101.030 A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 on Wellendorff Bracelet
For most Lange 1s, the chances you have to acquire one are plentiful, given you have the funds. Perhaps the earlier solid back executions less so. But even less common than those is what you see here. Not the 101.030, but a factory Wellendorff bracelet. Bracelets really make up such a huge portion of the way a watch wears, looks, and feels, yet get so little media. Not only are Lange Wellendorff bracelets exceedingly hard to find, but they’re some of the best constructed, most solid feeling bits of metal even attached to a watch; the quality actually matches the Lange 1 as difficult as that is to believe. Ordering this option and reference in 2003 would’ve cost over double its leather equivalent. Lange stopped offering Wellendorffs toward the latter portion of the 2000s. The sum was daunting then and even today only a handful of these precious metal bracelet appear each year. It’s the familiar loved Lange 1, but with an entirely separate wrist presence.
I now have the distinct privilege of writing about a bracelet whose construction deserves equal enthusiasm as the watch itself. Lange chose Wellendorff, a Pforzheim-based German jewelry maker of the highest pedigree. Wellendorff constructed multiple very unique bracelet designs for Lange, as they had previously performed at the request of Patek Philippe. They’re all in precious metal matched matched to the case, usually in beaded patterns. The tolerances are Germanic, but the motion is buttery smooth. If one wished to source a Wellendorff bracelet for a white gold Lange 1 independently, they have sold over 45K USD for just the bracelet. All of which adds to the rarity of these earlier references, a different take on the Lange 1 now lost to time.
But I can’t entirely overlook the 101.030, a reference made from 2003-2007 which features a Teutonic grey dial. Few were made, most believe clients of the time preferred lighter dials. It’s one of the rarest 101 series dials, thought to be less common than the 101.035 ‘Darth’, it’s peer from the period. This tone suits white gold, which is one of the most grey-tone white metals. I don’t know if there’s a more Germanic iteration of the early Lange 1 look. Yes, there are rarer Lange 1s. But there aren’t many ‘more Lange’ Lange 1s. And Wellendorff is fun to say.
This example appears to have surface wear on its highly polished case, but nothing more than hairlines. It comes as watch only, worth noting, but what a watch it is. No way of knowing if this bracelet is original to this watch, but honestly it doesn’t really matter. It’s worth a ton either way. It comes from a well-regarded Shanghai retailer.