A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst: Anniversary Statement
When A. Lange & Söhne was re-launched in 1994 following Germany’s unification, it released four watch collections simultaneously: the Lange 1, Arkade, Saxonia, and Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”. Each watch had unique features and price points, such as the Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”’s fusée-and-chain transmission, which delivers a constant force as the mainspring winds down […]
When A. Lange & Söhne was re-launched in 1994 following Germany’s unification, it released four watch collections simultaneously: the Lange 1, Arkade, Saxonia, and Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”. Each watch had unique features and price points, such as the Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”’s fusée-and-chain transmission, which delivers a constant force as the mainspring winds down to improve isochronism. Over the past two decades, however, the Lange 1 has proven to be the most popular among the four, despite being a relatively simple round watch. Its asymmetric dial layout, with big date and power reserve indicators, is often cited as the reason why it became an icon so quickly.
To mark the 20th anniversary of its re-launch, A. Lange & Söhne has released the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst. The name’s suffix is German for craftsmanship, and was last applied to the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst, which debuted in Hong Kong at Watches & Wonders 2013. This label is used by the manufacture to highlight exceptional craftsmanship, which it is already known for. Case in point: A. Lange & Söhne has a special department that is solely in charge of engraving balance bridges, and each engraver has an individual style that can be identified by his work.
What then, of the craftsmanship that went into creating the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst? Viewed from the back, one will immediately notice the engravings on the tourbillon, crown-wheel and intermediate-wheel bridges, done by one of the master engravers mentioned above. Upon closer inspection, you’d also see the various other finishing techniques used. The three-quarter plate and the twin mainspring barrel underneath it, for example, have a sunburst finish. The bridges, on the other hand, are finished in perlage, while the platinum case itself has circular graining.
On the dial side, the demonstration of artisanship is anchored by the cantilevered tourbillon bridge, which has a black polish, so named because the surface is so smooth it’s either a bright mirror, or appears black. A diamond endstone bearing for the tourbillon, part of a pair with the other viewable from the case back, rounds off the tourbillon. The dial is black grand feu enamel, and the rest of it should be familiar stomping ground for the manufacture’s fans – the offset main dial has details in white gold and a solid silver small-seconds sub-dial superimposed on it; a large date and power reserve indicator account for the rest of the dial’s real estate.
The manual-winding Calibre L961.3 movement in the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst has a going time of 72 hours, with a patented stop seconds mechanism that holds the balance wheel in the tourbillon cage motionless, thus allowing the time to be set accurate to one second. Only 20 pieces of this watch will be produced.