This is the second watch by A. Lange & Söhne to receive the “handwerkskunst” designation –the first was the Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst, which featured an eleborate tremblage engraved dial.

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The Perpetual Tourbillon version uses the tremblage engraving as a background for additional engraving in the foliate motif Lange enthusiasts will recognize as characteristic of Lange balance cocks; the combination of the two is absolutely breathtaking.

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This watch was first introduced at Watches and Wonders in Asia –at the time of its introduction, it was stated that fifteen would be made at the price, in US dollars, of $357,700.  Since then, the entire production –all fifteen watches –have been ordered by clients.  That’s right: the total number left available for purchase is exactly zero (although hope springs eternal and there is an already-growing waiting list for the watch, should someone decide they don’t want it after all –as a matter of fact, while I was photographing this one at the Palm Beach boutique on Worth Avenue, someone came in, saw it, fell in love, and asked to be put on the waiting list as well.)

The numbers for the date display are hand-painted, not printed.  The movement is elaborately decorated as well (of course.)  There is a chaton-set, diamond endstone for the tourbillon.

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Looking more deeply into the movement, we can see the distinctive A. Lange & Söhne stop mechanism for the tourbillon, in which a pivoted stop lever engages the balance; the two arms are designed so that one will always be able to clear the pillars of the tourbillon cage (an elegant solution to the problem of building a stop seconds mechanism into a tourbillon.)

Incidentally, one small but interesting feature of the watch is in the position of the small seconds hand –as can be seen, the tourbillon is located at 6:00 but the small seconds hand isn’t, as it is set on the center axis of the moonphase display, which lies approximately between 7:00 and 8:00.  In the pictures above and below, the carriage is driven by the wheel above the diamond endstone; the wheel below it is an intermediate wheel for driving the small seconds hand, whose pinion is visible in the picture below, riding in the lower of the two jewels in the intermediate wheel balance cock.

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We can understand, now that we’ve had a chance to see it in person, why Lange enthusiasts snapped it up so quickly; it’s a wonderfully successful combination of ornate, almost Baroque decoration with a high level of technical sophistication –a classic incarnation of the spirit of Saxon watchmaking, and the high craft and high watchmaking art of A. Lange & Söhne.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJack Forster is the Editor in Chief of Revolution Magazine, USA.  Read Revolution’s iPad edition on the Zinio digital newsstand app; also available for Android and desktop.

 

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