By Rebecca Doulton
The popular adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" must be something of an anathema in high horology. Watchmakers are notorious perfectionists, and the temptation to improve upon a design or a mechanical feature keeps many of these fiddlers up all night.
It will come as no surprise, then, to discover that Walter Lange, the man who resuscitated A. Lange & Söhne watches, is faithful to his personal motto "never stand still". Coming up to his 91st birthday in the summer, Walter Lange's life reads like a novel. Following the advent of Nazism, the occupation of Glashütte by the Russians and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lange was finally able to return from four decades of exile to Glashütte, Saxony, in 1989 and re-establish his great grandfather's watchmaking legacy.
Unveiled in 1994, Walter Lange's first catalogue of A. Lange & Söhne watches, fittingly entitled "When Time Came Home", introduced the world to some of the most exquisite mechanical marvels, including the minimalist Saxonia family. Producing all its movements in-house, the manufacture has revived production of its hallmark three-quarter plates and bridges made from German silver. The elegant and refined Saxonia family of watches pays tribute to the federal state of Saxony, birthplace of founder Adolf Lange and Germany's watchmaking industry.
With the SIHH watch salon in Geneva now firmly underway, A. Lange & Söhne has shared three models of its Saxonia watch family with new design accents on the dial. Described as "nuances", collectors and admirers of A.Lange & Söhne watches will have a heyday spotting the differences on the dials of the Saxonia Dual Time, Saxonia and Saxonia Automatic.
Subtle and in keeping with the sober spirit of the brand, one of the changes concerns the solid gold applied hour markers, which have been moved closer to the periphery of the dial. Both the Dual Time and Automatic models now feature Arabic numerals on the subsidiary seconds dial for enhanced legibility. The case size has also been reduced to 35mm on the Saxonia model - making it the smallest member of the Saxonia family and certainly an option for women - and to 38.5mm on the Saxonia Dual Time.
Purists, you can exhale now. No radical changes have been made to the Saxonia - no earth-shattering adjustments or new movements, just a touch of cosmetic surgery.
All three models of the Saxonia family are available in rose or white gold cases.
The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Dual Time watch has been reduced from 40 to 38.5mm and incorporates Arabic numerals on the subsidiary seconds dial.
The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Automatic watch retains its original 38.5mm diameter but features elongated indices on the dial and Arabic numerals to mark 10-second intervals on the subsidiary seconds dial.
The new face of the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia manual-winding watch features elongated indices and a reduction in size to 35mm.