After the massively impressive (yet far from accessible) A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual introduced yesterday, without a doubt the main highlight of the Saxon manufacture’s SIHH 2017 collection, we return today to the real world and to more usable and pragmatic watches. Well, sort of, as we’re still talking Lange here. Another of its novelties this year is a highly interesting calendar watch featuring what we believe is a highly practical indication; the annual calendar – a complication that sits right in the middle between a normal calendar and a perpetual calendar. Here is the discreet and elegant A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar.
Here at Monochrome we think the annual calendar is probably the best combination possible for a calendar watch. It features some of the elements of a QP, whilst still remaining accessible and provides highly interesting technical content, far above what you’ll experience with a traditional calendar watch. This concept, invented by a certain Geneva-based manufacture with PP for initial, dates back 1996. It consists of a calendar that can take into account the month with 30 or 31 days, automatically switching to the right date at the end of the month (meaning, for example, an instant jump from the 30th of April to the 1st of May). The only thing that an annual calendar can’t do (which a perpetual calendar can) is to take into account the month of February and its 28 days (or 29 for leap years). Thus, such a watch requires one single adjustment a year, at the end of February, to switch to the 1st of March. Clever, highly practical, very satisfying for mechanical lovers and much more affordable than a traditional QP.
This is not the first time that A. Lange & Söhne has used this technology, as in 2010, the brand introduced the Saxonia Annual Calendar. That watch added a calendar complication to the classical Saxonia package, with an automatic movement and an outsize date. The display consisted of a large date and three sub-dials for the day, the month and the moonphase. Today, A. Lange & Söhne integrates this technology into another of its classical collections; the 1815. This new model however features a manually wound movement and an analogue date, following the classic design and style principles of the 1815 watch family, in order to be clearly differentiated from the Saxonia version.
One very nice feature of this watch is the fast-adjusting device. A button at 2 o’clock makes it possible to collectively advance all indications, for instance if the watch has not been in use for a long period of time. Additionally, three recessed push pieces allow separate corrections of the day, month and moon phase. For the first time in a Lange calendar model, the date can also be separately advanced with an additional recessed push piece.
This A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar comes in two versions – 18k white gold or 18k rose gold – in a reasonably sized and rather thin case of 40mm x 10.1mm. The shape is reminiscent of the other watches of the 1815 collection. The dial, also in the vein of the other 1815s, is solid silver with classic Arabic numerals and the usual peripheral railway-track minute scale. The display consists of 3 sub-dials, arranged in an elegant 3 – 6 – 9 formation. At 3 is the month, at 6 is the phase of the moon (which once adjusted will remain accurate for 122.6 years) and the small second, and finally at 9 a sub-counter gives indication of the day and the date. The main hands are blued for the hours and minutes, while the others hands are matching the case’s material.
Besides the different display, without the outsize date (which is reserved for the Saxonia collection), the main evolution is of course the manually-wound movement, typical to the 1815 collection. The Calibre L051.3 of this A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar is actually based on the well-known movement of the 3-hand 1815 – a base movement visible here. This engine has all the iconic features of the brand: ¾ plate decorated with Glashutte stripes, gold chatons with blued screws, hand-engraved cock bridge, screwed balance… On top of it is attached a 1.4mm thick module for the annual calendar, resulting in an overall 5.7mm movement. Despite its compactness, the new manually wound calibre L051.3 has a maximum power reserve of 72 hours. Price: 37,500 Euro for both editions (German retail price, inc. taxes). alange-soehne.com.
Specifications of the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar
- Case: 40mm diameter x 10.1mm thick – 18k gold (white or rose) polished and satined surfaces – sapphire crystal on both sides
- Movement: Calibre L051.3, in-house produced – manually wound – 3Hz frequency – 72H power reserve – hours, minutes, small second, annual calendar, moon phases
- Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather strap with pin buckle matching the case
Update. Here are a few live photos, before we come with a more detailed article, after the SIHH.