SIHH 2013 PuristSPro Report: A.Lange and Sohne (Fr-X. Overstake & PuristSPro Team)
Last Years' (2012) Star of the Show: Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon
2013 Themes: Tribute to the A. Lange & Sohne Pocket Watches
3 new movements and 7 novelties.
The aesthetical approach of this year is very interesting to observe with three watches (Grande Complication and the two 1815) inspired by pocket watches from the past. The two complicated watches do not use the big date display but on the other hand, this display remains one of the key parts of Lange DNA as the Grand Lange 1 WG and "Lumen" remind us.
We were not expecting to see in 2013 some watches of the new collection. Actually, I would have imagined the Grande Complication debut in 2014 (20th anniversary of the first collection) or in 2015 (200th anniversary of F.A.Lange birth).
Lange presented 7 novelties including variations of existing models what can be considered as a very reasonable figure. Lange is a small company which roughly produces around 4500 watches per year and in this context, the key indictor is the number of new movements.
If we analyse the new collection, we can find 3 new movements including the most impressive one ever produced by Lange in a wristwatch.
Grande Complication; New movement.
1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar; New movement.
1815 up and down; New movement.
Grand Lange 1 Black dial; movement already existing.
Grand Lange 1 Lumen; movement already existing.
Saxonia Annual Calendar; movement already existing.
Saxonia Automatic with diamond-set bezel; movement already existing.
If we put aside the very specific case of the Grande Complication, which will be produced at a very slow rhythm (one per year), the two other new movements deserve a closer look.
2013 Star of the Show: 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar
The movement L101.1 of the 1815 Rattrapante PC is for me, one of the most gorgeous ever produced by Lange. It is not only a question of finishings but also of lay-out. The split-second system creates an unusual view of the movement... Double-Split included.
The play of light on the gorgeous movement changes the view.
Pink Gold on wrist
Other Novelties 2013:
It is not so easy to speak about the Grande Complication and to give my own feelings. I could see the watch in its cabinet, I saw it working including the Foudroyante but I didn't wear it nor handle it. Pictures were not allowed. The watch is obviously not achieved and I don't know what is exactly missing. We can understand comments from some who thought that Lange should not have unveiled a watch that is not ready but I think that the time was the right one.
First of all, we are speaking about a superlative watch which requires 1 year to be assembled. Only 6 will be produced.
Secondly, if the production starts now, the first watch will be delivered in 2014... which is perfect to celebate the 20th anniversary of the first collection.
Thirdly, the Grande Complication has a key role in Lange communication. In that sense, the sooner, the better.
Of course, the inspiration of the pocket watch 42500 is obvious. That watch was displayed at the Lange booth at the 2010 SIHH and at that time, we knew that a big surprise would come.
The Grande Complication needed 7 years of development but we don't find this kind of information using the movement reference: it doesn't follow the usual Lange nomenclature (L.1902): 1902 is the year when the 42500 was sold to a resident of Vienna for 5.600 marks.
You will need to spend a bit more to purchase its 2013 version because we are very close to the 2.000.000 EUR. Huge figures? Maybe... but at this level, figures have a different "meaning".
The most tricky part for Lange will be, despite this price, to select the happy 6 owners. A lot of care and psychology will be required to explain the choices to the omitted people!
One interesting point is to see that the dial does not feature the big date system. It is also the case of the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar. A new trend? I see it as a tribute to the classic pocket watch which leads to a new way to organize the dial lay-out. Moreover the big date system requires room and in very complicated watches, any gain of room for manoeuver is welcome.
The case is bulky (50mm with a height of 20,3mm) and I can imagine the weight of the watch is heavy too. The lugs have a special shape in order to make the watch wearable: they seem to "dive". I also understand some comments about these dimensions. The result would have been even more beautiful with a more contained size. But we also have to take into account the way the German watchmakers structure their movements.
Anyway, I hope to be able one day to see it completed, to put it on my wrist and to enjoy it at least a few seconds to experience the feelings to have the most complicated Lange wristwatch on my wrist. Sure that it would be an unforgettable moment!
1815 Up Down
The watch is very different from the "classic" version.
First of all the case is smaller: 39mm vs 40mm.
Secondly the case doesn't have the same shape: look at the bezel which doesn't strictly extend the case side.
An more important: the movement L051.2 offers a larger power reserve (72 hours) which justifies the power reserve indicator.
Despite its reference, the caliber L051.2 of the 1815 up and down is different from the L051.1 of the 1815. It has a larger power reserve (72 hours) which gives a justification for the use of the power reserve display.
But even more important, it gives another proof of a new trend firstly observed with the Saxonia Thin: the handwind movements have a new lay-out and the 3/4 plate doesn't hide the click, the ratchet and the crown wheel.
Of course we can regret to lose the purity of the 3/4 plate. But let's face it: with more visible parts, the movement is more enjoyable... and we also have ther addition of the small planetary gear train of the power reserve indicator.
So this 1815 up and down can't be considered as a "mere" 1815 with the addition of a complication: it is a true new watch.
The Grand Lange 1 Lumen was unveiled at a Pre-SIHH event.
When the light conditions change, the dial becomes lighter or darker:
The 3 remaining watches even if they don't produce the same feeling of surprise than the watches with new movements also deserve a closer look.
Grand Lange 1 White Gold - Black Dial
Actually, it is much more than the a Grand Lange 1 with a black dial. This black dial has a lot of subtle details.
First of all, it is not a deep black dial: it was closer to anthracite grey rather than pure black. Moreover there is a small contrast between the colour of the subdials and the colour of the main part of the dial. It is due to the specific finishings of these subdials which create sunrays reflection.
Secondly, it features luminous index and hands. It is not the come-back of the previous Grand Lange 1 "Luminous". This Grand Lange 1 is much more elegant and refined. I appreciated these luminous details which can't be found in the first three Grand Lange 1.
And, last point, the dark colour of the dial makes it a bit smaller on the wrist than the light dial Grand Lange 1: the watch becomes even more balanced, being a bit between the classic Lange 1 and the last year Grand Lange 1.
Saxonia Annual Calendar
The Saxonia Annual Calendar in Platinum gives us the opportunity to enjoy one more time the L085.1 Sax-O-Mat movement. Sadly, this iconic 3/4 rotor automatic movement is only available now in the Lange collection with the automatic calendar watches.
38,5mm is a good size for this kind of watch.
The new Platinum version is more than just a change of case material. It appears to be really different when compared with the white gold version. The rhodiumed gold hands create a beautiful combination with the solid silver rhodium dial.
Saxonia Automatic with Diamond Set Bezel
In 2012, we were presented a Saxonia Automatic with a diamond set bezel and a MOP (mother-of-pearl) dial.
This year, Lange unveiled a similar watch in a 38,5mm case without the MOP dial in order to meet the expectations of some male customers who look for a precious watch with a less feminine design.
The central rotor movement:
This message has been edited by AnthonyTsai on 2013-02-06 08:23:29