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A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31
More Complicated than Meets the Eye
Originally published on TimeZone in 2007.
A watch which runs at a constant rate for 31 whole days without winding? Impossible, say some…Can be done, says the incredible team at Lange. The result – the Lange 31. A very handsome watch, with a simple dial, but hiding an incredibly complex mechanism to crack the 31 day running train.
Not only does the watch run without being wound for 31 whole days, it does so with a constant amplitude… keeping 270 degrees on the balance wheel throughout.
Available only in platinum, and on a forecasted delivery date of 2009, this watch was revealed in a special Press Conference held in Dresden and Glashutte on March 15, 2007 – a date well chosen to demonstrate the incredible prowess of this watch – exactly 31 days to the start of the SIHH 07 in Geneva.
The watches shown were running, working timepieces, and all but one piece was not finished, and all are still subject to design and aestetic changes. The watch as it was presented is the final design, but one never knows.
The dial side of the Lange 31, shown below…a typically teutonic dial with Lange DNA. The nomenclature “monats-werk” indicates that the movement runs for a month.
This is a large watch, measuring some 46mm in diameter, and 15.8mm in height, it weighs an impressive 230g (about half a pound) in its platinum case.
I wore the watch over the duration of dinner – some 4 hours on my wrist – and when I had to return the watch to Tony de Haas at the Bulow Residenz bar, it was with some regret as the watch felt so natural and at home on my wrist. I don’t think the large dimensions of the watch are to be feared and, these days, might even be considered trendy.
A wrist shot on my 7.5-inches wrist and it sits very well
Another shot on a smaller wrist than mine; see that the watch sits quite nicely
But the reason for this large size is not due to trend, but for a more technical nature since the space required is to house the huge mainspring and the clever mechanism to tame the torque.
The watch is powered by 2 mainsprings, each 1.85m in length, and at max power providing 20 N-mm of torque. As a comparison, the twin barrels on the Lange 1 provides 5 N-mm of torque.
Lange 31 – Too Much Power?
Great power can be achieved by making more powerful mainsprings. Stacking two large mainsprings to achieve long power reserves is not only inelegant, but also presents its own problems. At 20 N-mm, the power from the mainspring driving the drive train would cause instant and extremely severe overbanking of the balance – there is just too much power for the balance to handle. If one makes the balance sufficiently strong to handle the power, it would be very large, and due to this, its inertia would cause it to consume the power from the mainspring quickly, and not able to last the intended design power reserve.
Further, a spring discharge is not provide constant torque, but one which obeys the laws of physics, and discharges according to a reverse s-curve like shown in the picture below. I will be using a series of photographs used in the presentation to explain the theory behind solving this problem. Please excluse the less than perfect pictures – but I think they capture the spirit of the presentation with Tony de Haas pointing and gesticulating, and shows the theory well:
One possible to get as close to this theoretical constant discharge curve is to provide a weak spring which discharges completely at short intervals, but is capable of recharging after each discharge on its own. Next imagine the large mainspring barrels to power such a weak spring. This is the principle of a remontoir – a spring within the power train, which charges and discharges periodically by the power of the mainspring, and hence able to provide a more or less constant force to the escapement.
In the case of the Lange 31, this chosen interval is 10 seconds. I will explain why 10 seconds later.
Such a spring would provide a discharge curve over the 10 seconds like so, and repeats itself every 10 seconds.
The way Lange went about to solve the remontoir is both elegant and complex. The engineers devised a remontoir mounted between two fourth wheels stacked on top of each other, and connected only by the spring of the remontoir. The remointoir recharges once every 10 seconds.
As in a typical watch, the third wheel drives the pinon of fourth wheel directly which makes one revolution every minute. The Lange 31 has 2 fourth wheels. Each is stacked on top of each other and connected only by the remontoir spring in between them. Both are able to move independent of each other and only bound by the limits caused by this remontoir spring. Both fourth wheels makes one revolution every minute, except that a special escapement – the remontoir escapement causes the bottom one to be locked for 10s. It then is released and jumps in spurts once every 10 seconds, while the other fourth wheel moves like that on a normal watch.
