The pièce de résistance from A. Lange & Söhne this year is undoubtedly the Grand Complication, a watch that is the result of seven years of product development. Each dial is a composite of five enamelled parts and every component in the watch has been manufactured and lavishly finished by hand to the strictest standards. The sheer complexity behind its production explains why only one can be delivered per year, and only six will ever be produced (all of which have already been sold). This watch has a total of three mainspring barrels, with one dedicated to the chiming mechanism.
The other six novelties launched at the fair include another two from the 1815 family, two from the Grand Lange 1 family and another pair from the Saxonia collection. The 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar bears a traditional design of four subdials and is available in either red gold or platinum. Like the Grand Complication, this watch has been made to perfection and is truly an amazing work of art especially when viewed from the side of the movement. The manufacture L101.1 is the eighth chronograph calibre developed by A. Lange & Söhne, and the watch features a rattrapante chronograph, a perpetual calendar, a moon-phase display, and a power-reserve indicator, all of which are displayed on the four subdials. Again, the calendar function needs to be adjusted only in 2100 and then subsequently again in 2200 — the newly designed solid-gold lunar disc beneath the small-seconds dial at 6 o’clock only needs to be corrected by one day every 122 years.
Another interesting launch was the Grand Lange 1 Lumen that highlights the German’s signature trademarks and the outsized date feature. A. Lange & Söhne subtly reveals the mechanism behind the famous date display format by using a tinted and treated sapphire crystal as a dial. Part aesthetic and part practical, this gives the watch a different look from its predecessors but more importantly, allows UV rays to reach the luminous surfaces of the date displays. The result is that the outsized date maintains maximum luminosity even after the daily switching operation. This watch is available in only 200 pieces and is presented in a platinum case.
As for the remaining new launches, the Grand Lange 1 is available this year in white gold with a black solid-silver dial as well as luminous hands and appliqués. The 1815 Up/Down now sports a larger case compared to the previous 1815 Auf und Ab. Lastly, the Saxonia Annual Calendar now comes in platinum and is joined by the ladies’ Saxonia Automatic in pink or white gold with a bezel adorned with 76 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Two gongs are responsible for the harmonious chimes of the minute repeater and of the hour and quarter-hour strikes. At the turn of every quarter hour, the Grand Complication indicates the hours and quarter hours automatically in the grand strike mode, while the petite sonnerie mode rings the elapsed quarter hours, and the hours only at the top of every hour. A slide located on the left of the case activates the minute repeater which chimes the time on demand.
The monopusher chronograph complication is enhanced with a rattrapante and jumping seconds function that allows time to be measured up to a fifth of a second. When the chronograph is activated via a pusher between one and two o’clock (this pusher also stops and resets the chronograph), three hands — gold chronograph hand, a blued-steel rattrapante hand and the jumping seconds indicator in the five-second subdial — move. When another pusher between 10 and 11 o’clock is activated, the split-seconds hand stops to indicate the lap time, while the chronograph hand continues running. Pressing the same pusher twice jumps the split-seconds hand forward to be aligned with the chronograph hand. Two column wheels — one each for the chronograph and rattrapante functions — ensure that time is measured precisely.
The perpetual calendar is accurate until 2100 without adjustment and advances all the indicators (except the moonphase) at midnight.
Go back to Moments of Rapture – The breathtaking pieces that stole the limelight at this year’s SIHH