Saxony has been a fertile ground for some of the most remarkable horological innovations. The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar with its impressive technique and perfect craftsmanship is in perfect keeping with the A. Lange & Söhne great tradition. Introduced in 2013, this masterpiece is now presented in discreet white gold with an exquisite grey dial.
Presented over 20 years ago (in 1994, at the same time the brand was relaunched), the Lange 1 has turned into an icon and the cornerstone of an amazing watch family comprising over 10 models. Among these, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar combines two of the most prestigious complications. The distinctive asymmetric layout and patented outsized date, the clear arrangement of the calendar and complication indications that are not overlapping each other are unmistakably Lange & Söhne. Rather than being exposed, the fascinating ballet of its tourbillon is visible only through the case back: no need to show off, Lange & Söhne’s understated elegance bespeaks confidence.
If the Tourbillon is placed in a manner that requires to remove the watch from your wrist to view it, the elegant dial is far from being simple or minimalist. It harmoniously presents an abundance of information at a single glance. The instantaneous perpetual calendar consists of Lange large date, retrograde day-of-the-week and leap-year display at 6 and a peripheral rotating month ring. It is complemented with a moon-phase indication inside a subsidiary seconds dial.
The hours and minutes are off-centered and feature a useful day-night display while a discreet inscription beneath the 12 reveals the existence of the Tourbillon. The dial is made of solid silver embellished in elegant grey. Apart from the applied hour markers/numerals and month pointer, all indications are subtly transferred but highly readable. The hands are rhodium-plated gold, to match with the 18k white gold case.
The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is powered by calibre L802.1, with automatic winding. Gustav Mahler describes tradition as not being “the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire”. The technical complexity of the movement includes recent Lange innovations, counterpoints to time-honored, sometimes almost anachronistic details. In this respect, the tourbillon features the brand’s patented stop second mechanism, bringing the balance to a standstill to ease precise time adjustment to the second. The balance is free sprung, features eccentric adjustment weights and runs at 21’600 vibrations per hour. The moon-phase mechanism is designed to be highly precise and requires only an adjustment of one day within 122.6 years.
The bearing of the Tourbillon cage features a diamond endstone as a tribute to some of Lange’s historic pocket watches – before the invention of synthetic rubies, bearings have been manufactured using a variety of stones including diamonds, for instance by the great Breguet himself; read our technical perspective article on jewels here.
This mechanical masterpiece is 34.1mm in diameter, 7.8mm high and comprises no less than 624 parts. As always with Lange & Söhne, the movement features superlative finishes, identifiable at first sight. Under the rich 21k gold rotor with outer platinum mass, the wheel train bridges are decorated with uniform stripes and beautiful anglage. Solarisation is applied to round surfaces and wheels. The movement comprises 76 jewels, including several held by screwed gold chatons (with blued screws of course). The tourbillon bridge and an intermediate wheel bridge that are framing the Tourbillon are delicately hand-engraved with the brand’s traditional floral pattern. The tourbillon cage is lavishly black-polished and beveled.
This work of beauty is housed in the A. Lange & Söhne signature case in white gold – the model was previously released in pink gold and platinum with different dials. Its round case is harmoniously proportioned. At 41.9mm in diameter for a height of 12.2mm only despite the complexity of the mechanism, it wears extremely well. It is complemented with a high quality, hand-stitched alligator strap with folding buckle.
The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is watch that is superlative in every respect, true to the inimitable pedigree of the venerable Saxon manufacture. The allure and the complexity of this masterpiece combining two of the most prestigious complications seriously impress. As always, the attention to details brought to each of the 624 parts is stunning, which explains the hefty price tag (315,900 Euros, retail price). The fact that the tourbillon is hidden from prying eyes, just makes the watch more elegant and desirable. The choice for the convenience of automatic winding – specifically for a perpetual calendar – seems a no-brainer although the large rotor tends to obstruct the view of the Tourbillon.
Technical specifications of the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon
- Case: 41.9mm diameter x 12.2mm thick – white gold – sapphire crystal on the front and on the back – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre L082.1, in-house – automatic winding – 50h power reserve – 21,600 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, seconds, day and night indication, perpetual calendar with moon phases indication, tourbillon with stop seconds.
- Strap: alligator leather strap on white gold folding buckle
- Reference: 720.038F