The remontoir escapement shown in detail right below. The pinon of the remontoir escapement is driven by the third wheel, and in turn, it drives the lower fourth wheel. A special one toothed escape wheel mounted rigidly on the remontoir escapement pinon wheel receives an impulse once every 10 seconds and is unlocked. This allows power to be delivered once every 10 seconds from the third wheel to the pinon of the remontoir escapement, which then drives the lower fourth wheel. This causes the lower fourth wheel to advance and rewind the remontoir.
When the one toothed wheel is unlocked it releases the full power of the mainspring, and rapidly jumps half a revolution only to be locked by the other pallet. As it is jumps, its pinon drives the bottom fourth wheel which winds the remontoir connected to it. The speed of advance is the relative power difference between the mainspring and the remontoir spring…which is a huge mismatch in power, thus the power train jumps once every 10 seconds. One can observe this in the movement, and also in the minute hand which, being attached to the second wheel, is released once every 10 seconds, and jumps once every 10 second block.
The impulse to unlock the remontoir escapement is provided by the top fourth wheel, which, working on the power of the remontoir spring moves like a normal fourth wheel. It only operates within the small power band of the remontoir spring, imitating a constant force. Mounted rigidly on the top fourth wheel is a cam shaped like an equilateral triangle with three curved sides.
Around this cam is a specially designed lever with two ruby teeth in contact with the cam, and the other end which engages on the special one toothed remontoir escape wheel. This lever is pivotted outside the power train, and is able to move from side to side controlled by the rotating cam. At any one time, one of the two pallets on the lever is engaged with the one tooth wheel, and locks the escapement. But as the cam rotates, it causes the lever to move from side to side, and this action causes the pallet holding the one toothed wheel in place to unlock, and the other pallet to move into position to catch the tooth as it spins across to the other side. At this precise unlocking angle, the third wheel to deliver its power to the bottom fourth wheel. This phenomena is known as escaping in horology…the power of the mainspring is allowed to escape, in a controlled rate by the escapement mechanism. The power flows from the third to the lower fourth wheel, via the pinon of the remontoir escapement is used to reload the remontoir spring, and due to the great strength of the mainspring barrels, occurs almost instantaneously. However, this unleashing of power is short lived, as the cam would have moved into another position which then engages the other pallet of lever to lock the one toothed wheel. As the cam is 3 sided, it causes this to occur once every 10 seconds, and achieves the remontoir escapement.
The remontoir escapement is a complication which is as difficult to adjust and regulate as a tourbillon escapement, and hence the equivalent pricing strategy.
Detail showing the remontoir escapement and the engaging lever and the cam
Lange 31 – The Key System
The remontoir spring is never fully depleted, and is pre-tensioned, this allows the watch to restart when it is stopped under the tension of the remontoir. A stop-clock mechanism is also fitted, to allow the watch to be stopped for precise time adjustment. Note that the movement is an unfinished movement which works perfectly, but without final finishing:
Tony de Haas showing where on the movement the remontoir is located
The mainspring is so powerful, that it presents another problem…winding it would be a chore…if the gearing of the crown is high, it would take a very long time to wind the watch. Using a ratchet wheel to keep the winding power similar to a Lange 1, it would need 150 turns to completely wind the mainspring. Not very practical. Or one could device a low gearing, and require a few turns. But the power to wind this crown would be impractical.
The Lange engineers came up with a twist to solve this…they chose a low gearing – only 31 turns required to fully the watch. A special key is designed with a large thumb crown to afford the leverage to wind it.
Like the rest of the Lange 31, there is more than meets the eye with this key. The design is complex because it incorporates a ratchet mechanism and torque limiter.
The key is machined out of stainless steel, and like a typical Lange product, is beautifully finished. Two keys are provided.
Picture below shows the key next to the Lange 31. In the background is the Datograph, as a comparison of size.
