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The world into which Ferdinand Adolph Lange was born was one torn apart by war. Napoleon returned from exile in March 1815 and renewed his pursuit of conquest, and it knew no geographical boundaries. The entire globe served as the stage for this tense conflict, with combat spreading from Europe to the Americas.
On June 18, armies under Napoleon and Wellington faced each other in a field outside the village of Waterloo. The battle fought there would be decisive, sealing Napoleon’s fate. He would announce his abdication as Emperor of the French on June 24; in his letter of surrender to the Prince Regent of the United Kingdom, he asked for the protection of “the most generous of [his] enemies.”
The forty years following the battle would be a time of peace, and it was in this period that Lange would prosper.
Born just one month before Napoleon’s dramatic return from Elba, Lange received a rigorous education at the hands of nurses and governesses. At 15 he became a student at the Saxon Technical school in Dresden. Following that, he would pursue training under Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, Sr., royal clockmaker to the King of Saxony.
After a peripatetic young adulthood in France, Switzerland, and the UK, Lange was drawn back to Saxony. In 1841 he partnered with his former master Gutkaes’s relative, Gustav. Five years later he and his brother-in-law would form A. Lange & Söhne on a loan of 7820 thalers from the Saxon court.
Lange took what he learned at the polytechnic school in Dresden and adapted it to his company. His use of precision tools and instruments like his own invention, the zehntelmaß (tenth of a millimeter, known in English as rudimentary calipers), allowed Lange’s manufacture to attain a level of precision that was theretofore unknown in mass-produced watches. After his death in 1878, his sons Richard and Emil would carry on his legacy.
However, the Soviet occupation of East Germany at the end of the Second World War saw an end to A. Lange & Söhne. But after the Reunification of Germany in the 1990s, the manufacture would make its triumphant return. At the helm of the company would be another Lange, Ferdinand’s great-grandson Walter.
To honor the founder, A. Lange & Söhne released the 1815 200th Anniversary F.A. Lange Limited Edition in 2015, the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Though a thoroughly modern watch, the F.A. Lange Limited Edition was made with all the care and precision that Ferdinand Lange would have expected from his descendants. The platinum case is as hefty and sturdy as those pocket watches that drew acclaim to the manufacture in the 19th century. Its dial is an inky black with an outer railroad style track and large Arabic numerals, giving it a somewhat militaristic feel (like the pilot’s watches Lange produced for the German army in World War II), but off-set by the elegance of the dagger hands.
Through the sapphire display back, the movement (the Calibre L051.1) is visible—a work of art, with gold chatons, thermally blued screws, and a hand engraved German Silver balance cock.
This F.A. 200th Anniversary Limited Edition comes to us with inner and outer boxes, book, and a receipt from the New York Lange boutique dated July 14, 2015. It’s a fitting tribute, not only to the man who founded the company, but to Walter Lange, the man who revived it in his twilight years and nurtured it to lasting success.
Platinum case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown). A. Lange & Söhne Calibre L051.1 Manually-Wound Movement. Circa 2015.
Overall Condition: Platinum case is in very good condition with only the faintest signs of use and wear. Black dial is likewise in excellent, like-new condition.
Includes one 20mm black leather A. Lange & Söhne strap with signed buckle.
Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, and receipt from the New York City Lange boutique dated July 14, 2015.