A. Lange & Söhne A Trio of Complications
To many watch aficionados, Lange’s Datograph is a holy-grail chronograph equipped with a lavishly finished movement. This year a tourbillon and perpetual calendar are added to the Datograph to make it a trio of intricate complications – both the dial layout and movement architecture are breathtakingly stunning.
Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
Since its launch in 1999, the Lange’s Datograph with a flyback function is one of the high-end chronographs that many watch lovers strive to acquire. At that time, there were already first-tier chronograph watches; yet a genuine in-house chronograph movement was rare. In terms of mechanical construction, design and polishing, the hand-wound chronograph movement nestled inside the Datograph is flawlessly executed. Even the famed independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour himself owns one. In fact, nobody doesn’t admire the complex structure when turning the timepiece over.
A pure chronograph is already downright incredible. Adding a perpetual calendar and tourbillon, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon shows an amazingly intricate movement at the back. Only do a few timepieces offer such appealing view on the movement side than the dial side. Each of the 729 components is finely polished. Moreover, the parts in bigger size such as the tourbillon bridge are black polished, showcasing the highest standard of polishing. You don’t really need a loupe to see how impeccable the finishing is.
Speaking of the dial layout, the two sub-dials at 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock show the perpetual calendar display. The small seconds dial on the left houses the day of week and day/night indicator, while the 30-mintue register on the right houses the month and leap year indicator. The moonphase display itself sits at 6 o clock. As the tourbillon is subtly located on the movement side, the layout is indeed quite similar to that of the Datograph Perpetual, of which the leap year display and power reserve indicator are stacked on the two sub-dials. On this latest piece, the leap year display now nestles inside the sub-dial, while the power reserve indicator is now assigned at the outer ring of the dial at 10 o’clock. This helps make the dial layout cleaner and simpler than the Datograph Perpetual. Last year’s Datograph Perpetual in white gold was priced at round $1,000,000 and this year’s platinum Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon costs around 300,000 euros. That is over $2,000,000. Of course it has a hefty price tag thanks to a tourbillon added. But don’t forget it is a tourbillon with stop-second mechanism and exquisite craftsmanship. The watch comes in a scarce edition of 100 rarities.
Richard Lange Jumping Seconds
Quite a lot watch brands create watch with jumping seconds in recent years. The Saxonian Manufacture also jumps on the bandwagon and takes it well beyond that. Let’s examine the three sub-dials layout used by the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar, an age-old regulator setting. A small triangle window resides in the intersection of the two sub-dials on the right and left. The red indicator will show up when 10 hours of power reserve are left – to remind the wearer to rewind the watch. Besides a power reserve indicator, the watch is equipped with the constant force escapement, which provides a stable power to the gear train system thus ensuring the accuracy of timekeeping. Each sub-dial is characterised by different designs – the largest jumping seconds dial is highlighted by a blued steel hand and decorated with a railway track scale, while the hour dial and minute dial feature Roman numerals and Arabian numerals respectively. Last but not least, the watch is equipped with the zero-rest mechanism which enables the users to adjust the time more precisely and conveniently. At the back, the three quarter movement plate also offers a visual flourish. This 39.9mm timepiece is cased in platinum and limited to 100 pieces.
Saxonia Moon Phase
Suffice it to say it is not easy to have a watch with a large date complemented by a beautiful moonphase like the Saxonia Moon Phase. The oversize date is always Lange’s strong suit. And the oversize date of this Saxonia Moon Phase is even 4% larger than that of the Lange 1. The reason of having such oversize date is to harmonise with the large moon phase display at the bottom of the dial so as to achieve aesthetic balance. The golden moon is made of 18K gold and the blue sky background created by a patented coating and decorated with 852 stars cut by laser. Not only is the moonphase extremely beautiful, it is also accurate that the display only has to be adjusted one day every 122.6 year. This watch is driven by the brand new automatic movement offering 3-day of power reserve.
Grand Lange 1 Moohphase “Lumen”
Grande Lange 1 Lumen has its hands, hour indices, power reserve indicator and the white backdrop of the outsize day all coated with luminous layer. The watch is striking in the dark particularly the glowing big date. This year, Lange presents us the Grande Lange 1 Moohphase showing the same bright luminous effect. The moonphase display in the hour and minute dial is also the star here. Its surface is first treated with a patented luminous coating process. In a second step, a laser is used to cut out 1,164 stars and the moon. What is more, the special coating applied to the glass blocks most of the visible light but not the UV spectra that “charge” the luminous pigments. Apart from glowing in the dark, the piece is also impressive in daytime for the date disc can be seen through the semi-transparent black sapphire crystal dial. Cased in platinum, the 41mm piece is priced at around 70,000 euros and limited to 200 pieces.
The Lange 1 is no doubt the quintessential design of Lange since its launch in 1994 for the rebirth of the brand. The combination of off-centre dial and large date aperture represents the epitome of fine German watchmaking. The oversize date has earned it one of iconic design of the Manufacture, and for years, the classic Lange 1 hasn’t modified much. The latest Lange 1 focuses on some minor reworkings – with a slightly thinner bezel and a more spacious dial. The greatest adjustment is the hand-wound movement. Now it is changed to L.121.1 from L.901.0 and comes with a different layout on the three-quarter plate and a newly-designed balance-wheel. Another technical improvement is the instantaneous big date, meaning it jumps precisely at midnight rather than slowly changing over the course of hours. Lange produces a new white gold version this year.
Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar
In the Lange 1 family, the most complicated model is this Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. The tourbillion doesn’t show up on the dial but quietly sits at the movement side in order to maintain the Lange 1’s signature dial arrangement and have a better protection to the tourbillon from the sun. Speaking of the calendar display, the retrograde day of week indicator is located at 9 o’clock, while the month lies at the outer ring. It is worth mentioning that all of the calendar display advances instantaneously. Sounds great? It even houses the stop-seconds mechanism. This piece comes in white gold marrying a grey dial to give an elegant yet understated look.
The Saxonia Thin is an ideal flexible daily wear option. Classically sized at 40mm and thin, it combines pure design and finest details like the solid gold baton hour makers and the slender Alpha hands, a typical Lange’s fashion. One of the great things is the lengthened markers, now more close to the bezel. Featuring a more open dial, the piece is powered by a hand-wound movement with three quarter plate design.