Detail showing relative locations of the remontoir (A) and the key (B)
Lange 31 – Dial Design and Layout
Numerous dial layouts were tried out. Shown below are 3 discarded designs:
And finally arriving at the design proposed as the Lange 31:
Some more pictures:
Movement view, showing final finishing with Glashutte Ribbing, and anglage on the bridges
Axel Bobe – movement designer, examining with great pleasure his creation
Axel’s brother Tino (right) who was involved in the design concept, with Tony de Haas – Technical Director
Photos © Peter Chong for TimeZoneRead more
Blogs October 6, 2014
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Watch 101: Power Reserve Indicators
One of Horology’s Most Useful Complications
This article originally appeared in Our Minutes.
Today, we take a deeper look at one of the most important elements of a mechanical watch: its reserve of power. The mainspring (a metal coil) is what powers a watch movement: when it’s tightly coiled, a watch has reached peak power and, in fact, can’t be wound any further. Whether they’re hand-wound or automatic, watch movements run most accurately when fully wound, losing precision over time as the mainspring’s tension is released (or the coil “loosens”). In order to run at a regular rate, a watch should retain approximately 25-30% of its mainspring tension.
A variety of factors can impact how long it takes for a mainspring to unwind, slow down, and eventually stop a timepiece from running. The longer a mainspring is, the longer it will take to loosen and thus, the longer its power reserve. A standard mechanical watch will maintain power for about two days, or 40-50 hours. Many watches include something called a power reserve indicator, akin to a car’s gas gauge.
In general, it’s good practice to wind one’s hand-wound watch once a day, whether or not the timepiece has a power reserve indicator. Some might say that a power reserve indicator is more helpful on an automatic watch, though—in theory—it won’t stop running as long as it makes a frequent appearance on the wrist. However, we live in an era in which our most vigorous daily activity might involve typing out a heated email. This type of wrist movement isn’t necessarily enough to keep an automatic watch at optimal power. An indication of lower power reminds the wearer to get up from his or her desk and take a literal power walk.
Though power reserve indicators are among the most pragmatic watch complications, they’re also often very creatively executed. Below, we take a look at a few noteworthy examples.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE 481 CALIBRE
In 1948, only two years after adding an automatic movement to its collection, Jaeger-LeCoultre brought out the first watch in history to combine this function with a power-reserve indicator, the Jaeger-LeCoultre 481 Calibre. When the power gets low, the numerals in the window under the 12 turn red.
First automatic watch with power-reserve indicator. Photo: Jaeger-LeCoultre
PANERAI LUMINOR 1950 8 DAYS GMT
The iconic 233 is a highly coveted model for Panerai enthusiasts. Its in-house, hand-wound movement offers a variety of impressive features, including day/night and GMT indicators. Its ability to store power for eight days (or, for those keeping track, quadruple the standard) is remarkable—and justifies the appearance of that compelling linear power reserve.
Panerai 233. Photo: Martin Wilmsen
A. Lange & Söhne refers to the Lange 31 as an unrivalled masterpiece, and as the first mechanical wristwatch with a power reserve of 31 days, it’s a spot-on description.
LANGE 31. Photo: A. Lange & Söhne
Featuring a patented constant-force escapement, the timepiece offers a high rate of stability and consistent accuracy for a month at a time. Though longer mainsprings offer larger reserves of power, there is also a more noticeable loss of torque as the spring relaxes (which affects the’s watch accuracy). This constant-force escapement re-tensions the spring by 60 degrees every ten seconds to assure that a uniform amount of torque is delivered for an entire month.
Calibre L034.1. Photo: A. Lange & Söhne
Accompanying each Lange 31 is a stainless steel winding key, which generates much more torque than would be possible with a winding crown. Thus, fewer revolutions are needed to fully wind the watch.
Lange 31′s winding key. Photo: A. Lange & Söhne
MB&F LEGACY MACHINE N°1 XIA HANG
By winding a mechanical watch, many would say you’re breathing life into it. In a clever touch, MB&F’s new Legacy Machine N°1 literally adds this metaphor to the watch’s dial. MB&F is known for its wild creativity, and maintains a collection of rebellious art on view and for sale in Geneva, Switzerland at its M.A.D. Gallery. Beijing sculpturist Xia Hang, whose work is on display there, tackled the design of the 45-hour power reserve. One of his so-called “comma men” sits straight up when fully wound. As power diminishes, the comma man bends his back and gradually slumps over.
Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Hang. Photo: MB&F
Xia Hang’s “comma man”
HUBLOT MP-05 LAFERRARI
The MP-05 “LaFerrari” takes the idea of the power reserve as gas gauge to an entirely new level. Its unprecedented 50-day (read it again: that’s days, not hours) power reserve appears on the left side of the dial.
MP-05 LaFerrari. Photo: Hublot
With another exceptionally long power reserve (which would entail an unbearable amount of hand winding), Hublot provides an ingenious winding key, similar to the electric drills one might encounter on a speedway.
MP-05 LaFerrari winding key. Photo: Hublot
MP-05 LaFerrari 637 components. The power reserve appears at center left. Image: Hublot
Katie Wudel is the Managing Editor of Our Minutes. Katie is a timepiece enthusiast and freelance writer contributing to such distinguished literary journals as McSweeney’s, Tin House, Prairie Schooner, and more.Read more
Blogs February 20, 2014
Big Pictures of a Big Watch:
Vintage Lange & Söhne B-Uhren
Edwin H. Heusinkveld
20 February 2014
I have an extract from the A. Lange & Söhne archives, but I dont know whether this watch was actively used in the war. Vintage Lange & Söhne B-Uhren like these were normally provided to pilots during briefing and, after the mission was completed, the watch was returned. So this watch wasn’t the property of one pilot; rather, it was owned/kept/maintained by the Luftwaffe.
It is 55mm across for legibility reasons and the watch was worn over the pilots jacket. There were two kinds of dials: the one in my pictures (referred to as type B) and another (type A) that looks like a “traditional” dial. The type B dial was introduced to replace the type A for legibility reasons.
The caseback says “Pforzheim” as the “Hersteller” (manufacturer) and “Lange & Söhne” as the “Bauart” (type). It is a Lange movement (I think it is cal. 48.1) which Lange shipped to Pforzheim to assemble and regulate because demand for watches was higher than Lange could produce themselves.
Blogs February 11, 2014
My view of the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon
11 February 2014
All of us here at the Lange Forum know that Lange Uhren is a very special manufacture, and every year, does not fail to impress with the ultra large watch at the entrance of their SIHH booth, but more importantly with the marvellous watches they unveil.
This year is no different. I have discussed their Terra Luna in a bit of detail in this earlier article, but now turn my attention to what must be the darling of all and sundry at the fair…their 1815 Tourbillon.
Almost everyone I turn to to ask what was the most interesting piece in the Lange SIHH 2014 collection picked the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon as their choice. No wonder, this watch is a curious blend of beauty and brawns. The aesthetic simplicity and beauty of the 1815 case and dial with the elegant hands, coupled with the tour de force engineering required not only for the construction of a tourbillon, but to stop and reset the seconds hand mounted coaxially to the tourbillon cage. A World Premiere.
The classical looks of the 1815 dial, with Arabic numerals, railroad minute track, and beutiful javelin styled hands. Looking very similar to the now iconic TOURBILLON Pour le Merite of 1994, the new watch is similar in size…both 39.5mm in diameter.
The big visual difference between the 1815 Tourbillon and the Tourbillon Pour le Merite is that the older, now iconic and classic watch has a seconds hand at 8 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock.. The newer watch sports a cleaner and, perhaps more moden look. Also, the opening on the dial to show the magnificent tourbillon is now a clean, simpler, circular opening as opposed to a complicated shaped opening in the original Pour le Merite. Inside, the mechanism is a different story. The original Pour le Merite is equipped with a fusee and chain mechanism. The new 1815 Tourbillon, caliber L102.1 is simpler in construction, but includes the world premiere stop seconds with zero reset mechanism.
