We headed to Glashütte, which stands on Germany’s border with the Czech Republic, to visit the manufacturing plants of some of the watch brands established in the town. Naturally, they included A. Lange & Söhne. When Ferdinand A. Lange established the company there in the mid-1800s, he made it the birthplace of the German watch industry. Ferdinand was so highly regarded, he was elected mayor of Glashütte in 1848. In the wake of the Second World War, the firm was nationalised and ceased to exist. Had it not been for Lange’s great-grandson, Walter Lange, the brand would never have been revived in 1990, and none of the watches below would have seen the light of day…
As the hashtag has been used over 57,500 times and each image must be reviewed individually, we took a sample size of 2,500 images, calculating the percentage from this to decide which watches are the most popular across the whole hashtag. Here, in ascending order, are the most Instagrammed A. Lange & Söhne watches.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1
Percentage of total: 31.64
History: On October 24, 1994, German watch brand A. Lange & Söhne introduced its first four new models, four years after the brand relaunched in Glashütte in 1990, following Germany’s reunification. The goal was to put Germany back on the map of luxury watchmaking.
Why: One of these four timepieces was the Lange 1, featuring an off-centre hour and minute dial, small seconds, a large date and a power-reserve indicator. A strange design perhaps, but twenty-three years later the watch is still an icon of horology and a symbol of rebirth. No surprise, then, that the Lange 1 was the brand’s most popular watch on Instagram by a landslide.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down
Percentage of total: 10.54
History: For a watch that has only been on the market since 1999, the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down –or “Dato”– has become a grail for watch collectors. When the team at Glashütte decided it was time for an upgrade in 2012, they had to be careful not to jeopardise its cult status. The slight redesign involved changing the Roman numerals into baton hour markers, an enlargement from 39 to 41 mm, and 60 hours of autonomy when fully wound.
Why: The chronograph movement is one of the most complex mechanical movements to design and implement: as complex as a tourbillon if fully integrated, especially when the movement features a flyback and instantaneous jumping minute counter. An impressive piece to have on the wrist and definitely one to show off on Instagram.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike
Percentage of total: 7.64
History: The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike is the third release in a collection of watches with an acoustic time indication –the first being the Zeitwerk Striking Time released in 2011 and the second the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in 2015. Instead of chiming hours, quarter hours and minutes like a minute repeater, the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike chimes hours, 10 minutes and minutes.
Why: While one of the headliners of SIHH 2017 was the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite”, the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike is the world’s first watch with a mechanical jumping numerals display and a decimal minute repeater. No wonder it stole the show online.
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon
Percentage of total: 6.55
History: The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon takes its name from the birth year of Ferdinand A. Lange, who established the brand in Glashütte in 1845. Its simple design and clean dial borrow from Lange’s pocket watches, giving the 1815 spectacular depth. The advent of rail travel, a major innovation, influenced the 1815’s design, with its minute scale resembling a railway track.
Why: With the addition of stop seconds and a zero-reset mechanism, this watch is an impressive piece of technology with precision at its core. The large aperture at 6 o’clock is big enough to allow the wearer to admire the tourbillon in action and appreciate each of its components.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual
Percentage of total: 6.18
History: With the Datograph Perpetual, A. Lange & Söhne brings the chronograph and the perpetual calendar together in a single watch. With its elaborate and technically advanced mechanisms, the chronograph allows for the precise measurement of short intervals with fifth-of-a-second accuracy. The perpetual calendar, with indications of date, day of the week, month and leap year, will have to be corrected by just one day in 2100.
Why: Although the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual wasn’t an instant hit when it came out in 2008, a slight change in design increased demand. The Roman numerals were replaced by baton hour markers but, more importantly, the classic pink gold/white dial version was replaced by a sportier, more modern white metal case and deep anthracite dial that gives the watch an entirely new feel.