What can we say about the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph that hasn’t already been said? Certainly one of the finest chronographs of all time, but if you add a perpetual calendar to the package, what do you receive back? A superb, exclusive, technical and desirable timepiece. Is this QP edition better than the chronograph only? Maybe not. Anyway, the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual is pure horological sweetness and for the 2015 edition of the SIHH, the German manufacture decided to slightly update it by bringing a new colour and a new material. We said new… Well, not exactly!
Let us go back to the very beginning of SIHH 2015. We presented you the Datograph Up/Down in its Pink gold edition, which was a reissue of an old watch. Indeed, the first execution of the Datograph (not Up/Down) was already available in this pink gold / black dial combination. Well, A. Lange & Sohne is now using the exact same recipe for the Datograph Perpetual. The combination of a white gold case and a medium grey dial already existed in the very first edition of the Datograph Perpetual, between 2008 and 2011.
Since its debut, the Datograph Perpetual had been slightly updated. It now comes without Roman numerals instead featuring only baton hour markers, just like the 18K Pink gold / white dial edition. The case however remains exactly the same, with a 41mm diameter, just like the Datograph Up/Down. The main evolution is the use of white metal for the case and medium grey for the dial, a colder and (maybe) sportier scheme, compared to the classical pink gold/white dial version. This combination completely changes the look of the Datograph Perpetual and gives a totally new feeling. The colour of the dial is extremely pleasant, changing from a light grey to a deep anthracite, depending on the light conditions. Of course, it’s more neutral than the pink gold edition but it never looses its charm. For us, it even gains a bit of sex-appeal.
The layout of dial remains the same also – meaning that it could be sometimes hard to read the calendar. As all the indications are located inside the sub-dials, the Datograph Perpetual gains in purity what it loses in legibility. The addition of a QP doesn’t really changes the face of the Datograph, as no extra window or sub-counter is added. The outsize date remains located at 12, the moon-phases are indicated at 6 (replacing the power reserve of the Datograph), the months are integrated in the 30-minute counter at 3, the day is into the small-second sub-dial at 9. The two only discreet additions are a day-&-night indication on the top of the small-second and a leap-year sub-dial below the 30-minute counter. The main issue is this imbrication of sub-dials into other sub-dials that creates a quite difficult reading. On the other hand, the Datograph Perpetual keeps the iconic look of the classical Datograph and its purity.
The Calibre L952.1 is in all points identical to the old movement used in the Datograph (not Up/Down), except for the QP module on the top, meaning that through the case-back, it looks as brilliant and superb. However, it also brings an issue: its low power-reserve of 36 hours. Nothing dramatic though, as it will force you to wind it everyday and thus to enjoy a mechanical link with your timepiece. However, a longer power reserve is comfortable on a daily basis – A. Lange & Sohne knows about it, as they improved the Datograph Up/Down with a 60h power reserve.
Anyway, it doesn’t affect the beauty of this movement, with its complicated layout: multiple apparent gears and levers, screwed gold chatons, warm colour of the untreated German Silver or blued screws creates one of the most beautiful movements of the industry. It is composed of 556 parts, all finished by hand and assembled twice. A pure feast.
To conclude, we have to admit that the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Grey Dial White Gold is a really appealing watch albeit one full of contradictions – and of charm. It is clearly not as pure and iconic as the Datograph Up/Down but on the other hand it increases the level of exclusivity by bringing a perpetual calendar. Its movement has a really low power reserve but we can’t help ourselves to spend hours looking at it. The dial is not the easiest to read (especially the sub-dials) but on the other hand it’s extremely balanced and looks gorgeous on the wrist, particularly in this grey combination.
The Datograph Perpetual in white gold with gray dial is priced at 119,000 Euros.