The tourbillon started life as a device to improve accuracy by allowing the balance to move through all positions thereby equalizing the effects of gravity. However, the enigma is that until 2008, when Lange introduced the Cabaret Tourbillon, a watch equipped with a tourbillon escapement cannot be hacked to set the time precisely. This is because, typically the tourbillon cage is a fairly large system within the wheel train, and there is a risk that on stopping, the train might not have sufficient power to restart. There is also the worry that the starting up process after hacking, the escapement will be catchcing up to normal beat rate, hence compromising the accuracy of the watch.
But in 2008, Lange showed that this can be done with little sacrifice to accuracy. Since then, all Lange tourbillons introduced after had the stop seconds mechanism installed. So it is only natural that it was up to Lange again to show the next step forward for tourbillons by allowing the seconds hand, mounted coaxially with the tourbillon pinon to instantly reset to zero when the crown is pulled and the tourbillon stopped. This zero reset mechanism was debuted by Lange in 1997 with the Langematic Sax-0-mat.
A video on the link posted by Uncle Edwin earlier shows how this is achieved.
The movement is finished to the usual Lange standards…which means to a very high level.
The movement is hand wound, with a power reserve of 72 hours, and cased in either a rose gold or platinum (limited edition of 100 pieces) case 39.5mm diameter and 11.1mm height. The movement beats at 21,600 bph.
A magnificent piece from A. Lange & Söhne. How would you compare the new 1815 Tourbillon to the now highly sought after Tourbillon Pour le Merite?Read more
Blogs February 7, 2014
My take on the A. Lange & Söhne Terra Luna
7 February 2014
In the buzz around the halls of the Palexpo where the SIHH is held, there are many who found the 1815 Tourbillon to be a candidate for Most Interesting. The watch is approachable in the simple 3 hand design. It also features the world premier of a zero reset of the seconds hand mounted on the axe of the stop second tourbillon, so that alone is grounds to be a candidate for the most impressive list. But I found the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terra Luna” to be more interesting.
The Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terra Luna” houses a totally new movement with perpetual calendar, the L096.1 is a 14 day power reserve and remontoir escapement, with a unique and beautiful way to present the progress of the moon across the firmament.
As is typical of the Lange brand DNA, the movement is beautifully laid out, and nicely finished. The watch is very teutonic in feel, being rather large at 45.5mm diameter and 16.5mm thick.
The time display on the main dial is regulator style, with the perpetual calendar indications in window cutouts. The trademark outsized date takes center stage.
An arc cutout reveals the power reserve indication in days
Pictured above, the bridge carrying the remontoir mechanism first seen on the Lange 31.
The moonphase display is also totally interesting. The setting is a large disc with an artistic representation of the sky with gold stars set on a stunning blue disc, revolving around the earth. And the moon, also revolving around the earth shows the phases of the moon in its orbit.Read more
LIVE Photos of A. Lange & Söhne at SIHH 2014 by PAUL BOUTROS
Below are some photos I was able to take during my short, 30-minute SIHH appointment this week. The demand for the watches was very strong, and in some cases, I had literally less than one minute to take the photos, so please forgive the dust, fingerprints, etc.
Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna”
Lange’s major – and spectacular – introduction for 2014, the Terraluna’s regulator dial features a perpetual calendar with large date complication and power reserve indicator aperture at 6 o’clock. Turn the watch around and a stunning orbital moon phase display can be found. The moon phase is set within a rotating celestial disc made of gold, illustrated with a map of the stars of the northern hemisphere that indicates day and night along with the position of the sun and moon.
The caliber L096.1 features a 14-day power reserve with remointoir (constant-force) controlled escapement. In rose or white gold, the case measures 45.5 mm in diameter with a thickness of 16.5 mm.
Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase
Pre-announced in late 2013, the new Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase features a prominent, and highly accurate, moon phase disk measuring 14.3 mm within the main-timekeeping sub-dial. Available in platinum or 18 karat rose or yellow gold, the case measures 41 mm in diameter with a thickness of 9.5 mm.
In yellow gold…
In rose gold…
The new 1815 Tourbillon incorporates Lange’s patented zero-reset mechanism and a stop-seconds function, both immediately engaging once the crown is pulled out. The in-house caliber L102.1 provides 72 hours of power reserve using 262 parts. In 18 karat pink gold, or a limited edition of 100 in platinum, the case measures 39.5 mm in diameter with a thickness of 11.1 mm.
