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    Sale 1348

    Important Pocket Watches and Wristwatches

    12 November 2007, Geneva

  • Lot 381

    A. Lange & Söhne. An exceptionally rare and important 18K pink gold hunter case two-train minute repeating grande and petite sonnerie perpetual calendar split seconds chronograph keyless lever clock watch with register, age and phases of the moon and Bulletin de Marche


    Price Realised  


    A. Lange & Söhne. An exceptionally rare and important 18K pink gold hunter case two-train minute repeating grande and petite sonnerie perpetual calendar split seconds chronograph keyless lever clock watch with register, age and phases of the moon and Bulletin de Marche
    Signed A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte, no. 46177, manufactured in 1904
    Cal. 43 19''' nickel-finished two-train lever movement wound by turning the crown to either side, 43 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance with gold poising screws, gold lever and escape wheel, finely engraved balance cock, swan neck regulator with diamond endstone, minute repeating and grande and petite sonnerie striking on two polished steel hammers onto two gongs, glazed dust cover, gold cuvette with engraved inscription Dr. Eduard Müller, Hamburg 1904, the white enamel dial with Breguet numerals, gold Louis XVI hands, outer Arabic railway five minute divisions, four sunk subsidiary dials indicating month combined with leap year indicator and 30 minutes register, day, date and phases of the moon combined with age of the moon and constant seconds, in circular heavy case with engine-turned centres to both covers, the reverse centred by a circular blank cartouche and engraved initials, repeating slide and two chronograph buttons in the band, Ruhe/Schlagen (silence/striking) and Stunden & Viertel/Viertel (hours & quarters/quarters) levers underneath the bezel, case and cuvette signed and numbered, dial signed
    60 mm. diam.

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    Accompanied by Uhrenmuseum Glashütte Certificate dated 29 May 2006 confirming the sale of the present watch to Fa. Vogler & Co., Hamburg, on 26 August 1904 for the amount of 4,007 Marks. Furthermore delivered with the photocopy from the original registers.

    The present watch is the second example of a series of only 9 of such ultra-complicated timepieces signed A. Lange & Söhne, the first made in 1901 and numbered 41277, the last, number 99901, made in 1928. It is furthermore the only one of these "Grande Complications" awarded with a Bulletin de Marche from the Leipzig Observatory. This watch impresses not only by its gold weight of over 150 grams but especially with no less than 13 complications (in addition to the essential timekeeping functions such as hours, minutes and seconds which are not considered complications), hence making it one of the world's most complicated pocket watches ever made:

    1. The perpetual calendar
    2. The days of the week
    3. The months
    4. The days of the month
    5. The phases and age of the moon
    6. The chronograph
    7. The split seconds
    8. The 30 minutes register
    9. The minute repeating
    10. The grande sonnerie
    11. The petite sonnerie
    12. The twin barrel bi-directional winding
    13. The highly precise movement awarded a Bulletin de Marche of the Leipzig University Observatory

    This "Grande Complication" pays tribute to Germany's horological testimony of the 20th century; the perfect combination of engineering, craftsmanship and design, together with the impeccable provenance, render this masterpiece a trophy for any collector and amateur of exceptional watches.

    Furthermore, according to our researches, no other of these "Grande Complication" watches by A. Lange & Söhne has been offered in public within the last decade.

    A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte bei Dresden
    For over 150 years, watches made by A. Lange & Söhne were and still are among the most coveted timepieces in the world. The success story of the celebrated dynasty started with Ferdinand Adolph Lange, born in Dresden on 18 February 1815. After the divorce of his parents, he found a new home with a merchant family that gave the intelligent young man a good education. At the age of 15, while he was still attending the polytechnic school in Dresden, he began training as an apprentice with the celebrated master watchmaker J. C. Friedrich Gutkäs.

    In 1835, Adolph Lange completed his apprenticeship with honours and continued as Gutkäs' employee for two more years before deepening his skills as a journeyman, working with Europe's most respected chronometer makers, notably Winnerl in Paris. After his return to Dresden in 1841, Lange became a co-owner of and the driving force behind Gutkäs' manufactory, constructing amongst others the celebrated five-minute clock in Dresden's Semper Opera.

    Besides his dedication to horological perfection, Adolph Lange was a person of uncommon social sensitivity. The growing level of destitution in the Ore Mountains ultimately urged him to leave his privileged position in Dresden; in 1845, armed with numerous visions and his journey- and workbook, he set out for the poverty-stricken town of Glashütte in order to establish the Saxon precision watchmaking industry. In December 1845, with the financial help of the Saxon government, Lange started his own manufacture with his friend Adolf Schneider and fifteen apprentices, followed by 'A. Lange & Söhne' in association with his sons Richard and Friedrich Emil in 1868.

    Lange possessed an extended range of knowledge in different directions; his eminent talents did not remain unnoticed, and he was very early elected mayor in his little town. His life was one of activity and he introduced many essential innovations in the manufacturing of watches and chronometry. The horological school at Glashütte, though opened only two years after his dead, was a natural sequence of his thirty years' endeavour to resuscitate watch making in Germany. His shop had been a training school from the first day.

    Lange watches are renowned for their variety of rare technical constructions and quality and offer everything from an early pin lever watch handmade by Adolph Lange up to tourbillons and highly complicated astronomical repeating watches, such as the present lot.

    Other "Grande Complication" watches from this series of nine examples are described and illustrated in A. Lange & Söhne - eine Uhrmacher-Dynastie aus Dresden by Reinhard Meis, pp. 272 & 273 and in Die Uhren von A. Lange & Söhne Glashütte Sachsen by Martin Huber, 1982 edition pp. 51 & 52, 1988 edition pp. 150 & 151.


    1904 - circa 1925: Dr. Eduard Müller, Hamburg, the first owner
    circa 1925 - 1952: the grandfather of the present owners
    1952 - 2002: the father of the present owners
    2002 - todate: the present owners

    Pre-Lot Text

    Perfection from Saxony - the A. Lange & Söhne "Grande Complication" No. 46177