Say what you will about Vader, the man’s got taste. The 101.035 was Lange’s last production watch to feature platinum with an all-black dial. The reference’s run was stopped short after seven years, as Lange started to desaturate the platinum and black market they observed in other brands and their own models. Collectability creates monikers and this watch received one of the best: Darth. The Darth’s stoically monochromatic dial left an influence disproportionate to its age and collectors are now increasingly seeking out Lange’s past dark side.
When Lange as we know them today restarted in 1994, among their initial offerings was the ref 101.005, a platinum Lange 1 with a silver dial. This equally monochromatic metallic offering was more quickly sold and collectors began to call it the ‘Stealth’, the second generation keeping the nickname in ref 101.025. This came just after. Collectors have since been drawn to these two references as an alternative to the bright gold cases and champagne dials so often associated with the Lange 1. Despite a the seven year run of this reference, examples are surprisingly scarce. Like so many watches, the reference was, in period, not nearly as popular as the market has deemed it today.
The 38.5mm platinum case houses a dial that is matte with iridescent dark brown tones. The applied indices and its handset were hewn from white gold. The black date disc is a rare thing and one which contributes to this watch’s evil countenance, inspired by the Dresden Opera House (as was the Zeitwerk). It is powered by the L901.0, with a 72-hour reserve, based on the gear train from JLC’s 822. The true impact the Darth will leave in the Lange collector zeitgeist has yet to be felt, but I know I’m not alone in appreciating its monolithic presence.
This example is strong across all fronts. The platinum case shows very light surface wear across its highly polished sections, but nothing overt. Its dial shows the slightest degree of ageing, having a deep grey tone which these often settle into over the years. This dial is not as brown as some I have seen, but undoubtedly lovely nonetheless. All fonts and signatures are correct as far as I can tell. It comes with a service box from a well-regarded French retailer.
Find this Darth Vader Lange 1 here from Timexchange for 70000 EUR.