A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
A new Lange 1 model devoted exclusively to the Perpetual Calendar complication.
A Lange & Söhne writes a new chapter in the fascinating life of its iconic Lange 1 with the release of the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. Although many of you will recall the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, this model is devoted entirely to the perpetual calendar. Fitted with a Lange’s 67th manufacture calibre with automatic winding, the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar makes its debut in pink gold with a grey solid silver dial and in a limited edition white gold model with a solid pink gold dial.
Lange’s first perpetual calendar appeared in 2001 on the Langematik Perpetual, the first model to combine a perpetual calendar with an outsize date. Its tight symmetrical layout, with the outsize date at noon, large applied Roman numerals and three sub-dials for the calendar indications, gave the Langematik a more ‘classic’ air. Fitting the Lange 1 with a perpetual calendar in 2012 posed an entirely different design challenge. Not only was it to receive a perpetual calendar, but the Lange 1 was also equipped with a tourbillon increasing the complexity exponentially.
Since its debut in 1994, the off-centred dial and outsize date of the Lange 1 has become Lange’s ambassador at large and is considered a true icon of 20th-century watchmaking. Since then, the Lange 1 has appeared in countless guises, in different case sizes (Grand and Little), and with manual-winding and even automatic movements. We’ve seen the Lange 1 with straightforward time and date functions, with moon phases, GMT models and in 2012, the more complex combination of a perpetual calendar and tourbillon. Obviously, incorporating a QP and tourbillon on the Lange 1 without altering its fundamental off-centred dial required an entire rethinking of how to relay the perpetual calendar and where to put the tourbillon. In typical Lange understated style, the tourbillon was not broadcast on the dial but revealed on the caseback. A judicious call that did not disturb the signature off-centred arrangement of the Lange 1, even after incorporating all the perpetual calendar indications on the dial.
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
At first glance, the overall layout of this new model with the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is almost identical. The appealing asymmetry of the Lange 1, with its outsize date window at 11 o’clock, the large hours and minutes counter on the right (without the ‘tourbillon’ reference), and the smaller moon phase indicator disc at 7 o’clock retain their original positions. Using the same approach adopted on the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, the months are arranged on a ring on the periphery of the dial that advances once a month, indicated by the applied gold arrow at 6 o’clock. This innovation challenged Lange’s engineers because advancing the ring at the end of each month requires considerably more power than traditional solutions. The days of the week are retrograde and positioned on the left side of the dial, and the leap year indication is housed in a triangular aperture at 6 o’clock. The calendar displays advance instantaneously and can be advanced collectively or individually with correctors in the caseband.
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar also features the moon phase display with small seconds, but it has swivelled the crescent-shaped aperture to an upright position and integrated the day/night indicator via a gradient blue disc (first seen on the Lange 1 Moon Phase model of 2016). The moon, crafted either in white or pink gold depending on the case material, is positioned on a solid gold disc with a blue gradation. This means that the gold moon appears against a lighter blue sky during the day and on a dark blue starry sky at night. Like all Lange’s moon phase watches, the mechanism is designed to be highly precise and will require an adjustment of just one day in 122.6 years.
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar has a diameter of 41.9mm and a height of 12.1mm (the model with tourbillon had a case height of 12.2mm), so it is not ostensibly slimmer. Available in pink gold with a grey solid silver dial and in white gold with a solid pink gold dial, the details on the dials vary according to the case material.
The pink gold/grey dial combination features applied pink gold Roman numerals on the hour and minutes disc. Pink gold is also used to frame the big date window and the triangular month indicator, and the hands. The printings of the dial are white, and unlike the white gold model, the pink gold model features luminescent material on the hour and minute hands, on the hour markers and even the small seconds track. The pink gold is presented with a reddish-brown leather strap with a pink gold prong buckle.
The white gold model, limited to 150 pieces, with its spectacular solid pink gold dial, verging close to a salmon colour, relies on rhodium-plated white gold for the hands and double-framed date window. There is no luminescent material on this model, and it is presented on a dark brown leather strap with a prong buckle in 18k white gold.
New calibre L021.3
The new L021.3 automatic movement is Lange’s 67th manufacture calibre and is based on the L021.1 of the Lange 1 Daymatic. The L021.3 has been upgraded with a newly developed winding mechanism with a unidirectional rotor in 21k gold and an additional centrifugal mass in platinum. The cam-poised balance runs at 21,600vph, and the power reserve is of 50 hours.
As you would expect, Lange’s hallmark movement finishings can be admired throughout: the plates and bridges made of untreated German silver are decorated with Glashütte ribbing; the balance cock is hand-engraved with a beautiful floral motif; the gold chatons are secured by thermally blued screws; and the gold rotor, with the brand name engraved in relief, features a handmade frosted decoration.
Availability & price
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar in white gold (reference 345.056) is limited to 150 pieces and will retail for EUR 109,000. The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar in pink gold (reference 345.033) is not limited and will retail for EUR 98,000.
More information at A. Lange & Söhne.
Both utterly beautiful, but for 35k(!) less I can have the equally beautiful Journe QP, with gold movement and nearly three times the power reserve (which I only mention as of all complications, QPs benefit the most from it), and no awkward pusher adjusters. To be more succint, I’m a little perplexed by the relatively high price. It isn’t like Lange to do this; the opposite, in fact.
So, the decision now is Saxonia Langematik Perpetual or this new model. Personally, I prefer the Lange 1 dial; however, the SAX-O-MAT automatic base movement in the Langematik is much cooler and also has Zero Reset.
Oh, I’d forgotten about the Saxonia perpetual. Went to remind myself of the price and to be fair to Lange, there does seem to be a template in place for charging big bucks for QPs. I was wrong.
In return I will repeat that these models have the most beautiful dials, with very few peers. No lie.