It doesn’t get much more British than afternoon tea at The Connaught. And it doesn’t get much more German than A. Lange & Söhne. That being said, we thought the two would work perfectly for this week’s edition of In The Wild.
I couldn’t think of a more fitting environment to enjoy the Saxonia. The Connaught is situated just off Mount Street in Mayfair — one of the most delightful streets in all of London. The flowers in the pots lining the boutiques of the world’s finest brands are perfectly pruned all year round. And I can’t remember the last time I spotted a rogue piece of litter. It’s spotless. It’s one of those streets you could people-watch all day long, should you have the inclination. Opened in 1897, The Connaught is modern but also Edwardian-inspired.
The afternoon tea is legendary. In many ways, the Saxonia and The Connaught share this wonderful sense of not having to try too hard. They both have immense history. They both do what they do incredibly well, and have a loyal following — their respective customers choose them for themselves, not for others. You wear a Lange because you know it’s built in Glashütte to the very highest standards of watchmaking. Not because you want to cause a scene while queuing at the bar. You are part of a very small club if you own a Lange — with less than 5,000 pieces produced every year. In the same way, with its Royal seal of approval and exclusive 121 rooms, The Connaught is somewhat of an institution amongst connoisseurs here in London.
It’s been five years since the launch of the Saxonia Thin — the thinnest (in the brand’s history) and most austere in the current Lange lineup. I have to confess, I’m a sucker for simplicity, both when it comes to watches and also in life. I love simple, functional design. I’m that guy that puts his face on the chrome finishing in Apple stores and wanders around Muji admiring life’s basics stripped back to their most elementary. My mission is to reduce all that is unnecessary (you should see my wardrobe). As a result, the Saxonia Thin makes the heart beat just that little bit faster.
The Saxonia comes in both a 37mm case and a 40mm (unveiled at SIHH earlier this year). On this occasion, we had the chance to take out the 40mm version. Both sizes feature the cal. L093.1. As you would expect, the movement is glorious. Made in German silver with a traditional three-quarter plate and hand-engraved balance cock – you will enjoy staring lovingly at the movement no end. The new iteration is still hand-wound, but with a 72-hour power reserve, you won’t be winding every day. The dial has been subtly reworked. The key adjustment has been in the elongation of the solid-gold baton hour markers, which have been shifted slightly closer to the bezel. The previous Saxonia had what felt like an excessive amount of unutilized space on the dial — accentuated by the fact there was no central seconds hand or subdial. Now, the batons fill the argenté-colored, solid-silver dial perfectly.
A number of those within the industry have alluded to the fact that aside from it being absolutely stunning, this watch also represents a bold move from an established top-tier brand to welcome a younger audience with a price point of the £11,500 for the smaller 37mm Saxonia (the larger 40mm retails for £17,700 at Harrods). When it comes to the ultimate dress watch, the Saxonia is right up there with the Patek Philippe Calatrava and the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony. For me, the 37mm Saxonia represents one of the best buys in watches. You simply can’t go wrong. I love the fact that Lange are not a brand that screams — they whisper. And the Saxonia is the definition of understated class.