A. Lange & Soehne number 82019, Minute repeating pocket watch with hour and quarter self-strike
Huber's "Lange Liste" has a short entry "No. 79"
on page 224 – it only lists four watches with "strike
(Grande et Petite Sonnerie and minute repeater)".
In the upcoming auction held by Auctioneers Dr.
Crott/Stefan Muser in Mannheim on November 7,
2020, one of these extremely rare timepieces will be
presented. According to the list we only know No.
16005, a gold hunter watch sold in 1883. It was purchased
for 3,500 mark to one-year volunteer Julius
Lechle in Dresden. We have not heard of this watch
since. The second one was No. 62510, which appeared
at a few auctions and is – with its crystal dial
and the glazed movement cover – a truly spectacular
watch. It was sold in 1911 for 2,210 mark to Rudolf
Stobbe in Alexandria, who was most likely a concessionaire
in Egypt with connections in the Arabic
world – the dial of the watch is inscribed "AHMED
KHEIR BASHI". We know the timepiece from the
71stauction at Peter Ineichen's in Zurich on May
11, 1987, where it was presented as lot no. 53 and
illustrated with two beautiful colour photographs. No
estimate was given, the lot was marked with three
asterisks; regrettably, we do not know the final sales
price either. A few months later in July 1987 the
watch appeared at Phillips' in New York (knocked
down at 42,000 US dollar, i.e. 130,000 mark). On
May 16, 2011 the watch was presented as lot 221 at
Christie's in Geneva; it was sold for 240,000 Swiss
francs plus surcharges and went home with a German
The third watch No. 62976 is unusual
in that the gold dial has raised indexes so that the
time can be read by a blind person – a feature we
know from Breguet timepieces. The watch was sold
in 1911 to the well-known retailer and collector Robert
Pleissner in Dresden for a sum of 2,438 mark.
The last of the timepieces listed
is this one, a hunter watch in a
Louis XV case with an original
sales price of 4,000 mark in 1925
(which strikes us as strange).
According to the Lange books the
buyer was the concessionaire Otto
Pohland in Chemnitz, who eventually
(we do not know the date)
sold the watch back to Lange &
Söhne. The Lange books unfortunately
record neither the reason
for the resale nor its price. The
watch was then sold again with a
hunter case engraved with Hermann
Göring's coat of arms, for
a price of 2,475 mark. The inside
cover is engraved "In herzlicher
Freundschaft zum Weihnachtsfest
1934 A. Hitler" (in sincere
friendship, Christmas 1934 A.
Hitler). The watch was bought
by the watch store A. Lünser in
Berlin; according to W. Becker's
list in „Klassik Uhren, Glashütte
damals XXII" the company sold
one of approximately 90 A. Lange
watches to the Reichskanzlei. The
price means that the original owner
from Chemnitz must have lost
money, since he bought the watch
at 4,000 mark.
It would also be interesting to know where the
movements came from, a silver movement supposedly
supplied by L.E. Piguet – but LeCoultre seems
also possible. Delivered as a „Blanc" (ebauche) and
then finished in Glashütte or a complete version with
Glashütte escapement and finished plates? "A. Lange
& Söhne, eine Uhrendynastie aus Dresden" by R.
Meis dating from 2011 shows excellent illustrations
on pages 294/295. A beautiful under-dial mechanism
is also present. Auctioneers in Geneva sold this
watch on May 14, 2006 with an estimate of 500,000
– 600,000 Swiss francs and a final result of 760,900
Swiss francs including the surcharge. We shall have
to wait and see what price the watch will now achieve
during the upcoming November auction.