In-Depth: The New Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
The Lange 1 has always been a special timepiece. Defined by its distinctive and aesthetically-pleasing off-centred dial with large date layout and characteristic high-quality finishing, the Lange 1 was one of the four original models that announced the great revival of A. Lange & Söhne in 1994. Now, some 27-years later, it is no exaggeration to describe the Lange 1 as a modern icon in its own right. And a popular muse for Lange’s gifted watchmakers and engineers. Leading them to constantly explore and push the boundaries of what this mechanical marvel is truly capable of. The latest such evolution to emerge from the brand’s steadfast refusal to rest on its laurels is the sublime new Lange 1 Perpetual.
The Perpetual Calendar
Incredibly, this is the first Lange 1 to be devoted entirely to one of the most complex complications in watch-making; the perpetual calendar. Although it’s not the first Lange 1 to feature such a complication. That honour goes to the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar which made its debut in 2012, and as the same suggests featured the added complexity of a tourbillon. That model also represented a number of firsts for the brand, including being the first Lange with a tourbillon that is not visible on the dial side, the first tourbillon with an automatic movement and the first tourbillon with a stop-mechanism. It is a highly-prized (and sought-after) reference by collectors and it’s not hard to imagine that the new Lange 1 Perpetual will likely follow in its footsteps.
As you might expect, the Lange 1 Perpetual shares a very similar dial layout to its tourbillon-equipped predecessor. Praised for its intuitive legibility and ability to maintain the appealing asymmetry of the Lange 1 dial layout, whilst simultaneously integrating all the additional indications for a perpetual calendar, this design is as timeless as it is effective.
The time – hours and minutes – are shown on an off-centred dial in the right-hand side of the dial. Above and to the left is the model’s famous outsize date window at 11 o’clock. Beneath this are the days of the week, displayed vertically and indicated to by a retrograde hand. Next is the moon phase display with small seconds. Eagle-eyed enthusiasts will note that Lange has rotated the crescent-shaped aperture to an upright position and integrated the day/night indicator via a gradient blue disc. This means that the moon, crafted either in white or pink gold depending on the case material, appears against a lighter blue sky during the day and on a dark blue starry sky at night. The mechanism is designed to be highly precise and will require an adjustment of just one day in 122.6 years.
Around the periphery of the dial the months are arranged on a ring which advances once a month. An applied gold arrow at 6 o’clock points to the current month. Yet another example of an apparently simple solution that is deceptively challenging to implement in practice. Advancing the ring each month requires substantially more power compared to traditional displays, challenging Lange’s engineers to come up with an innovative solution that would make this reliably possible without compromising the model’s overall precision and accuracy. Immediately above the month display is a leap year indicator, visible through a small aperture. The calendar displays advance instantaneously and can also be advanced collectively or individually with correctors in the caseband.
One Timepiece, Two Variations
The new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is presented in a 41.9mm case and remains an impressively svelte 12.1mm. It is available in two variations; one in pink gold with a grey solid silver dial and the other in white gold with a solid pink gold dial. The pink gold reference features applied pink gold Roman numerals on the hour and minutes disc. Pink gold is also used to frame the big date window and the triangular month indicator, and the hands. The case is paired with reddish-brown leather strap with a pink gold prong buckle.
The white gold reference, with its eye-catching solid pink gold dial, shows rhodium-plated white gold for the hands and double-framed date window. Unlike the pink gold version, there is no luminescent material on the dial. It is offered on a dark brown leather strap with a prong buckle in 18k white gold and will be limited to just 150 pieces.
Inside both cases is the new L021.3 automatic movement, Lange’s 67th manufacture calibre, which is based on the L021.1 of the Lange 1 Daymatic. The L021.3 has been upgraded with a newly developed winding mechanism with a unidirectional rotor in 21k gold and an additional centrifugal mass in platinum. The cam-poised balance runs at 21,600vph, and delivers a power reserve of 50 hours. Visible through a sapphire case back it showcases Lange’s hallmark movement finishing. The plates and bridges are made of untreated German silver and are decorated with Glashütte ribbing; the balance cock is hand-engraved with a distinctive floral motif and the gold chatons are secured by thermally blued screws. The gold rotor, with the brand name engraved in relief, features a handmade frosted decoration.
An exquisite and exclusive timepiece sure to be in high demand and short supply, both versions of the new Lange 1 Perpetual will be available for purchase from the A. Lange & Söhne boutique in Sydney later this year. We anticipate that allocations will be highly limited, with only a few pieces making their way to Australian shores this year. Please contact us directly to discuss your interest in acquiring one of these sought-after models.