1815 with 38.5 mm Case
Slightly downsized from the 40 mm version of the 1815, this 38.5 mm variant houses the manual-winding Lange caliber L051.1 that provides 55 hours of power reserve. Available in 18 karat pink, yellow, or white gold, the case has a thickness of just 8.8 mm.
A new version of the Saxonia for ladies, it’s available with a white or brown mother-of-pearl dial housed within an 18 karat white gold case with a bezel set with 60 diamonds.
My thanks to Lange’s Alexandra Haxton for her great help in allowing me to take these photos of A. Lange & Söhne at SIHH 2014.
Blogs January 20, 2014
Introducing the A. Lange & Söhne SIHH 2014 Novelties
Here it is: the presentation of the novelties introduced at the SIHH fair 2014 by A. Lange & Söhne.
The (completely) new models are:
– 1815 Ø 38,5 mm
– 1815 Tourbillion StopSeconds ZeroReset
– Grand Lange-1 Moon Phase
– Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna”
– Saxonia MOP
And two new versions of existing watches are introduced today as well:
– Zeitwerk Striking Time in RG (PT and WG models introduced in 2011, the PT model as a LE of 200 pcs)
– Lange-1 Tourbillion Perpetual Calendar in RG (PT model was introduced in 2012 as a LE of 100 pcs)
A few remarks in advance:
– The prices in Euro listed below are for the German market only. Prices for the other markets in Europe may differ slightly but will be roughly in the neighborhood.
– The new Ø 38,5 mm diameter 1815 will not replace but co-exist with to the already available Ø 40,0 mm 1815 model.
– The Grand Lange-1 Moon Phase will not replace the old Lange-1 Moon Phase but both watches will be available simultaneously.
– The Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “”Terraluna”” is available with an English day and month display only.
– The Lange-1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is available with either German or English calendar displays.
– The F appended to some of the reference numbers in the price list indicate that the watch will be delivered with a folding clasp.
RICHARD LANGE PERPETUAL CALENDAR “Terraluna”
Regulator with orbital moon-phase display and 14-day movement
The RICHARD LANGE PERPETUAL CALENDAR “Terraluna” is a horological masterpiece that combines A. Lange & Söhne’s benchmark precision, inventiveness, and design competence. Featuring an orbital moon-phase display, a perpetual calendar with the Lange outsize date, a power-reserve of 14 days, and a constant-force escapement, this extraordinary time-keeping instrument represents the pinnacle of Saxon watchmaking artistry.
The RICHARD LANGE PERPETUAL CALENDAR “Terraluna” is equally impressive on both sides. On the dial side of the 45.5-millimetre pink- or white-gold case, the watch stands out with the regulator layout of scientific precision watches. The movement side presents an innovative and useful orbital moon-phase display that depicts the constellation of the earth, moon, and sun.
Three circles for time
The large minute circle is at the top of the dial of the RICHARD LANGE PERPETUAL CALENDAR “Terraluna”. The smaller dials for the hours and seconds are beneath it, shifted toward the right and left. As was already the case with the RICHARD LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite” presented in 2011, this dial design was inspired by a great historic role model: Johann Heinrich Seyffert’s 1807 regulator from the world-famous timepiece collection of the Mathematics and Physics Salon. With his ingenious designs, Seyffert helped transform Dresden into a hub of precision horology in the early 19th century. A great advantage in precision pocket watches, the regulator format was appreciated not only by time-keeping services and observatories, but also by watchmaking manufactories where it was used for synchronising new timepieces. This is because it provided an accurate display of the minutes and seconds.
Four windows for eternity
Beneath the characteristic Lange outsize date the first one in a model of the RICHARD LANGE watch family, incidentally two smaller apertures show the day of the week on the left and the month on the right. Thanks to this arrangement, the calendar displays can be easily read at a glance. The calendar is mechanically programmed to correctly display the different durations of the months in a year as well as those in leap years until 2100. The leap-year indication is located in a small round window on the right-hand side of the 15 of the minute circle. All displays of the calendar switch forward instantaneously to assure unambiguous readings at all times. To keep the power for the switching process as low as possible, the required energy is gradually built up via a cam and then released abruptly at midnight.
