Circles of Time
Watch Time|September - October 2020
Fifteen years after its introduction, the Lange 1 Time Zone has now been equipped with a new manufacture caliber. The time in two different time zones can be read intuitively from the dial. But this watch offers much more, as we can confirm after scrutinizing one we were able to preview before the watch’s official launch.
Martina Richter

The Lange 1 Time Zone simultaneously shows the time in two different time zones. And its city ring makes it more than merely a wristwatch with a display for a second time zone.

A second time zone ranks among the most useful added functions a watch can have, along with a date, at least since people began traveling around the globe, working and communicating with associates in different time zones. This complication is extremely relevant nowadays, but it’s not as new as you might think. Soon after the International Meridian Conference in 1884, inventive watchmakers in Glashütte had devised and began making pocket watches with two separately adjustable time displays. These antique timepieces are now coveted collectors’ items.

The new Lange 1 Time Zone, the watch we were able to preview, shows your home time on one circle and another, freely selectable time zone, in a second circle. The entire ensemble is clear, intuitive, and, needless to say, designed in classic Lange 1 style. The large, off-center time circle on the left side of the dial shows the time at your current location or in your home time zone. Meanwhile, the time in a different zone is shown on a second, smaller time circle at the lower right, at the same position where the small seconds hand rotates in the classic Lange 1. The small seconds truly deserves its name because this is shown on a petite disk at 6 on the off-center main time subdial. This was the very arrangement that was used on the face of the first Lange 1 Time Zone, which debuted in 2005. Also familiar from the original Lange 1 is the city ring along the dial’s circumference, where two dozen place names correspond to the Earth’s 24 time zones. The positioning of this place-name ring lets you instantly see which zone’s time is currently displayed on the second time circle. The functionality of the Lange 1 Time Zone thus far exceeds that of a watch with a second, separately adjustable time display. Without claiming to be a world-time watch, it can still show all of the world’s time zones. This goal was already explicitly stated in the specs for the original Lange 1 Time Zone, for which the first sketches were available in fall 2002.

Two Disks Rotate to Indicate Day and Night

Times change. And some places alter their time zones. Although these zones were theoretically defined according to geographical longitude at the International Meridian Conference in 1884, in practice — then as now — they are far more difficult to define according to shifting political boundaries and national interests. This has practical consequences for watches with settings such as those offered by the Lange 1 Time Zone. Russia, for example, abolished two time zones between 2010 and 2014 and also maintained daylight saving time all year round for over three years starting in 2011. Now the semiannual changeover to daylight saving time is not taking place at all in Russia. To circumvent this confusion, “Moscow” was replaced by “ Riyadh” on the city ring of the Lange 1 Time Zone. Venezuela similarly changed its time zone, so “Caracas” was removed and “Santiago” added to the city ring. And these are only two of the perplexing updates.

The day-night indicators, which are very useful for a watch of this kind, have been completely redesigned on the new Lange 1 Time Zone. They appear as two disks, one at the center of the time circle for the home time and its counterpart at the center of the subdial for the second time zone.

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