Good things come in fours, at least where A. Lange & Söhne are concerned. Rather than showing off just one magnificent German timepiece, the meisters of Glashütte have just released a superlative quartet, even by their own lofty standards and, while none of the pieces are entirely new, the drop offers a welcome return of some serious limited-edition timepieces.
Rather than preamble too much, let’s jump right into them.
Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst
First up we have a watch that originally debuted in 2008, the Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst, a watch that will have Reverso die-hards swooning. Not only does it share a similar art deco styling – that goes for the dial as well as the overall shape of the 29.5 x 39.2mm case – but it was the first watch ever to include a stop seconds for the tourbillon.
In most tourbillons, when you pull out the crown the cage will keep rotating, something that was a fact of watchmaking for nearly 200 years before Lange took on the challenge. Here instead, you pull the crown out, the tourbillon cage – which doubles as the second hand – stops too, allowing for precision setting. It’s not the kind of addition that really impacts daily life, but it’s a serious piece of watchmaking.
The calibre L042.1 also has 120 hours of manually wound power reserve across its twin barrels and, when viewed from the reverse, is as exceptional as you’d expect from Lange, three quarter plate and all. But this is one of the very few times where the rest of the watch is just as stunning – hence the Handwerkskunst moniker.
That name is earned on the three-part, white gold dial which offers lozenge patterned-guilloche, tremblage separating the various dials and enamel to add depth for a spectacular three-dimensional effect. It’s over the top, elaborate and stunning. The same goes for the black polished tourbillon itself, which is suspended between two diamond endstones. Because at this point, why not?
Ref: 703.048 | Case/dial: 29.5 x 39.2mm diameter, 950 platinum case, grey dial with hand-engraved lozenge pattern | Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L042.1, manual winding, 45 jewels with two diamond endstones, 370 parts | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 120h | Functions: Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, one-minute tourbillon with stop seconds, power-reserve indicator | Strap: Black hand-stitched leather strap | Price: POA, limited to 30 pieces
Langematik Perpetual Limited Anniversary Edition
Next up a pair of timepieces we’ve come to know and love but in a shiny new pair of limited editions: the Langematik Perpetual. Back in 2001 it was the first of Lange’s collection to pair a perpetual calendar with an outsize date, which sounds about as niche as a ‘first’ can get, but requires some ballsy watchmaking to accomplish.
The outsize date is, as the name suggests, huge. This leaves less room within the movement to fit other complications in, which makes including something like a perpetual calendar – with day, month, moon phase and leap year indicators – a major accomplishment.
Now, for the Langematik Perpetual’s 20th birthday, Lange are offering it in white or pink gold with matching handsets and numerals. Both come with blue dials and are magnificent. It’s a new look rather than a new watch but despite that I don’t expect the 50 pieces in each colour will last long.
Of the new releases, this is the only automatic movement, the L922.1 Sax-0-Mat. Sure, it’s not a great name, but as ever it’s beautiful and offers a 46-hour power reserve. It’s also pretty slim for an automatic at just 5.7mm high, creating a more svelte silhouette.
Ref: 310.028 (18k white gold), 310.037 (18k pink gold) | Case/dial: 38.5mm diameter x 10.2mm height, 18k white gold or 18k pink gold case, solid silver blue dial with embossed grooved structure | Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L922.1 SAX-0-MAT, automatic, 43 jewels, 478 parts | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 46h | Functions: Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds with
stop seconds and zero-reset function, perpetual calendar with date, day of the week, month, moon phase, leap year, day/night indicators | Strap: Dark blue hand-stitched leather | Price: £81,400, limited to 50 pieces each
Where the previous releases offer some superb mechanical exceptionalism behind their dials, the last Lange debut is all about the finishing, in a less-is-more, streamlined kind of way. That’s really the raison d’etre of the Saxonia collection so it’s to be expected.
The slim, 40mm pink gold case is beautiful but in this edition it’s all about the dial. Lange call it ‘blue gold flux’ which is another term for Aventurine, which is a blue coating embedded with thousands of copper oxide crystals for that speckled, night sky look. It’s hard not to love, particularly when the signature narrow bezel of the Saxonia leaves so much of it.
Inside is the manual-wind L093.1 calibre with a 72-hour power reserve, elegant and unfussed – just like the rest of the watch. Once again, this is a limited edition of 50 pieces and while not the star of the show (that’s definitely the Handwerkskunst) it’s a damn fine Lange.
Ref: 211.088 | Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 6.2mm height, 18k pink gold case, solid silver coated dial with dark-blue gold flux that shimmers with copper particles | Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L093.1, manual winding, 21 jewels, 167 parts | Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) | Power reserve: 72h | Functions: Hours, minutes | Strap: Dark blue leather strap | Price: £23,500, limited to 50 pieces
More details at A. Lange & Söhne.