SIHH of 2013, was when A. Lange & Söhne introduced the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar. And today, just 4 years on, the maison has deemed it worthy that it should be the next page in their exquisite Handwerkskunst chapter of timepieces. Meet the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst.
Watches that have been previously bestowed the honor of the Handwerkskunst title, include the Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour Le Mérite Handwerkskunst (2011), the Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst (2012), Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst (2013), Tourbillon Lange 1 Handwerkskunst (2014) and the 1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst (2015).
The addition of Handwerkskunst, to one of their watch names, is Lange’s way of saying that they’ve taken their commendable reputation for traditional hand decorations and turned them up a great many notches.
In the instance of the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst, it really starts with its dial. A solid white gold dial, which is first relief engraved to create this star scattered motif. Then the dial is decorated with blue enamel to create the impression of a starry night set against a deep, translucent sky.
Interesting detail to note here is that the engraving and, thereafter, the enameling is done with a lot of thought to the final thickness of the dial. Because as you can see the applied Arabic numerals sit flush with the top surface of the enamel.
But, of course, it’s not all flat and flush. There’s lots of spatial interplay on the dial with the outer minute track and all of the sub-dials executed with steps.
Turn over the watch and you encounter yet another bit of enameling with relief engraving underneath. The center of the caseback bears a depiction of the moon goddess, Luna in all her splendor. She is quite clearly engraved onto the surface.
Of course, the little lip on the side of the caseback means that this is a hunter style caseback, which when you flip open, you will encounter the caliber L101.1 within. A completely integrated split-second chronograph movement with two column wheels — one to govern the chronograph hand and the other for the split seconds.
And as a standard, some of the movement’s bridges, such as the operating-lever, cover and chronograph bridges as well as on the rattrapante and balance cocks are relief and tremblage engraved to quite the visual treat.
As beautiful as the final watch is, what you must appreciate is that the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar is already a very complex watch to produce. But adding the Handwerkskunst title throttles this difficulty to astronomical levels. Because the accuracy that the watch promises — perpetual calendar will not require adjustment until 2100; moon-phase will run accurately for 122.6 years — cannot be compromised as a result of decorative decisions.
That’s not to say that relief engraving and enameling are easier tasks when considered on their own. They aren’t. At A. Lange & Söhne, there are just two women who are able to execute this art at a level befitting of the manufacture.
As such, on the matter of the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst, A. Lange & Söhne are committing to produce only 20 pieces of it.
Technical Specifications: 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst
Manually-wound Lange manufacture calibre L101.1; hours, minutes and subsidiary seconds; split-seconds chronograph with minute counter; perpetual calendar with date, day of week, month, moon phase and leap year; power reserve indicator; 42-hour power reserve
41.9mm white gold case; caseback with hinged cover, decorated with relief and tremblage engraving, and enamelled in blue
Hand-stitched alligator leather with white gold Lange deployant buckle
Price: 290,000 Euro