Lange, who died in January, is immortalized with a single mechanical masterpiece of black enamel and steel.
When Walter Lange died this past January on the second day of SIHH at 92, the Lange stand became a makeshift hub of remembrances and mourning. The horological pioneer who brought the Datograph into the world, who rebuilt his family company that was taken apart at the end of WWII in 1990 after the Berlin Wall fell, had risen up to join the ranks of watchmaking's other departed legends.
“The best way to honour Walter Lange," Lange CEO Wilhelm Schmid said in a statement, "is to assure the continuity and the ongoing development of the company that he founded — in the way that he would have envisioned it.”
Moving forward doesn't mean there's any harm in looking back, though. Yesterday A. Lange & Söhne announced its imminent release of the 1815 "Homage to Walter Lange," a timepiece that sports a stoppable sweep seconds hand, a black enamel dial, a steel case and numerous other components reflecting the storied heritage of Lange's watchmaking dynasty. The watch will make its official worldwide debut in January at SIHH 2018.
The steel version of this timepiece will be produced only once, which the manufacture notes "makes it as unique as the man whose name it bears." It will be auctioned off for charity in 2018, itself a nod to Walter Lange's generous philanthropic spirit. Limited editions in yellow, white and pink gold will be available.
The watch's jumping second hand also nods back to the Lange family's rich history of innovation. Rather than dividing the second into a number of steps depending on the balance frequency, the hand is started and stopped by a pusher at 2 o'clock. The manufacture says that this jumping seconds hand was one of Lange's "favourite complications because it embodies the puristic notion of precision watchmaking."
We think it's even more impressive that the concept dates all the way back to Walter Lange's great grandfather, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, in 1867. Ferdinand's invention led his son Richard to come up with a more advanced configuration, leading them to secure one of Germany's first patents in 1877. It was first put into a watch built by Ferdinand's second son, Emil, who was Walter Lange's grandfather.
Another lovingly thoutghful detail is so subtle that one might miss it — the watch's newly developed movement has a calibre designation of L1924, Lange's birth year. The first three digits of the reference number 297.078 also recall his date of birth on July 29.