Lange had a good year; the collection was smallish but ample. Two new movements were launched, the first being the L082.1 of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar.
This is an instantaneous perpetual calendar (everything jumps instantaneously) displaying the calendar information on the dial, without any overlapping indications in true Lange 1 style. Initially I didn’t like to the design but have warmed to it; the dial is smartly done – everything is legible and well laid out.
Over on the back the tourbillon is visible, but barely. It is a hacking tourbillon, like that on the Cabaret Tourbillon. But given it can be hardly seen I wonder about the need for it, especially since the perpetual calendar is already impressively sophisticated.
Like the Lange 1 Daymatic, this has a central rotor in gold and platinum with relief decoration. The case diameter is 41.9 mm.
For now the Lange 1 perpetual will be made in platinum in a limited edition of 100 pieces. Regular production rose gold will be available next year.
The other new calibre is in the new Grande Lange 1 which at 40.9 mm is smaller than the old Grande Lange 1. This has an entirely new calibre that is actually slimmer than the Lange 1 movement. Besides the slimness, the most obvious difference in the new movement are the separate cocks for the escape wheel and fourth wheel, quite an unusual feature for a Lange movement.
The new calibre means that the dial proportions are exactly the same as the original Lange 1, no overlapping subdials as on the old Grande Lange 1. However, the case proportions differ from the Lange 1. The new Grande Lange 1 is slimmer at 8.8 mm high and has shorter lugs, giving it a slightly more rounded look. But despite the changed proportions it still looks good. This is available in platinum, rose or yellow gold.
Also new is the Lange 1 Time Zone with the addition of luminous dial and hands, cased in white gold.
Now on to the Saxonia range. The Saxonia Thin, originally only in rose gold, is now available in white gold with silver dial. It looks even more austere in this guise.
The Saxonia Automatic now comes in ladies’ versions as well, in the three colours of gold with mother of pearl dials and diamond bezels.
And last is the new Lange Datograph Up/Down. This is the much talked about improvement of the iconic Datograph.
The case is now 41 mm with some changes to the movement though it remains largely the same. Though not obvious the date has been enlarged for the new, larger dial so as to keep the same proportions as before.
More apparent is the simplified dial design, with baton indices instead of Romans and a cleaner minute track. And of course now there is a power reserve at six.
Importantly the movement now has a 60 hour power reserve, compared to the short 36 hours before. The balance wheel is the in-house adjustable mass balance, and some of the chronograph levers have changed.
But fundamentally it is the same watch. All of the changes are incremental. Perhaps after 13 years more could have been done.
While I don’t like the power reserve, the new Datograph is visually so similar to the old version that it’s difficult not to like it. Existing Datograph owners don’t need to own this, but it remains a brilliant option for someone looking for a high-end, traditionally executed chronograph.This message has been edited by SJX on 2012-01-30 01:51:33