Monday, December 5, 2016

A. Lange & Söhne: Complexity Refined

Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon

By Victoria Gomelsky

A commitment to unrivaled precision and elegant design defines the Glashütte-based watchmaker.

Made in-house: ALS L952 2 

Unlike its haute horlogerie counterparts in Switzerland, A. Lange & Söhne is headquartered in Glashütte, the heart of Germany’s watchmaking region. Location, however, is by no means the only thing that sets the firm apart. Renowned for its technically and aesthetically superb wristwatches, Lange, is a highly regarded manufacture, capable of producing world-class timepieces from A to Z.

Triple Threat
The watchmaker pulled out all the stops this year with the introduction of the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, a wristwatch equipped with three highly coveted complications: column-wheel chronograph, perpetual calendar and tourbillon. In addition to telling the time, it has a tachymeter scale, day/night indicator, moon phase display and a power reserve.

The column-wheel chronograph, or Datograph, in the Lange lexicon, features a precise jumping minute counter and a flyback function, which allows wearers to measure the duration of consecutive events. The perpetual calendar mechanism promises the timepiece will accurately tick off days, months and, critically, leap years until 2100. Meanwhile, the tourbillon is designed to have an accurate rate during the watch’s entire 50-hour power reserve.

Richard Lange Jumping Seconds

Despite its complexity, the movement’s 729 individual parts are arranged elegantly within the watch’s 41mm platinum case.

Jump Around
The Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is the latest addition to A. Lange & Söhne’s popular series paying tribute to the brand’s legendary observation watches. Along with an über-precise movement, the dial’s design is marked by outstanding legibility.

The model’s jumping seconds mechanism, which the firm began incorporating into its timepieces as early as 1867, pushes the large seconds hand around the dial in full-second increments, unlike most others, which tick forward several times a second. To achieve this feat of micro-engineering, Lange uses a one-second constant force escapement to ensure the ultimate in exactitude.

Over the Moon
To appreciate the degree to which Lange’s timepieces excel at precision, consider the watchmaker’s new Saxonia Moon Phase and Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase Lumen models. Once properly set — and if run continuously — each moon phase would only need to be corrected by one day every 122.6 years.

In the Saxonia Moon Phase, the watchmaker’s signature outsize date — in a gold-framed double aperture at 12 o’clock — is balanced by a moon phase display in a subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock.

Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase Lumen 

Mean- while, the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase Lumen features a dial made of blackened silver whose most prominent element is a large moon phase display. The tinted sapphire glass that surrounds it features a special coating that blocks most of the visible light, but allows UV rays to pass through, thereby charging the luminous pigments on the outsize date below, which gives it a lovely glow-in-the-dark quality.

All four of these pieces embody A. Lange & Söhne’s Germanic design ethos: minimal, refined and simply exquisite.

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