A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin black gold flux dial
The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin black gold flux dial is a limited-edition timepiece presented in an elegant 18-carat white gold case. It features a solid silver dial coated in black gold flux and is equipped with a hand-wound movement refined to the highest order. Named after the state where the watch is made, this timepiece provides a fitting tribute to a remarkable place.
In the early 10th century, Saxony emerged as a hereditary duchy under the Liudolfing dynasty. In 919 Duke Henry was elected German king and founded the Saxon dynasty which held the German crown until 1024.
Throughout the ages, Saxony’s history has been coloured with different dynasties assuming power, borders being redrawn and several conflicts. Perhaps the most important period for all self-respecting horophiles relates to the early 19th century.
In 1806, Napoleon conquered Saxony, however, in 1813, after he suffered defeat at the Battle of Leipzig, the power he once held in Saxony evaporated. In Spring 1814, the French Emperor abdicated. He would assumed power again in 1815, but only briefly as he was defeated again shortly afterwards. He spent his last years in exile living on Saint Helena.
Saxony suffered badly during Napoleon’s reign with half the population and 60% of land lost as a result. The trade barriers of the time, the so-called Continental Blockade, were lifted allowing low-priced English goods to flood the market, thereby undermining local businesses.
Ferdinand Adolph Lange (1815 – 1875) having studied at the city’s technical school, began an apprenticeship with renowned master watchmaker Johan Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. Thereafter, he moved to Paris and studied under the chronometer-maker Joseph Thaddéus Winnerl. In 1841, Ferdinand Adolph Lange returned to Dresden, by then he was a highly accomplished watchmaker and went on to invent the Glashütte lever escapement just four years later.
Eager to revive the state’s economy, Saxony awarded loans to entrepreneurs to establish businesses and thereby employment. In 1845, just 30 years of age, Lange set up his eponymous watch company in Glashütte, a former mining town, and hired 15 apprentice watchmakers. Subsequently, other watchmakers set up businesses in the town and today, some 175 years later, Glashütte is widely regarded as the epicentre of German watchmaking.
Saxony has been kind to the watchmaking industry, hence when A. Lange & Söhne sought a name for a new collection, it chose Saxonia. This nomen is now familiar to legions of watch aficionados and has become a byword for excellence.
Recently, the luxury brand unveiled the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin black gold flux dial. Housed in a 40mm 18-carat white gold case, the watch is elegantly slender, measuring just 6.2mm in height. The solid silver dial is coated in black gold flux, similar in concept to blue aventurine. Originally discovered by accident in 17th century Venice, the surface is formed of glass enlivened with small copper particles, affording the surface with a sparkling appearance.
Perhaps most importantly, the hand-wound movement, the Calibre L093.1, upholds the brand’s beloved watchmaking vernacular. The specification highlights include a three-quarter plate adorned with Glashütte ribbing, thermally-blued screws, gold chatons, an engraved balance cock, a screwed balance and a swan-neck regulator. The model is limited to just 50 pieces.
The brand’s press release (December 2020)
The solid-silver dial, coated with subtly shimmering black gold flux, makes the new SAXONIA THIN sparkle on the wrist. But it takes a closer look to recognise the reason. Tiny spangles distributed across the deep-black surface reflect the light to produce a copper-coloured sheen. A shiny black leather strap with a prong buckle in 18-carat white gold accentuates the distinctiveness of the timepiece.
This rare black gold-flux version is a premiere in an A. Lange & Söhne watch. It follows a SAXONIA THIN model presented in 2018 that was graced with a blue-red sparkling dial achieved with blue gold flux. The production process for gold flux was discovered in Venice in the 17th century. It is a type of glass with copper constituents. While it is being heated, the copper forms microscopically small crystals. To attain a homogeneous surface, it must be cast onto the silver dial with extreme caution.
With slender hour and minute hands as well as applied baton-style markers, the dial of the SAXONIA THIN is reduced to displaying the time in hours and minutes. The narrow bezel of the round gold case gives the dial ample space and emphasises the unusual material. Thanks to the characteristic camber of the strap lugs, the elegant watch assures a snug fit on the wrist. With a case diameter of 40 millimetres, the two-hand watch is merely 6.2 millimetres high.
As for the movement, the SAXONIA THIN offers everything that makes it a typical Lange watch. With a height of only 2.9 millimetres, the manually wound calibre L093.1, developed and crafted in-house, is the thinnest A. Lange & Söhne movement so far. Despite the compact size, it offers a power reserve of three days. Two-fold assembly and the artisanal finissage of the parts comply with the manufactory’s high standards.
Brand-typical quality hallmarks include the three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbing as well as bevelled and polished chamfers. To achieve visual balance, the chamfer of the flat-polished end piece is manually finished to match the three-quarter plate. The ratchet and crown wheels are decorated with solarisation and visibly integrated into the plate. Three screwed, manually polished gold chatons serve as bearings for the wheel train that transmits power from the mainspring barrel to the escapement. The freely oscillating screw balance beats at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations an hour. It is located beneath the hand-engraved balance cock that carries the whiplash spring.