A few days ago, we showed you a new watch introduced by A. Lange & Söhne, the 1815 “Cuvette” Limited Edition. Well, this was not the only novelty the Saxonia-based brand had to show us in this month of September 2017. Be prepared, because what Lange just launched is both impressive, complex, demonstrative, rare and superbly executed. Here is the “Handwerkskunst” edition of the highly respected A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar. And those who are experienced with the brand will know what is hidden behind this quite barbarian German word…
Don’t be scared by this word. Yes, it is quite difficult to pronounce and to read for non-German speakers. But this word, when linked to the brand A. Lange & Söhne, makes us feel a sense of joy. “Handwerkskunst” is a German word which could be translated by “an art achieved by the hands of a craftsman“, thus in short craftsmanship or handicraft (or artisanat for our Swiss and French readers). And when this word is attached to the name of an A. Lange & Söhne model, it means that it has received a special decorative treatment, which can involve engravings, specific decorations on the dial or the movement (done by hand of course), enamelling or hammering. it also means highly limited watches, from 15 pieces to 30 pieces.
A. Lange & Söhne has already introduced 5 watches under the name “Handwerkskunst“:
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- 2011 – Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite” Handwerkskunst
- 2012 – Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst
- 2013 – Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst
- 2014 – Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst
- 2015 – 1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst
Today, A. Lange & Söhne introduces its 6th “Handwerkskunst” edition, with some details and techniques that have never been used before.
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst
At Lange, “Handwerkskunst” watches are usually based on high-end models: tourbillon, tourbillon with perpetual calendar, tourbillon with fusée-and-chain, jumping hours and minutes… The 6th edition is no exception to the rule. Indeed, it is based on the complex 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, which as indicated by its name, combined a split-seconds chronograph and a perpetual calendar, so-to-say a sort of holy grail for collectors. And it does tell the time too. This complex watch, with insane movement (a specifically developed movement, which is not based on the Double-Split or the Datograph), now receives a unique decorative treatment, combining hand-engraving, hammering and enamelling.
Launched at the SIHH 2013, the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar was quickly applauded by collectors and insiders, as it received two awards at the GPHG 2013, as the winner in the Grand Complication category and the Public’s Choice Award. This watch was a clear response to Patek Philippe and its references 5004 and 5204, both emblematic representations of the split-seconds/perpetual calendar combination. Housing quite a complex movement, to say the least, as it is composed of no less than 631 parts, it was a rather large piece, measuring 41.9mm x 14.7mm. The display was classical, with both chronograph hands on the central axis and a perpetual calendar displayed thanks to traditional sub-dials.
Yet, as complex as it is mechanically-speaking, the habillage remained very much Lange: pink gold or platinum case, a silver dial and blued hands. On the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst there is a lot more in terms of decorum – and it does feel completely unique compared to the rest of the collection. The most visually striking aspect is the dial – and it alone shows how capable Lange is in terms of artistic craftsmanship. The clear theme here is the moon and the starry sky that surrounds it. The dial is obtained from a solid white gold plate that is painstakingly engraved by hand with dots and stars – as an extension of the moon displayed at 6. On top of it, a translucent deep-blue enamel is applied, and it results in engravings (including the Arabic numerals for the hours) that melt into this rare material.
The display and dial layout of the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst remain unchanged to the standard edition of this watch. That means legible minute and second track on the periphery, moon and small second at 6, day and date at 9, month and leap year at 3, power reserve and 30-minute counter at 12. A complex display for sure, yet the large dial and the well-positioned indications make readability quite convenient. All the hands related to the time or the calendar indications are rhodium plated, while the rattrapante second hand is in gold and the 30-minute hand is blued. It’s certainly not the minimalistic approach seen on the Saxonia collection, yet even with so many details and techniques applied, the dial remains clear.
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst has the same case as the standard edition, and it’s done here in 18k white gold. However, if the front and side of this case are unchanged, the back is another story. Just like the 1815 “Cuvette” Limited Edition that we introduced to you recently, this new limited edition has a specific hinged caseback, a sort of dust cover, which Lange have named “cuvette”. Revealing the movement when opened, the caseback is also done in white gold, it is thoroughly adorned with a complex hand-made engraving (both with reliefs and tremblage) and depicts the goddess Luna, the ancient mythological personification of the moon. It is circled with blue translucent enamel, just like the dial. The diameter of the watch remains unchanged at 41.9mm, however, due to the “cuvette” back, the height is now 15.8mm.
Finally, the movement, already a masterpiece of watchmaking, is specifically decorated in the classical “Handwerkskunst” way. The German-silver train bridge is finished with a granular (hammered) texture often found in the movements of historic pocket watches. Relief and tremblage engravings on the operating-lever, cover and chronograph bridges as well as on the rattrapante and balance cock give echo to the stellar theme of the dial. The rest of the movement is finished to Lange’s usual specifications – meaning in a proper high-end way.
This A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst is a very complex watch, not only mechanically-speaking but also in terms of look. Of course, not all will like its fully adorned style. However, no one can deny the beauty of the work done here. Again Lange have excelled in every possible way. Price is 290,000 Euro, while the standard edition of this watch is priced at 199,900 Euro. It will be produced in 20 pieces only.
More detail on www.alange-soehne.com.
Specifications – A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst
- Case: 41.9mm x 15.8mm – 18k white gold case – hinged cuvette in blue enamelled white gold with engraving – sapphire crystal on both sides
- Dial: Six-part, blue enamelled white gold with relief engraving; argenté-coloured flange ring with railway-track minute scale
- Movement: calibre L101.1, in-house – manually wound – 3Hz frequency – 42 hours power reserve – 631 parts – hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve, split-seconds chronograph, perpetual calendar
- Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather, blue-grey with grey seam – deployant buckle in white gold
- Reference: 421.048FE
- Limited Edition: 20 pieces
- Price: 290,000 Euro