On October 24, 1994, Walter Lange introduced the first watches to bear the A. Lange & Söhne name in nearly 50 years. Once the top name in complicated pocket watches, the famous Glashütte watch brand was destroyed by allied bombs on the last day of the war in Europe and disappeared behind the iron curtain. Now, with the help of Günter Blümlein and IWC, A. Lange & Söhne has returned to its place at the height of the watch market. But there is also a dark past that has not been widely told.
Regular readers of Grail Watch know that I have a particular fascination with watches that contain multiple separate movements in a single case. Ever since the Nappey Jumelles Times and Ardath Long Distance of the 1960s, watch makers have used compact “ladies” movements in oversized travel watches for men. Now a modern maker, Alexander Shorokhoff, has done the same, first with the Los Craneos an now with the new Levels model.
GMT or multi-timezone watches are one of my favorite complications, but many are so complex (with additional hands and dials) that they’re hard to use. Not so the Nomos Tangomat GMT with its integrated pushbutton time zone feature. In fact, you’d be forgiven for overlooking this handy and well-executed complication despite the clean Germanic look of the Nomos!
Perhaps no country is more in love with mechanical watches than Germany, and it’s a wonderful experience to browse watches at Wempe or see the perfect photography in “Uhren” magazine. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, this Wempe Zeitmeister Pilot Chronograph “Uhren Magazin” Limited Edition captures this “zeitgeist” and makes a great daily-wear grail to boot! It features the bulletproof ETA/Valjoux 7750 movement in preferred 7753 form, is a certified chronometer, and looks darn good with classic pilot styling.
Even watch enthusiasts might not have heard of the Jacques Etoile, let alone master watchmakers Horst and Klaus Jakob. But this quiet German brand has made many fine watches in the last 20 years. This limited-edition watch was released in 2005 to celebrate Horst Jakob’s 50 years as a watchmaker. It was one of 70 handmade by Horst, all of which use a classic A. Schild AS 1123 movement.
Apple will today detail their Watch, ending years of speculation. But Jony Ive and Marc Newsome are not the first Apple designers to create a watch, and the first one out of the gate was truly revolutionary. Pushed by legendary designer Hartmut Esslinger of FROG Design, the Junghans Mega 1 was the first miniaturized atomic clock receiver and sported a distinctive ceramic case.
Here is a Lange Datograph Flyback, model 453.135. This was the very first Datograph model, cased in platinum, and featuring the then-new Calibre L951.1. The black Roman numeral dial catches the eye, but one should note the bracelet which suggests that this is one of the earliest Datographs produced.
Let’s see how many watch enthusiast hot-buttons I can press… Glashütte? Platinum? Chronograph? Limited Edition? Sized for modern wrists (but not giant)? How about all this for a $16k auction starting bid?