The Secret Of The Most Complicated Watch In Lange’s History

September 20, 2001, a very ordinary Thursday. A young couple visited the A. LANGE & SÖHNE Lange factory in the small town of Glashütte, Germany. They also brought a ‘broken’ pocket watch. Entrusted by their neighbors, they wanted to ask whether Lange’s damaged pocket watch was worth repairing. On the same day, the couple did not get a reply because the watch exceeded the clerk’s ability to judge. The clerk only saw the gorgeous and heavy appearance and only knew that this pocket watch was of great value. For safety reasons, the pocket watch was placed in a safe and awaited inspection by Jan Sliva, director of Lange’s antique watch repair department. In the early morning of the next day, Jan Sliva saw this pocket watch. As an experienced antique watch restoration expert, he also took over such a heavy pocket watch for the first time. After a first look, Jan Sliva found the word ‘No. 42500’ on the movement splint. Lange has always kept the original archives and sales records of all the watches and movements it produced, so Jan Sliva immediately called the German Clock Museum to check this number, and wanted to know this ‘unusual’ pocket watch from historical data. The museum’s response delighted Jan Sliva, the most complicated clock in the history of the A. LANGE & SÖHNE brand! This pocket watch number 42500, produced in 1902, uses 18k gold hand-engraved case, Louis flower needles, enamel dial, movement with up to 883 precision parts, large / small auto-timer, three questions, five One minute jump seconds, chase time, perpetual calendar, travel time, month and other functions. It was sold to Heinrich Schafer in Vienna, Austria, on August 4, 1902 for 5,600 gold marks. This amount was already available to buy a villa in Dresden, the capital of the Saxony Kingdom where Lange AG is located. At the same time, the high-end version of Lange 1A pocket watch was priced at 450 marks, this ‘No. 42500’ can be as much as 12 yuan. ‘No. 42500’, which disappeared for nearly a century, finally reappeared on earth. However, it is a pity that this precious pocket watch has been completely damaged after years of vicissitudes, and the movement is full of oil stains. It is also rusty due to the erosion of water vapor, and even many parts have been completely rusted and broken. The current owner of the pocket watch is an elderly lady who served her upper class hostess for many years as a housekeeper during World War II. Later, the hostess gave her the pocket watch as a reward. Although the pocket watch could not be used normally at that time, the hostess thought that the watch was broken, but the heavy gold case on the outside could still be worth a lot of money. Fortunately, the lady did not smelt the gold pockets of precious pocket watches into gold bars for bread, as most people did during the war. Instead, she stored them in boxes in the basement and was sent to Lange Company decades later. This exceptionally precious pocket watch is the highest level in A. LANGE & SÖHNE’s watchmaking history and represents Lange’s long history of watchmaking. As a result, Jan Sliva, the director of the antique watch repair department, called the current owner of the pocket watch and asked her to let Lange repair the pocket watch and make it look better. Under the auspices of Jan Sliva, Lange became a five-person repair team dedicated to handling the matter. While repairing the ‘No. 42500’ pocket watch, the Lange technician found three letters on the movement’s gong to form the secret ‘JAP’. These three letters represent ‘Jules Audemars’ and ‘Edward Piguet’, and These two are the founders of Audemars Piguet, a watch brand. Isn’t A. LANGE & SÖHNE’s most complicated timepiece actually produced by Lange itself, but by rival Audemars Piguet? The truth of history is that although this ‘No. 42500’ pocket watch was marked with Audemars Piguet, it was not produced by Audemars Piguet. Instead, A. LANGE & SÖHNE Lange introduced it through the middle of the Swiss Audemars Piguet company and then ordered it from Louis Elisée Piguet, the hallowed god of super-complex movements. @WatchclubPiguet is an old Swiss watchmaking family. The great god Louis Elisée Piguet and the founder of the watch brand Audemars Piguet are considered distant relatives. Now we can still see the Piguet family logo on the Audemars Piguet watch movement, a horse with hoofs. In that year, there were only a handful of people in the world who could make such a large and complex pocket watch, let alone the German watch industry that had been abandoned for the 30 years of German war and revived for 50 years. In order to meet the needs of high-end customers for large and complicated German watches, Lange purchased the movement of Louis-Elysée Piguet and then modified the German flavor. This ‘No. 42500’ pocket watch from Lange also has five brothers in the same series, but these five brothers are not owned by Lange but are also under the Union brand in the town of Glashütte. In 1895, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founder of Lange, Adolf Lange, in the town of Glashütte, Union ordered five production commemorative models from Louis-Elysée Piguet, while Lange only ordered 1 Each. However, this movement ordered by Lange is the most complicated of these six movements, which has one-fifth skip seconds and 60-minute timekeeping. But the ‘No. 42500’ pocket watch is not the most complicated pocket watch in German watchmaking history. The most complicated pocket watch is owned by Union. Around 1898, Audemars Piguet ordered a movement from Louis Elisée Piguet with up to 1168 parts, with travel time, chronograph, tracking hand, perpetual calendar, one-fifth of a second, three questions, self-sounding, alarm, Second time zone function. In 2016, the most complicated pocket watch in the history of German watchmaking was bought back by Audemars Piguet, the middleman of the year. After Lange got the real thing, it took 7 years to restore ‘No. 42500’. It is worth mentioning that on August 12, 2002, a sudden downpour caused a heavy flood in the small town of Glashütte. The safe used to store valuable antique pocket watches was flooded, and a large number of pocket watches were soaked in water. Fortunately, ‘No. 42500’ was placed on the top floor at the time to avoid flooding. Because the watch movement is susceptible to corrosion after being wetted with water, Jan Sliva’s repair team preferred to rescue other pocket watches that had been damaged by the flood. It was not until 2 years later that it began to repair ‘No. 42500’. @watchesbysjx Lange needs to spend at least several million yuan to repair the most complicated watch in the history of this brand. The watch owner must not be able to afford it. Lange wants to buy this watch, and the watch owner must be reluctant. In the end, the two parties reached an agreement. This watch was repaired by Lange at his expense. In return, Lange could keep it for 10 years and then return it to the owner. At the same time, in the process of completely dismantling and repairing this ‘No. 42500’ pocket watch, Lange collected the dimensional data of all the movement parts. The Grand Complication watch was launched at the SIHH in 2013. Its movement design is entirely derived from the ‘No. 42500’ pocket watch, with a limited edition of 6 pieces on sale. Naturally, this Grand Complication is also the most complicated watch in Lange’s history. In order to commemorate this event, the Lange brand official also authored the book ‘Grande Comeplication No. 42500’. In addition to detailed historical stories and high-resolution real-life photos, the production of the book itself is also very beautiful. 42500 case-like relief pattern. Interested cousins ​​can look for, it is worth buying.