The moon on its orbit
An exciting technical innovation can be seen on the movement side: there, the patent-pending orbital moon-phase display shows the location of the moon relative to the earth and the sun for the first time ever in a wristwatch. The display consists of three discs. On the star-studded celestial disc, the moon visible through a round aperture orbits around the earth anti-clockwise once a month. The mechanism reproduces the synodic month of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3 seconds so precisely that it takes 1058 years before the display needs to be corrected by one day. Beneath it, the lunar disc rotates, featuring two round new moons. The progression of the moon phases can be observed through the aperture in the celestial disc. In the constellation view, the position of the sun is occupied by the balance. On new-moon days, the dark moon stands between the earth and the sun. It appears as a bright sphere on the opposite side of the earth on full-moon days. Thus, the position and phase of the moon are indicated simultaneously. In the centre of the display, the earth rotates about its own axis once a day. It is daytime on the half that faces the sun, or the balance, and night-time on the other. The peripheral 24-hour scale provides a time-of-day reference for the northern hemisphere.
Lange manufacture calibre L096.1. The orbital moon-phase display on the movement side depicts the constellation of the earth, moon, and sun.
The ambitious precision goals of Lange’s product developers come to the fore not only in the configuration of the moon-phase display mechanism, which consists of three solid white-gold discs, but also in its design. To achieve a vivid and aesthetically sophisticated image of the orbiting moon-phase display, they chose a special coating process. On the celestial disc, for example, interference effects absorb all of the non-blue colour spectra of the incident light. The result is a deep-blue surface studded with more than a thousand high-contrast, sharply contoured stars.
Constant force for two weeks
With two rugged mainsprings, the twin barrel delivers a power reserve of 14 days. When a spring barrel stores so much energy, special technical precautions must be taken to keep the rate of the watch stable during the entire power-reserve period. The torque of the fully wound spring would be too high to be delivered directly to the going train. And as its torque declines when it approaches the unwound state, the accuracy of the watch would deteriorate. An elaborate constant-force escapement compensates for both phenomena. In ten-second intervals, it releases an identical portion of the available energy to the balance, thus assuring that the torque remains constant. The result is an unvarying amplitude and high rate accuracy from the first day to the last. At the 6-o’clock position, a power-reserve indicator in the form of a circumferential ring tells the owner when the time has come to replenish the movement with fresh energy via the winding crown.
The pursuit of supreme precision
Since 2003, Lange has been part of the small community of watch manufactories that master the technology needed to produce balance springs. Only thus can the utmost precision be assured. For this reason, in addition to the balance spring, the remontoir spring of the constant-force escapement is also made in-house for the new L096.1 manufacture calibre of the RICHARD LANGE PERPETUAL CALENDAR “Terraluna”. The indexless oscillator beats with a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour. Further Lange-style quality hallmarks include the hand-engraved balance cock and a lavishly hand-decorated movement. They are impressive manifestations of the manufactory’s quest for precision down to the very smallest detail.
The moon orbits the earth in the anti-clockwise direction. Left to right: new moon, waxing moon, full moon, waning moon.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph UP/DOWN
My name is Jacques-Olivier, I’m new to this forum, and I thought I might share a some photos of the new A. Lange & Söhne Datograph UP/DOWN I took a few months back, hope you’ll enjoy it.
“AIGUILLE D’OR” GRAND PRIX
Constant Escapement L.M.
Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement L.M.
