If you’re into watches, and specifically independent watchmaking, Marco Lang is a name that should sound familiar to you. Indeed, Lang is one of the most revered German watchmakers and one of the founders of the brand Lang & Heyne. Despite having left the manufacture in 2019, Marco Lang is still a passionate watchmaker and has decided to go back to his roots and sit behind the bench to manufacture watches under his own name, with his own hands. And the result of his work is a new brand named Marco Lang Watches, and the first watch to emerge, the Zweigesicht-1.
Marco Lang (1971), is a fifth-generation watchmaker. His father, Rolf Lang, worked as a restorer of clocks and scientific instruments in the Dresden Art Chamber. In 1989, during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, Marco Lang completed a three-year apprenticeship as a precision mechanic in Glashütte, Saxony. He would later join master watchmaker Ihno Flessner in northern Germany, where he completed his training as a watchmaker. In 1999, Lang returned to Dresden and founded his first small company focusing on the sale and repair of antique watches.
An important point in Lang’s career is when, in 2001, together with Mirko Heyne, he co-founded the watch manufacture Lang & Heyne. While Heyne left the company in 2002, Marco made a name by manufacturing fine watches in a workshop employing 10 watchmakers who created about 30 watches per year. In 2013, Lang sold the majority of his shares to a German/American investor, followed by the foundation of Uhren-Werke-Dresden, a movement supplier company for the watch industry. In 2019, Lang left the company he co-founded but this year, he’s back behind the bench, with a new eponymous brand.
Marco Lang Watches
Before being a company owner, Marco Lang is first and foremost a talented watchmaker. When building his new project, Marco Lang Watches, the idea was simply to get “back to the workbench“, to make watches that bear his name and that are mostly a result of his work.
Lang, of course, has developed, imagined and designed the new watch in question, the Zweigesicht-1. But there’s more, as all the movements are made almost entirely by the hands of the master himself. As such, you can see the Zweigesicht-1 as a very personal take on watchmaking.
Zweigesicht… If your German is like mine, a bit rusty, that means “two-face” in English. But on the contrary to Harvey Dent “Two-Face”, the Zweigesicht-1 is beautiful on both sides. And that’s why Lang has imagined something very cool; the ability to wear the watch on either side. But we’ll get back on that.
Let’s start with the classic side of this Marco Lang Zweigesicht-1. Externally, this watch is a classic take on German watchmaking, with a clean, traditional look that is housed in a 40mm case with a 9.5mm height (or 12.5mm with the two domed sapphire crystals). The shape of the case is simple, with a certain robustness that is often seen in German watches. Still, it doesn’t lack elegance. The watch is available either in stainless steel, in rose gold or in platinum. It is worn on an alligator strap, with multiple colours available.
The main “face” of the Zweigesicht-1 is a clean and elegant silver-plated dial, with a central hand-guilloché surface that has been decorated with a “Clous de Paris” pattern. Time is read with elegant pencil hands, which are made in blued steel or in rose gold – depending on the model – with a special seconds hand with a circular counterweight. The dial has thin, elongated Roman numerals and a railroad minute track with applied golden 5-minute appliques. Altogether, a discreet, refined and typically German watch with Saxon elegance.
But then the magic happens. Indeed, as mentioned in the introduction, the Marco Lang Zweigesicht-1 is a two-face watch that can be worn on either side. As you can see in the animation above, and thanks to a clever system, the strap and the lug module can be easily removed and the case repositioned on the other side – thanks to pins and levers on the back of the lug module. And while the main dial is discreet and elegant, the other side of the watch, which isn’t only the movement, is far more demonstrative.
As you can imagine, the second side of the watch is mostly devoted to the movement of this Marco Lang watch. But, it isn’t there just to show off the mechanics; an additional time display has been integrated on top of the movement so there’s real practicality to this interchangeability device. Here, no more refined and discreet silver-plated dial and Roman numerals… This additional indication of the time is given by an openworked solid silver dial, filled with translucent blue “Grand Feu” enamel and blued steel cathedral hands. The back of this watch and its handmade in-house movement are, as you’d expect from Lang, an impressive display of Haute Horlogerie.
The movement is constructed in a truly architectural way. On top of a frosted and gold-coloured main plate are all the technical elements, “floating” above the movement. All these elements – barrels, gear train, regulating organ – are held in place by what Marco calls “flying bridges”, which are made of hardened steel, with their cold and bright colour contrasting with the warm golden background.
The architecture of the movement is conceived to be displayed and admired. The position of all the elements is symmetrical, starting from the regulating organ on top, held in place by a diamond end-stone. The free four-legged balance with gold excentres is inspired by the shape of a Gothic church window. Then is the gear train and finally, the lower part of the movement is devoted to energy storage, with two series-connected barrels that ensure a longer and comfortable running time for the movement. From what we can see here (and I doubt a hands-on look will change this perception), the movement appears impeccably finished and decorated, with blued screws, large polished chamfers with sharp angles, straight-brushed surfaces, handmade engravings, and more flourishes that you would expect from such a high-end watch.
The hand-wound Calibre ml-01 runs at a 3Hz frequency and can store up to 70 hours of power reserve. But there’s a final feature that needs to be explained… The surprising module visible at 9 o’clock, which looks like nothing else we’ve seen before. Not a proper complication, this is a shock-indication. As explained by Lang, “With a befriended watch collector, I came up with the following thought: In order to be able to objectively observe the precision of a watch movement, wearing habits play a major role. The movement with all of its finely crafted parts is often exposed to small bumps on the wrist. How big are the shocks, and from which direction do they come? That gave me the idea of developing such a (shock-indication) assembly and integrating it into the movement.”
In the movement level, X and Y coordinates are recorded and displayed using a hand-spring mechanism with 4 hands. A small weight ensures the deflection of two forks, which in turn move two hands each. These are held in the deflected position by a fine-locking toothing. The wearer can also reset the system at any time using a corrector. Also, note that this invention is released in open-source. “In order to be able to offer a reliable service to all watch lovers and customers worldwide, all technical data and construction details will be published and released for download from one year after the model has been presented,” says Lang.
The Marco Lang Zweigesicht-1 will be produced mostly by hand and will be limited to 18 pieces in total. More details and orders can be made by visiting www.marcolangwatches.com.