Because of an incredibly busy schedule I didn’t have time to visit Lange und Söhne until the last day of the SIIH 2012. What I got to see wasn’t simply amazing, it was so much more than amazing. For me it was the apotheosis of the fair.
The new Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is a magnificent piece of horology, technically very complex and visually it shows the understated classic, elegance we know Lange und Söhne for. Do you see the resemblance with the Lange 1 Daymatic?
This is the first Lange und Söhne with a tourbillon that is not visible on the dial side, their first tourbillon with an automatic movement, their first tourbillon with a stop-mechanism and it also features an instantaneous perpetual calendar.
It has similar looks of the Lange 1 Daymatic, with the hour/minute register positioned on the right side of the dial, the day of the week indication on the left side and the big date on the upper left side. On the lower left side is the subsidiary seconds and the moon phase and at the 6 o’clock position is the leap year indicator. All around the dial is an extra ring to indicate the month.
So it does really have a lot in common with the looks of the Lange 1 Daymatic and the magnificent thing about this Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is that its dial remains calm and very legible, despite the extra complications. The off-centre configuration of the Lange 1 dial offers an basis and the perpetual calendar can be positioned outside the hour and minute register, so the readability of time is not compromised. I consider its design to be one of its complications and I think Lange und Söhne did extremely well.
Lange und Söhne choose to create the very first rotating peripheral month ring ever implemented in a wristwatch. The underside of the ring has recesses of different depths for the respective durations of each month and features an innovative sampling mechanism. This one-of-a-kind design has been registered for patent.
All displays of the perpetual calendar (the outsize date, the retrograde day, the month ring, the aperture leap year, and the moon-phase indication) switch instantaneously! The mechanism is designed such that it must only be advanced by one day on March 1st of the secular year 2100. The moon-phase only needs to be corrected by one day, every 122 years. All corrections to the calendar are easy to perform with recessed push pieces, placed in the side of the mid case.
Now let’s take a look at the other side…
The new automatic calibre L082.1 offers a high winding efficiency. Its heavy 21-carat gold central rotor, with the embossed A. Lange & Söhne signature, has a platinum centrifugal mass on the outer periphery of the rotor. This extra weight, which has a higher density than gold, gives extra momentum to the winding process. The maximum power reserve of 50 hours is already available after a very short time on the wrist.
I’m pleased with the choice to only show the tourbillon on the reverse side of the watch. Its balance wheel with eccentric poising weights, combined with the proprietary Lange balance spring, assures an extremely high degree of rate accuracy. The balance, inside the one-minute tourbillon, vibrates at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour. However there’s more to this tourbillon! Lange und Söhne again choose to equip the tourbillon with a patented stop-seconds mechanism, meaning that once the crown is pulled out to set the time, the tourbillon stops. This way the watch can be set to one-second accuracy.
The movement features the typical Lange-style quality hallmarks such as hand-decorated parts, the free-hand engravings on the tourbillon and intermediate-wheel cocks, and the four gold chatons secured to the plate with blued screws. The upper part of the tourbillon cage is finished with black polish; on this tiny part this can cost up to five days of work!
The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is the most complicated member of the Lange 1 family. It is available in a pink gold or platinum case with a diameter of 41.9 millimeters. The platinum version is limited to 100 pieces.