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The new A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Tourbillon ‘Pour Le Merite’

by Michael Weare
22 December, 2010
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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A fusée-and-chain transmission as well as a tourbillon with a patented stop seconds mechanism, Herr Lange, you are spoiling us.

This is the fourth watch in the A. Lange portfolio to be given the distinction ‘Pour Le Merite’. This ‘belt and braces’ approach to grand complications is so as to improve rate stability and precision.

The prominent regulator dial with its pivoting segment was inspired by what is known in the trade as a famous historic paragon. What this translates to is that Johann Heinrich Seyffert (1751-1817) was one of the most talented artisans of his guild elevating the art of horology in Dresden to new heights.

As a measure of the man’s talent, for his expedition to South America, the explorer and naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt acquired a Seyffert chronometer and, in 1797, travelled to Dresden expressly to learn the art of navigation with a sextant and barometer.

According to Humboldt’s notes, Seyffert’s chronometer was accurate to four or five seconds a day and when stationary, its accuracy increased to less than one second in 24 hours. Even by today’s standards, this degree of precision is nothing short of outstanding.

Seyffert’s inspiration led to the establishment of the first German watch manufactory, Ferdinand A. Lange in 1845. The regulator Herr Seyffert created in 1807, which is now part of the collection at the Mathematics and Physics Salon in Dresden, forms the blueprint for the Richard Lange Tourbillon ‘Pour Le Merite’. This important new timepiece beautifully defines Seyffert’s quest for an exclusive ‘regulator’ for the wrist, dedicated totally to mechanical precision.

Its dial features three intersecting circles for the time indications. The large minute circle at the top is the dominant element that hovers over the slightly smaller subdials for the seconds and hours to the left and right of the vertical centre axis.

In its calibre, a fusée-and-chain mechanism is responsible for the constant transmission of power. The chain is no more than a tiny hairspring, a speciality of A. Lange & Sohne and very few other manufactures. Inside the watch is the in-house made and designed Calibre L072.1 hand-wound movement. The movement itself has 351 parts, but counting the chain (which is 636 parts) it has 987 parts and a relatively low 36 hour reserve.

The whole intricate package comes together very agreeably in a 41.9mm wide case in either platinum or 18k pink gold. The hands on the dial are in gold, and the dial itself is solid silver.

The strap is brown or black crocodile.

The platinum version of the watch will be limited to just 100 pieces, while the pink gold model will not be a limited edition.

In pink gold the watch is $193,600 while the limited edition platinum model is (sharp intake of breath) $233,600.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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