Easily the most exciting release from A Lange & Sohne this year is the introduction of the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. “But wait, there’s already one in the collection,” you say. True, but this new version is sans tourbillon. And here’s why this exclusion is important.
In any haute horology collection, we expect to see high complication variations. The challenge is the implementation in terms of function, design and wearability. When the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar was launched, the incorporation of the QP (watch nerd speak for perpetual calendar) into the dial design on the Lange 1 was perfectly executed with minimal intrusions. Pay attention and you’ll notice the addition of a discreet outer rotating ring indicating the months of the year, the little arrow pointing to the current month with a tiny window and a leap year counter above, the inclusion of a moon phase in the seconds counter, and a day/night indicator for good measure. Perfectly legible and visually uncomplicated despite what the movement suggests. You get to enjoy the look of the original Lange 1 (mirrored because it’s based on the Daymatic) and appreciate the ingenious inclusion of the QP.
To add to that feeling of being special, Lange included a hidden tourbillon that no one can see except when taken off the wrist for some private movement-admiring session. The only giveaway is a small line of block letters printed on the dial, or by the keen eyes of the occasional Lange fanatic who can spout reference numbers across model generations. It’s a perfectly stealthy watch. And also a very expensive one.
Now if you can splash out over 300 thousand Euros for the secret pleasure of knowing that you’re wearing something with more than meets the eye, then more power to you. But if you were looking for a high calendar complication without the unseen frills, then you were out of luck.
Enter the new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. At first glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Careful scrutiny will inform you that the day/night indicator is gone (more on that in a bit), as is the word Tourbillon because, well, there’s no tourbillon within. The moon phase now consists of two layers – a white gold (or pink, depending on case material) moon rotating independent of a base disc with graduated shades of blue to indicate day or night – as found in the latest iteration of the Lange 1 Moon Phase. Now here’s the clincher: you can get all of this at a third of the cost of the tourbillon version.
This reduced price point is the direct result of removing the complicated tourbillon, but the movement that powers the newcomer is no slouch either. The new L021.3 automatic movement found within is based on the L021.1 of the Lange 1 Daymatic.
The upgrades include not only the QP but also a newly developed winding mechanism with a 21k gold unidirectional rotor with an added centrifugal mass in platinum. Calendar functions advance instantaneously, which is always a joy to experience, especially as you approach the end of a month. And as with all Lange timepieces, the movement is a thing of beauty.
Differentiating this from the tourbillon version is a new colour scheme. A pink gold case with a grey dial as part of its regular production model, and a white gold case with a pink gold dial 150 pieces limited edition model. It’s a solid pink gold dial and not a salmon-coloured dial, mind you. My (imaginary) money is on the limited edition piece, and I won’t be surprised if it’s already sold out by the time you’re reading this.