The Lange 31 is a glorious specimen for a multiple of reasons. Having been presented at SIHH 2017 in a limited edition of 100 watches it features the classic Lange big date at 9 o'clock, a clean grey dial and well, possibly the most impressive power reserve indicator you will have ever come across at 3 o'clock. It posseses an unheard of 31 days of power when fully wound (one less thing to worry about when your enjoying your morning coffee). The news today is that Lange & Sohne have now collaborated with artist Sebastian Kite for ‘A Journey into Grey’, a project inspired by the Lange 31
The watch was the inspiration for British artist Sebastian Kite, who's objective with this project was to get to the bottom of this ‘achromatic colour’ on the dial and to highlight this hue in all of its different aspects by building a three-dimensional installation.
Beneath the elegant dial of the white-gold Lange 31, lies a mesmerising 406-part movement, the engine behind the first mechanical wristwatch with a power reserve of 31 days. Its patented constant-force escapement assures that a uniform amount of energy is delivered to the oscillator every ten seconds; this keeps the watch running very accurately for an entire month.
‘Nothing beats the accuracy of this watch. Therefore, I looked for another approach to interpret it.’ says Kite.
In this project, Kite has built a three-dimensional installation with metal frames, steel cables and mirror foils to showcase the grey dial and how it plays with various shades of light.
Fascinated by the infinite variations in tone and texture, Sebastian Kite instinctively chose the 16 mm cinematic film format as the medium for his exploration of grey. He was particularly attracted to a 1940s camera:
‘The LANGE 31 is powered by two springs, each with an incredible length of 1.85 metres. To pay tribute to this technical feat, I decided to work with a spring-wound Bolex camera.’ For Sebastian Kite, this camera was the ideal tool for visualising the spectrum of possible grey shades. To achieve the goal, the artist first had to break out of his habitual surroundings. He travelled to Cornwall and found the ideal backdrop for a moving picture inspection there. It was an encounter with a fissured and gruff landscape interspersed with surreal ruins reminiscent of bygone epochs.
‘In nature, the variations of grey are boundless. I wanted to try to capture at least some of them.’ And having taken a look at his work, I'd say he's done a tremendous job. Another interesting Lange collaboration - lets hope there are a few 31's left!