In the build-up to SIHH 2013 come details of the new A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 "Lumen" - a timepiece which "provides enlightenment of the outsize date".
Is it sacrilege that Lange have, for the first time given their instantly recognisable generous date display a glow in the dark make-over? It sounds slightly techy and not very "Lange" does it not? This is a manufacture which we rely on to create mythical, mystical, heirloom timepieces crafted in precious metals with meticulous attention to detail, a watch brand about which we are more likely to enthuse over handfinishing techniques than the addition of "lume".
Every Lange watch is special. Each one is exquisite, and the Lange 1 collection presents itself as a paragon of Glashütte traditions - a face-on compendium of indications each retaining their own portion of dial space and of course, a generous double date window. But this one is different. This one gives an insight into the workings which are normally hidden beneath the dial, revealing the discs which collaborate to make the date mechanism work. On this one only the dial rim and displays are solid, everything else is made from semi-transparent sapphire. This one is not simply exquisite, it is stunning.
The piece presented a technical challenge - in order to make the date display instantly luminous, in accordance with its instant change, the tens cross required a coating of white lume, before being imprinted with black numerals and the units disc, consisting of glass on which the numerals are black rotates before a luminous background. The sapphire elements of the dial have a light-blocking coating which allows UV light to pass through to the lume on the date indications offering an eye-pleasing looksee through to the date mechanisms.
The dial represents a synopsis of Lange facets. The hours and minutes, the seconds, the date and the gangreserve all command and deserve their own island-like displays, yet beneath them the shadowy inner workings, the generous date numerals and the perlage capture the spirit of the Lange 1 like nothing we have seen before and the results are quite breathtaking. Inside is the Lange L095.2 manual wind manufacture calibre with meticulous attention to detail viewable through caseback sapphire.
The A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 "Lumen" will be a limited edition of just 200 pieces. More information at the A. Lange & Söhne website.
More? ... perhaps a look-back at our biography of this extraordinary brand from when the manufacture received an order from Kaiser William ll in 1898 to when Walter Lange re-registered the revered A. Lange & Söhne brandname after the war - read it here.