Many Lange watches set me in real pain, I need them so much. To make this issue appear more serious than it actually is, I will call it Futile Unattainable Watch Acquisition Syndrome (FUWAS, for short). If someone has copyrighted that previously, have his lawyer contact mine. Weirdly, the heavyweight horological muscle-flexer A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour Le Mérite’ is not such a Lange, and I have even managed to eventually determine why.Why? Just as it’s a heavy weight horological muscle-flexer of a watch, a watch that’s so overdone, its own doping has enabled but a few little segments in the Lange DNA to survive such abusive treatment. In fact, we’ve seen the combination of a round instance, perpetual calendar and moon phase in sub-dials, along with a chronograph many times before. Many, many times, because that’s how really spoiled we are. The Tourbograph even shows some skin (lovely skin, in fact) at 6 o’clock to let you understand not just with its own font selection and ever-so-slightly unique lugs that it is a Lange.I fully comprehend the worth and the amazing goodness at the bespoke, not-copied-from-anyone-else engineering that is under the hood of the Tourbograph Perpetual, however we are not talking about an uncased movement here, but a complete watch. On that note, anyone who doesn’t tingle at the sight of this motion should seek medical attention, quick! To take a more positive approach to what unquestionably is a watchmaking masterpiece, then we must look at the myriads of fine details the Tourbograph offers.
The Grande Complication is now on loan to the Mathematics and Physics Salon, a museum in Dresden devoted to historic timepieces and scientific instruments.In 1990, directly after German reunification, the German automotive firm VDO purchased the name “A. Lange & Söhne” and founded a new A. Lange & Söhne, based, like the original firm, in Glashütte. (In 2000, the Richemont Group obtained A. Lange & Söhne.) One of the new firm’s first watches, the Lange 1, launched in 1994, became Lange’s signature design, what the company describes as its “face.” The Lange 1, that appears exactly the same as it did 20 years back, has a distinctive, asymmetrical dial with a big-date display and “Auf/Ab” power-reserve index. (Before this year, the business replaced that caliber with a brand new one, additionally hand-wound.)
With no shadow of a doubt, Lange is a powerhouse in modern watchmaking — the flippin’ Death Star that slowly moves in the huge horological area, filled with little planets of miserable but strangely likable brands. If absolute engineering awesomeness and high quality of execution could somehow allow a watch to shoot lasers, I’d expect to see a Lange do it first — and there’s no purpose to coming moment in that match, is there?The Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour le Mérite’ is yet another weapon in the manufacture’s armada that testifies to the excellence and nearly terrifying know-how of Lange — and for this, I admire it without a morsel of reservation. But, strangely, for the same reasons, somehow it is still overshadowed by additional pieces in Lange’s range which are, in their own ways, equally impressive, but much more Lange. Think of any of these three amazing Zeitwerks (hands-on here), the badass Lange 1 Lumen (hands-on) or, of course, the Datograph.After all is done and said, watching the Tourbograph Perpetual hands was a memorable and fantastic experience, because it damn well ought to be for any true watch enthusiast — however why I am looking forward to SIHH 2018 would be to find out more Lange 1s and Zeitwerks, not only muscle-flexing, irrespective how impressive it is.
The dial facet has lots of other treats for the onlooker, particularly those linked into the perpetual calendar and the rattrapante chronograph. The former is composed of 206 parts, almost a third of the 684 total element count of the L133.1 standard. Lange’s moon phase is “accurate to 122.6 years” — mind you, which “accuracy” means that it requires that much time for the moon phase display to be off by a complete day. This sort of random way is how the accuracy of moon phase displays in watches is usually ascertained, not that anybody really cares about real practicality beyond its aesthetic and engineering element.The rattrapante chronograph on the other hand is one of the most technically impressive and challenging complications on the market. A few watchmakers I asked told me that they find it even more difficult to perform than the usual sonnerie or moment repeater, and definitely a much bigger pain in the throat compared to a perpetual calendar (unless it’s instantaneous and/or further complicated). Both laser sharp chronograph seconds palms rest a hair’s width over one another in their reset place, with all the blue being the rattrapante hand, managed by the pusher in the 10 o’clock position of this case.
The movement is the hand-wound Caliber L043.1, that has 415 components and measures 33.6 mm in diameter. (To read our evaluation of the first Lange Zeitwerk, click here.) This view is much more than a conventional perpetual calendar. Turn it over and you’ll see among the most complex and unconventional moon-phase displays ever made. Surrounding the earth is a disc decorated with 2,116 celebrities. (Their positions don’t correspond to those of real stars; Lange calls the arrangement a “dream sky.”) A third disk, for showing the phase of the moon, is located beneath an aperture at the star disk.The earth disk rotates counterclockwise after every 24 hours; you may see the period anywhere in the world by speaking to the 24 hour mark onto the ring surrounding the display. Since the moon orbits, it waxes and wanes. The watch’s balance, visible throughout the caseback, signifies the sun: when the moon is between the earth and the balance, the moon disk is all gloomy, representing the new moon. When it’s on the other side of the earth, it is all gold, representing the entire moon. The moon screen is so accurate that it’ll be 1,058 years before it needs to be corrected by one day.
Our showroom feature a vast assortment of A Lange and Sohne timepieces. Featured in white gold, are collections from Grand Lange 1, Richard Lange, Saxon, and 1815 watches. In rose gold is your Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase, Lange 1 Dalmatic, and Saxon Thin. In yellow gold, an 1815 Up/Down or Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase round out the collection.Marshall Pierce & Company is a licensed A. Lange & Sohne watch merchant. We’re a family owned and operated jewelry store that’s been in business since 1928. We proudly serve the Chicagoland area natives, together with guests, whether in town for business or pleasure. Our flagship jewelry store along Chicago’s world famous Magnificent Mile is situated in the corner of Oak St and Michigan Ave, just across from the Drake hotel.Feel free to reach out and schedule a consultation with our A. Lange & Sohne Watch pros. We know this is an important purchase, and as always, we would be pleased to give an appointment to make sure you select the perfect A. Lange & Sohne timepiece.
Walter Lange, whose great-grandfather was clockmaker to the kings of Saxony and founded A. Lange & Söhne, passed away in Germany on January 17, 2017 at age 93.
Born in Glashütte before the Great Depression, Lange’s life spanned the most significant events in 20th century Germany: the Second World War, the Cold War and East Germany, and the reunification of his homeland.
Lange was always destined for the watch business, but his birthright was interrupted by history. His family’s watchmaking enterprise was taken over by the Communist authorities in East Germany in 1948, forcing him to flee to the West. He settled in Pforzheim near the Black Forest, the traditional home of German jewellery and clockmaking, where he built a successful business as a watch and clock distributor.
But it was only when Lange and Gunter Blumlein, who was then running IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, established A. Lange & Söhne in 1990 did Lange finally reclaim his inheritance.
The pair acquired the A. Lange & Söhne trademark from the state and established Lange Uhren GmbH in Glashütte once again, with the backing of Blumlein’s employer, the German conglomerate Mannesman. With the aim of making the best watches in the world, the revived brand unveiled its first watches to the world on October 24, 1994. It was, as the early A. Lange & Söhne advertising put it, “When time came home”.
With Blumlein running the business, Lange’s role was more of a figurehead, a tangible connection to the storied history of his family’s business. Eventually A. Lange & Söhne, along with its sister companies IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, were taken over by Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont, but Lange remained involved with the brand’s corporate events as a honoured guest, including attending SIHH 2016.
Lange had no children of his own, but adopted his nephew, Benjamin, who took the Lange last name.
Lange published his memoirs, The Revival of Time, in 2005.