A. Lange & Söhne officilaly unveiled this new version of its RICHARD LANGE “Pour le Mérite” at the company’s international dealer convention in Dresden on on September 22, 2016. The pink-gold and platinum versions, now sold out, are now being complemented with a 218-piece limited with white gold case and a black dial. White Roman numerals and the rhodiumed gold hands contrast well against the black silver dial. Small Arabic numerals in red for 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes add nuances of color to the underlying black-and-white design.
A. Lange & Söhne RICHARD LANGE “Pour le Mérite”
218-piece limited edition
40.5mm white gold case, manual wind Lane Cal L044.1, fitted on hand-stitched black alligator leather strap with solid white-gold buckle
A. Lange’s exclusive timepieces with the attribute “Pour le Mérite” have long represented the technological avant-garde at A. Lange & Söhne, and each of the four models launched so far has been endowed with a fusée-and-chain mechanism. The sole objective of the fusée-and-chain complication, discernible only on the movement side, is to improve rate accuracy. Inspired by historic pocket watches and integrated into a wristwatch by A. Lange & Söhne for the first time, the mechanism guarantees constant torque and thus stability of the amplitude of the balance across the entire power reserve range.
Wrapped around the mainspring barrel, the chain delivers the power of the mainspring to the wheel train via the cone-shaped fusée. This keeps the torque constant. When the watch is fully wound, the chain pulls at the smaller circumference of the fusée, i.e. at the shorter lever. Conversely, when the tension of the mainspring is nearly depleted, the chain pulls at the larger circumference of the fusée, the longer lever. In principle, the mechanism works like the gearing of a bicycle except that the gear ratios are infinitely variable rather than fixed.
The 636-part chain is only 0.25mm thick and 156mm long, and though robust it is a mechanism not to be abused. To prevent the chain from being overstressed, Lange’s product developers added two separate mechanisms which block the winding system before fully wound and fully unwound states. An elaborate planetary gearing inside the fusée maintains the flow of power from the fusée to the movement during the winding phase. It is composed of 38 tiny parts which the watchmaker must fit into the tight 8.6-millimetre inside diameter of the fusée. A true micro-mechanical wonder!
The manufacture calibre L044.1 is lavishly decorated by hand, and includes straight graining of the upper side of the chain (which is also crafted in-house), engravings on the balance cock as well as on the escape-wheel and fourth-wheel cock.
Oh, and if you are wondering “Why 218 pieces?” well, Lange points out that this is is the current number of global points of sale at which A. Lange & Söhne timepieces are available as of today.