SIHH 2013…KING LANGE…FROM GERMANY WITH LOVE…Six (6) to be made…1.9 million EUR per…SOLD OUT…
THE watch for A. Lange & Söhne and easily if not the top watch of year 2013. Heck, more likely that this watch take its place among Lange’s all time greats and sit proudly alongside other notable grand complications. This Grand Complication marks the debut of a timepiece of stunning complexity and perfection — Lange was due, Lange needed, a piece such as this to its credit. At SIHH in Geneva, the watch was on display — it’s “chime” has been heard — but no one was allowed to touch it, or photograph it.
With a grande sonnerie, a perpetual calendar, and a split-seconds chronograph with flying seconds, it features a density of complications that is uncommon even in the category of grand complications. Only six of these will be produced, in 50mm pink gold cases. And on top of this exclusivity, I believe this is the most complicated piece every produced by Lange. Production starts in 2014 — though the six pieces at 1.9 million euros per piece are already sold out.
The five-part enamel dial unites numerous indications in a balanced layout. Small gold hands are used for the calendar displays. The subsidiary dial on the right-hand side indicates the date, the one on the left the day of the week, and the upper one the month as well as the leap year. The red 4 marks the beginning of a leap year. The small blued hands and the slender centre-hand pair are assigned to the chronograph-rattrapante function. The minute scale in the upper subsidiary dial shows the stopped minutes, the blue centre hand the intermediate times in seconds, and the gold centre hand the final stopped time. The flying seconds in the lower subsidiary dial indicates fractional times to an accuracy of one-fifth of a second. The moon-phase display is located behind it.
Lange: “The grande sonnerie is especially daunting for the watchmaker. He is not only responsible for precisely adjusting the switching sequences of the individual parts but also for the richness of the sound. Tuning is performed exclusively by hand and “by ear”. The grand and small strikes automatically indicate the time in quarter-hour intervals.When the slide at 8 o’clock is actuated, the minute repeater will indicate the time to one-minute accuracy. The acoustic time is mechanically sampled from three so-called snails in the middle of the movement. The low-pitched tones indicate the hours, the high-pitched ones the minutes, and the double tones the quarter-hours. The striking mechanism has its own spring barrel, which delivers enough power for 24 hours.”
SPLIT SECONDS CHRONO WITH FLYING SECONDS
Lange: “With its 248 parts, the split-seconds chronograph mechanism is the most complex ensemble of this watch. Operated by the two push pieces on the top left and right sides of the case flank, it can measure the duration of an event and any number of intermediate times. The chronograph and rattrapante functions are controlled by two separate column wheels.
A mechanical rarity, the flying seconds mechanism indicates fractions of a second in a subdial of its own. Its specially designed escapement assembly includes a wheel with 30 teeth and a 5-pointed star. These elements allow the hand to perform its movements as fast as lightning and with the utmost precision. The energy needed for this rare additional chronograph function is so considerable that a third spring barrel is needed to deliver it.”
Lange: “The perpetual calendar mechanism emulates the Gregorian calendar. Not only does it know how many days each month has in the course of a year, it is also aware of the fact that February has 29 days in leap years. It needs to be adjusted by one day – in 2100 for the first time – because the Gregorian calendar omits the 29th of February in centenary years that are not divisible by 400. The duration of each month is coded into a 48-segment wheel with recesses that are mechanically sampled by the date switching lever. The deeper the recess, the shorter the month.”