A. Lange & Söhne: “Black Magic” (Photo Essay)
by Kyle Stults on June 16, 2013
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A. Lange "Black Magic" Photo Essay

Facets of the color black (from left): GRAND LANGE 1, GRAND LANGE 1 “Lumen”, DATOGRAPH UP/DOWN,  LANGE ZEITWERK “Luminous”, LANGE ZEITWERK


A. Lange:

In 1915, a black square with a side length of 79 cm launched a revolution in the art world.  Eleven years after Kazimir Malevich’s foray into avant-garde art, the little black dress by Coco Chanel caused an éclat in the realm of fashion. It was dubbed “the uniform for all women of taste” and is still referred to that way. The examples illustrate: black has the potential for icon status.

In a wristwatch, a black dial combined with bright markers or luminous displays assures high contrast and good legibility. Using the example of five black timepieces A. Lange & Söhne showcases the fascinating facets of the darkest of all colours.

Black wins: Beneath the black dial of the model GRAND LANGE 1 in a noble white-gold case, the L095.2 manufacture calibre parades the ultimate in artisanship.  Just like the king in chess. Skilfully crafted by a master of  the trade, the figure was inspired by the filigreed woodturning works by Egidius Lobenigk and Georg Wecker in the 16th century that can still be admired in the Green Vault museum in Dresden.

A. Lange Grande Lange 1 on Chessman (A. Lange "Black Magic" Photo Essay)

Black on black: The history of ink, which began 5000 years ago in Egypt, is the quest for the most contrast-rich colour with the best opacity. Ink with black pigments comes closest to this ideal. Today, nanotechnology can take credit for a “Super Black” that absorbs 99.6 per cent of the light. Against such a background, the luminous outsize date of the GRAND LANGE 1 “Lumen” would shine as brightly as the celestial canopy above the Atacama Desert.

A. Lange Grand Lange 1 Lumen on Inkpots (A. Lange "Black Magic" Photo Essay) A. Lange Grand Lange 1 Lumen with Ink and Pen (A. Lange "Black Magic" Photo Essay)

Black and white: The camera in the background is reminiscent of the many pioneering mechanical accomplishments that originated in Saxony. The first camera for 35-mm perforated film was built here in 1932. It was followed four years later by the world’s first single-lens reflex camera. Exposure times as short as a thousandth of a second gave rise to masterpieces in black-and-white photography. The digital display of the model LANGE ZEITWERK also switches in fractions of a second with a gentle click. A patented constant-force escapement makes this possible.A. Lange Zeitwerk with Camera (A. Lange "Black Magic" Photo Essay)Black discs: Vinyl records are experiencing a renaissance. For music enthusiasts, what counts is not the haptic experience of the black round with its large cover and liner notes. It’s the mechanical sampling of the spiral groove that creates a richly detailed, three-dimensional soundscape as in a concert hall. In the model DATOGRAPH UP/DOWN, the aesthetic thrill lies not only in the relief structure of the fine azuré grooves on the bright subsidiary dials. Lange’s calibre L951.6 ranks among connoisseurs as the technically most advanced and beautiful chronograph movement.

A Lange Datograph Up Down on Vinyl Records (A. Lange "Black Magic" Photo Essay)

All photographs and information courtesy of A. Lange & Sohne, Germany.