Record result for LANGE 1 in steel – Rare version achieves sensational increase in value at Phillips

An extremely rare stainless-steel model of the LANGE 1 from the 1990s was auctioned for 343,750 US dollars.

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A LANGE 1 in stainless steel is as rare as it is coveted. On 10 December 2019, one of the few timepieces with the reference 101.026 changed hands at the Game Changers auction of Phillips in New York for 343,750 US dollars (about 310,250 euros). From the mid-1990s, only a few timepieces in this version, which has never been offered in the catalogue, were produced. Case and buckle are made of stainless steel and the hands of blued steel. Equipped with the manufacture calibre L901.0, all functions correspond to those of the LANGE 1 in gold, which at the time had a price of about 14,600 euros. On this basis, the LANGE 1 now offered in New York was sold for more than twenty times its original price. As recently as last month, a corresponding model was auctioned at Auctions Dr. Crott in Frankfurt for 218,000 euros.

Ref. 101.026
An extremely rare and important stainless steel wristwatch with oversized date and power reserve, in “New Old Stock” condition (image courtesy of Phillips Auction)

Catalogue Essay

Following the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989, Walter Lange re-established the brand founded by his great- grandfather in Glashütte in 1990. The first collection, comprised of four watches, was launched in 1994 and immediately rose again to the forefront of haute horology. One of these four watches was the timeless and now iconic Lange One, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. We are proud to honor the birth of this iconic model by presenting this fresh-to-the-market, absolutely “New Old Stock”, untouched, Lange One in stainless steel, dating from 1999.

On the brink of Y2K, Cellini Jewelers President Leon Adams received an invoice from A. Lange & Söhne, wherein he accepted delivery of three A. Lange & Söhne watches, including a stainless steel Lange 1 reference 101.026 bearing the case number 117’955, for the price of 8,831 EUR. The year 1999, incidentally, was the first year of the Euro, explaining why the ledger also lists the price in Deutsche marks. For the next 20 years it sat – untouched, undisturbed – in a Cellini inventory drawer. The Lange One in stainless steel was never offered in a catalogue and the manufacture has never confirmed the exact number of stainless steel examples produced. Experts’ estimate that approximately 30 were made in total. Of those thirty, about eight have appeared publicly at auction. Of those appearing at public auction, our research shows that they all bear unique case numbers – they were never re-sold or traded publicly after showing up at auction. The history of this watch is a testament to their long-lasting appeal and Spartan beauty.

A remarkable opportunity for the connoisseur with superb provenance, the watch was never worn or used, nor has a strap ever been fitted to the case.

A. Lange & Sohne Ref. 101.026
A. Lange & Sohne Ref. 101.026

About A. Lange & Söhne

Dresden watchmaker Ferdinand Adolph Lange laid the cornerstone of Saxony’s precision watchmaking industry when he established his manufactory in 1845. His precious pocket watches remain highly coveted among collectors all over the world. The company was expropriated after World War II, and the name A. Lange & Söhne nearly vanished. In 1990, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s great-grandson Walter Lange had the courage to make a new start. Today, Lange crafts only a few thousand wristwatches – mainly in gold or platinum – per year. They are endowed exclusively with proprietary movements that are lavishly decorated and assembled twice by hand. With 64 manufacture calibres developed since 1994, A. Lange & Söhne has secured a top-tier position in the world of watchmaking. Brand icons such as the LANGE 1 with the first outsize date in a regularly produced wristwatch and the ZEITWERK with its precisely jumping numerals display rank among the company’s great successes. Exceptional complications such as the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER, the DATOGRAPH PERPETUAL TOURBILLON and the TRIPLE SPLIT reflect the manufactory’s determination to achieve ever new pinnacles in horological artistry.

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