Modern Lange are, despite their reputation, still relatively young by comparison to their Swiss peers. Three decades of consistent excellence is a remarkable achievement and infinitely deserving of utmost respect. However, some Swiss contemporaries have been in constant production three to four times as long. In the younger years of their resuscitation, 1990-2010ish, Lange were marginally more playful (if, indeed Germans can ever be said to be exuberant). Lange collectors will be familiar with one ref. 101.028, an early, less-serious, rare Lange 1 with a brushed Prussian blue dial and gold case. It is today highly collected. In 2017, Lange revived that spirit by bringing back the blue dial to the Lange 1 with that same youthful exuberance.
The blue found on this dial is precisely the same blue as those created in 1994, a tone inspired by King Frederick II of Prussia’s Pour le Mérite medal (a term well-known to Lange people). However, this recent redesign has ditched both yellow gold and brushing, now contrasting a discreet 38.5mm white gold case against a solid silver blue dial. These tones are altogether more neutral without brushing and somehow more severe, but to my eye flatter the 1’s aesthetic. This design may be based on the golden ratio and famed five-minute clock at Semper Opera House in Dresden alone, but it feels to me this exact dial could be inspired by an overcast Glashütte sky: brooding, imposing, and somehow beautiful in its melancholy. Yes, I am pathetically romantic about Lange dials.
The initial yellow gold 101.028 was in production for just one year. Following that tradition, this blue series was likewise in production for a single year. Now discontinued, collectors are increasingly seeking out both references as rare variations of the theme that is Lange’s signature offering. Prussian blue is in fact the only thread connecting both references, as this reference is powered by the new L121.1 with a double-barrel 72 hour reserve, quick change big date, resetting seconds, and finishing praised by Dufour himself. There’s a lot to be said for color. Lange have masterfully used a sole tone to connect their cultural heritage, brand history, and modern design sense.
This example sports an exterior with little to no visible wear. The slightest of surface hairlines are visible. Its dial is unmarked, likely untouched. It comes with a full set from a small Shanghai retailer.
Find this 191.028 here from Oregenpak Machinery Co. Ltd on Chrono24 for ~100000 USD.