AND then there are four.
A. Lange & Söhne is marking the 25th year since unveiling in 1994 the first collections that signaled the brand’s rebirth — A. Lange & Söhne started in 1845 but was shuttered after the Second World War. One of the collections that debuted in 1994 was the Lange 1, which soon turned into the brand’s definitive piece.
To honor this model’s status, A. Lange & Söhne this year is presenting a new, “25th Anniversary” Lange 1 every month, lasting until October. The first among the series to be released was the commemorative Lange 1. It was followed by the Grand Lange 1 Moonphase and the Little Lange 1. Now, brought out is the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, the most complicated model in the collection.
In Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar form the model retains the Lange 1’s signature design cue, which is to say the asymmetrical layout of the watch’s dial furniture. Dominating the landscape is the subdial for the hour and minute display. To the left of it is a retrograde day indicator, replacing the power reserve meter that normally sits on this spot. Above it is A. Lange & Söhne’s iconic oversized date window, below it a small second subdial integrating the moonphase display. Designed to be accurate for the next 122 years and six months, this moonphase complication flaunts an astronomic depiction hand-engraved on a white-gold disc.
As a perpetual calendar piece, this special Lange 1 is fitted with a leap year indicator, which on the dial is discreetly tucked within an inverted half-triangle window at 6 o’clock. Completing the lower half of the triangle is the pointer for the month. The months are listed on a disc on the periphery of the dial. This disc rotates in sync with the other calendar functions, all of which, A. Lange & Söhne takes pains to point out, switch displays instantaneously.
Like in all earlier 25th Anniversary pieces, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar has an argenté, or silver, colored dial that’s complemented by blued-steel hands and inscriptions, numerals (including the large date) and alligator leather strap in blue. Only the leap year indicator is in red.
Meanwhile, the only thing that identifies the watch as having a tourbillon is an inscription below the Roman numeral 12 on the hour-and-minute subdial. This 69-part regulator boasting a patented hacking-seconds mechanism is visible only through the sapphire crystal-covered caseback. Its filigreed cage completes a rotation around its axis every minute. Adorning the tourbillon’s cock are blue engravings that include a “25” rendered as if it were an A. Lange & Söhne outsized date window.
Incidentally, the “25” does not only reference the brand’s anniversary, but also recall the date readout set on all A. Lange & Söhne watches that were presented during the brand’s re-launch on October 24, 1994. The reason? Company executives wanted the watches to reflect the present date when news photos about the launch were published in papers the next day. Clearly, social media and watch blogs were still some years off during this era.
The movement to which the tourbillon attaches is A. Lange & Söhne’s in-house, self-winding cal. L082.1 (76 jewels, 21,600vph, 50-hour power reserve). It’s a spinning testament to just how detailed the company can get; this movement’s rotor has a middle part made of 21-karat gold and an outer section in platinum. Everywhere else it is as lush, bearing numerous finishing techniques, blued screws and rubies, and black-polished components. The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is subdued on top, ornate in the back (no, it’s not like a mullet).
Housing the watch is a 41.9-millimeter-wide case made of 18 karat white gold, each engraved with a number that identifies the piece as among the only 25 examples available. So, happy 25th, Lange 1.