When a watch manufacture that produces timepieces which are of the highest standard available awards a collection within its own portfolio a special hallmark, then you know that these will indeed be exceptional watches. A. Lange & Söhne have just released a new edition of the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite” Handwerkskunst, the fourth in an exclusive range of handcrafted complicated watches. The piece, which was first unveiled at SIHH 2011 is now available in a honey gold case version, a material which is twice as hard as yellow gold.
So which to admire - the extrinsics or the intrinsics? As you might expect, both are superb. That honey gold case measures 41.9mm across and frames a textured tremblage hand finished dial in the same material. This is a regulator watch dial with separate displays for the hours, minutes and seconds. Originally created to provide accurate readability especially in low light, individual display of the functions in this way is synonymous with watches produced in the Glashütte tradition. The three dials overlap beautifully but the hour dial features an ingenious pivoting segment which disappears between 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock to allow full view of the tourbillon.
Inside is the in-house Lange Calibre L072.1, a manual wind movement with fusée-and-chain transmission which maintains the precision of the movement regardless of how much or how little the spring barrel has been wound. Also of note is the stop seconds mechanism, a patented device which allows the piece to be set with an astounding one-second accuracy. Viewable through a sapphire crystal caseback, the movement features a traditional three-quarter plate crafted from German Silver, the untreated plain-ness of which serves to enhance the fine decoration of the fourth wheel bridge. A diamond endstone cushions the tourbillon bearing.
The town of Glashütte is at the heart of German horology. It is a relatively small and perhaps curious location for such intensive watch production, Lange are not the only watchmakers in the area, Glashütte Original, Union Glashütte, Nomos and Tutima all have their roots there. Of these brands, A. Lange & Söhne were the first to be founded. Ferdinand Adolf Lange was an enterprising individual who, having seen for himself watchmaking at work in Switzerland could see the potential of such an industry within his own local economy. He had the vision to persuade his Government to invest in the tools and equipment required to begin development and production in the form of low interest loans, thus a new industry was born and the fortune of Glashütte was changed forever. Richard Lange, son of the founder inherited his father's passion for watchmaking, particularly with regard to the development of calibres using new methods and technology. The Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite” Handwerkskunst is named in his honour and will be a limited release of 15 pieces.
A. Lange & Söhne - A Biography of the brand......an amazing story.