test.
Also, the Saxonia assists with its small but easy-to-use crown. A stop-seconds mechanism facilitates the exact setting of the time. Another special feature at Lange—the rapid-correction pusher at 10 o’clock for the outsize date—also works in an exemplary manner. It is a treat for the eyes with a satin-finished surface and polished sides, and a pressure point with exactly the right amount of resistance to make setting simple yet still prevent unintentional activation.
The strap of Saxonia is stiff in the beginning, but it is temporary, and it softens over time as the alligator leather adjusts to your wrist, and there’s perfection in the execution and finishing. This is also true of the white gold pin buckle with the Lange logo, which is milled from a solid piece of precious metal and then carefully polished. It is also easy to use and slopes downward at the sides so the strap seems to elegantly disappear.
Customs and traditions play a big role at a wedding. At Lange, the Outsize Date with two windows is a prominent and distinctive feature of the brand, with roots reaching far back into history. In 1841, the newly built Semperoper opera house in Dresden, Germany, included a clock with two windows to display the hours and minutes. The minute display advanced in five-minute increments, from 10 to 15, for example. Behind this display were rolls with numerals. The clock was built by Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes with the assistance of Ferdinand Adolph Lange. Seven years later, Lange founded his own company in Glashütte, thereby laying the foundation for Germany’s watchmaking mecca. But it was some time before the double window would be seen again on a watch. Following the end of World War II in 1945, expropriation, and many years of exile in West Germany, Ferdinand Aldoph’s great-grandson Walter Lange re-established A. Lange & Söhne, with support from the instrument manufacturer VDO, which then owned IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Of the four models in the first collection introduced in 1994, three had the characteristic—and for that time, unusual—large date display.
The display quickly became a trademark at Lange and sparked a large date trend that continues to this day. The design with a cross-shaped disk for the first digit and a lower, offset disk for the second digit has undergone very little change over the years. The centre bar conceals the height difference between the numerals, inspired by the divided windows of the Semperoper clock—a successful solution both technically and visually. Only on the first nine days of the month, when the first window remains empty, does the Outsize Date not look as balanced as it does during the rest of the month. In addition to the movement decoration, the large date display belongs to the Lange tradition.
At the end of the day, it’s time to settle up. And like any fine item, the Saxonia Outsize Date has its price—INR 21,65,000 (approx.). At Lange, the Saxonia Outsize Date is an entry point into men’s watches after the 1815 Manual Wind at INR 20,20,000 (approx.) and the Saxonia Automatic at INR 20,40,000 (approx.). It is the most affordable watch with the large date display. The design icon Lange 1, which is the same size, costs considerably more at INR 27,50,000 but basically only offers an additional power reserve indication. And, it is not self-winding. The Saxonia, therefore, offers a satisfying and, thanks to the automatic movement, practical entry into this brand. The price is appropriate in light of the hand-applied decorations, exquisite watchmaking, and flawless finishing of the precious metals.
The story first appeared in WatchTime US, and was carried in the Oct-Dec 2021 issue of WatchTime India. To subscribe, click here.
Images: Courtesy Brand