Upon first laying eyes on the A. Lange & Söhne Saxiona 105.027, one cannot help but be captivated by the design’s understated elegance. While this respected brand is better known for things like the Lange 1 or Datograph, the enticement of this Saxonia is found in its balanced yet quirky aesthetics. This is the kind of piece one hunts once they’ve moved on from the “usual suspects”. A watch for true purists — those looking for a real rarity.
First, let’s take a step back to the brand’s origins and see why this model is so significant. When A. Lange & Söhne re-established itself as a manufacture in October of 1994, the Saxonia collection was part of its initial offering. The model — a namesake of the German state of Saxony — was introduced as the Saxonia 102.001 and Saxonia 102.002. Both models had solid casebacks, which is unfortunate when one knows of the beautiful finishing left unseen. Thankfully this practice only lasted a few years. In 1997, the 105 references were introduced, adding exhibition casebacks to the collection for the first time.
This Saxonia 105.027 was only in production from 1997-2002 — the shortest run of any similar references of Saxonia (the majority continued for five more years). In 2007, the collection increased to a significantly larger 37mm model and retired the diamond-shaped indices for the baton-style ones used today. This remained the state of affairs until 2015, when the collection expanded with a 35mm offering alongside the larger references in the collection.
A. Lange & Söhne’s timepieces are through and through German design. There is a certain function-first mentality when Lange creates a watch, and this Saxonia is no exception. One can immediately see this with the very large and highly legible outsized date window at 12 o’clock, which is counter-balanced by the running seconds subdial below. For those less familiar with German watchmaking, the proportions of this date window will border on off-putting, but nonetheless it is executed wonderfully.
With a dial carrying such symmetry, the only thing nudging the watch off kilter is the large rectangular pusher at the 2 o’clock position. This minor deviance is forgiven on account of convenience, as it serves as an easy way to adjust the date. There’s no messing about with crown position on this timepiece, which is a nice touch. The 33.9mm case is finished with a high polish bezel and lugs and satin finish on the sides of the case. A blue alligator strap complements the dial, and holds this 9.1mm thick case tightly to the wrist with a white gold pin buckle.
Seeing a watch movement from A. Lange & Söhne for the first time is quite similar to seeing one’s dial — there’s a distinct and highly detailed way that things are done in Glashütte. Looking at the caliber L941.3, we see the traditional three-quarter base plate with the Glashütte Ribbing (the German equivalent of Côtes de Gèneve), the gold chatons housing some of the movement’s 30 jewels, and flame-blued steel screws add a myriad of colors to this caliber. Every single part, seen or unseen, is finished impeccably. This caliber operates at a frequency of 21,600 vph (3 Hz), with its balance wheel held in place by Lange’s ornately hand-engraved balance cock. Every single A. Lange & Söhne watch has a hand-engraved component, making each unique (technically). These movements follow the same German methodology of function and design, beautiful yet technically impressive.
Versus the Competition
Real Lange purists will argue that there is no valid comparison to a Lange, but stepping back from that lens, offerings from Patek Phillipe or Vacheron Constantin immediately spring to mind. Looking at this Saxonia in particular, the limited edition Hausmann Calatrava would be a fair competitor, also boasting an elegant blue dial fitted in a 38mm white gold case. Certain Vacheron Traditionelle references will also run in the same lanes as the Saxonia and Calatrava. For those looking for something a little less “typical” should also take a closer look at the Roger Dubuis Hommage H37. These particular models are from the same period, from lesser-known manufactures at the time, and both extremely rare. While the exact number of these Saxonia models is hard to determine, this Roger Dubuis is limited to only 28 pieces. Both will attract a similar type of collector.
This Saxonia, in all reality, is for the purist of the purists, as well as those who prefer conservative/traditional case sizes. At a hair under 34mm it will be too small for some, but the person buying this piece already knows that and does not care. This type of watch is for the collector’s personal pleasure and no one else’s. It is for someone who embraces being different, appreciates the finest details, and wants to wind and feel that deep connection with their timepiece every day.
This Saxiona is a little watch that evokes a lot of emotion. This timepiece might not be for everyone due to its size; however, this watch is a solid choice for collectors who lean towards the classic dress piece and want something that might never be seen again. A. Lange & Söhne is a brand that allows one to take a step away from the crowds following “hype watches” and enables them to slow down and appreciate something that only they will own.