When Emil Lange assumed sole control of the firm after his brother Richard's retirement, he keenly promoted more decorative case styles. At the same time, Germany was experiencing a period of heightened prosperity under Kaiser Wilhelm II and this led to a growing demand for more ornate timepieces. The firm increased demand for their watches by creating lavishly decorated pieces, which turned a higher profit for the company.
Professor Carl Ludwig Theodor Graff's (1844-1906) case designs, such as found on the present piece, were some of the most elaborate watches produced by the firm. The Dresden school of applied arts produced, under the direction of Professor Graff, a great number of decorative designs for Lange, as well as other Glashütte firms. Graff served as the Firector of the Royal College of Arts and the Art Museum in Dresden. The themes were mostly from Renaissance architecture or illustrated manuscripts. On the present watch, a central cartouche features a polychrome enamel painting of the head of Minerva wearing a feather cap and jewellery. The style of the headdress looks ahead to Art Deco design. Meis further discusses Professor Graff and his cases in Watchmakers of Dresden Vol. II, 2012, pp. 122-127.
The firm produced a relatively small quantity of cases with enamel decoration after Professor Graff. To the best of our knowledge, only six pieces have ever been offered at auction.
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