GRANDE COMPLICATION PRIZE
A. Lange & Söhne
1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar
LADIES’ COMPLICATIONS WATCH PRIZE
Van Cleef & Arpels
Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée
MEN’S WATCH PRIZE
MEN’S COMPLICATIONS WATCH PRIZE
Romain Gauthier Logical One
Deep Space Tourbillon
Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon
SPORTS WATCH PRIZE
El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th
“PETITE AIGUILLE” PRIZE
Jumping Second Pilot
Habring2 Jumping Second Pilot
HOROLOGICAL REVELATION PRIZE
Ressence Type 3
Heritage Black Bay
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Grandmaster Philippe Dufour
A. Lange & Söhne
1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar
A. Lange & Söhne Akademie in Napa
11 September 2013
Every year, a group of collectors and press are invited to participate in the Lange Akademie in Napa, California. My wife and I joined the group this past week, where we were treated to wine and food the equal of Lange & Sohne. As part of the visit, we also had an extensive presentation on the history of the brand, had the opportunity to try our hand at some engraving and servicing techniques, and of course handled many of the brand’s current collection of spectacular watches.
The weather was late summer warm, and off we go….
The lobby of the Meadowood resort was fittingly adorned with Lange catalogs, and some fine watchmaking books
The first night we had dinner at the Napa Valley Reserve, a club whose superb wines are available only to its members.
The setting was stunning, which pretty well describes every moment of the weekend…
Our viticulture education for the weekend was the ever passionate Master Sommelier Gilles de Chambure, who for three days and nights drew easy parallels with Lange watchmaking.
It can take 15 years to yield a suitable crop from a planted field. Patience, passion, perhaps even compulsion.
Here is Gilles speaking about the qualities of French Oak
After the cellars, we had the chance to tour the grounds
And sample some fine champagne
And of course, excellent food
Over the weekend, we visited three estate wineries, which are extremely rare these days. Estate wineries manage the entire winemaking process–planting to bottling–on their own property. They don’t source grapes, crush them elsewhere, or enlist a bottling service. It’s the winemaking version of entirely in-house.
Gilles gave us a history of the Napa Valley which believe it or not produces only 4% of the wine produced in California.
**The state of California produces 80% of the wine produced in the US.
Many a household name owns a vineyard in the Napa Valley.
From Mondavi to Coppola, from the Gambles (of Proctor & Gamble) to the Swansons (of Swanson Foods).
First stop on our tour, Gargiulo Vineyards…
With the annual grape crush approaching, crews everywhere worked to cultivate and separate the best of the crop…
The view was breathtaking
Before the wine tasting, we had fresh grape juice from Chardonnay grapes…
Kick up your feet and sit all day
Vineyard owner Jeff Gargiulo played some blues, with superb accompaniment from our own Dave Vargo and Chris Hislop from Lange.
Jeff has an extensive collection of vintage guitars, and as it happens, he was playing with country music star Tim McGraw the following night.
The wine was outstanding, and of course many of us went home with some.
Imagine waking to this each morning…
Our next stop on the vineyard tour was the Martin Estate, which sits on 12 acres behind an unmarked gate, which itself was the catalyst in their initiation to winemaking.
After their home was completed, the Martins put up a gate that was apparently too high for county regulations on residential properties. So rather than install a shorter gate, they went commercial and became winemakers.
We were toured the beautiful property, with our sommelier Gilles and Greg Martin leading the way…
…as we ate grapes
and circled back their home.
Which can only be described as a living museum
Where the Martins have assembled precious antiques as many as 500 years old.
Swords from the War of 1812
Greg, Petra and their daughter Greta Martin hosted an al fresco lunch for our group. And once again, we were absolutely shocked by the caliber of the food and wine.
Here is Greg with Gilles de Chambure…
As if that wasn’t enough, the Martins then pulled out the stops with a sampling of their Martin Estate Gold, a dessert wine in the vein of a French Sauternes. This was only the third time they had ever produced the wine, which had a natural–rather than syrupy–sweetness, and an earthy quality of a vintage French champagne.
Our final stop was the Viader Winery, owned by Delia Viader, and her three (now adult) children. Delia has more university degrees than most tenured professors, and was the first in the Napa Valley to plant their 100% organic vines up the hillside to track the sun’s path.
Apparently, she was onto something, because Delia–known as the “Queen of Cabernet Franc” placed their proprietary blend in the top-100 wines in the world, according to the Wine Spectator.
Wine and Watches…a natural pairing
Which brings us to Lange.
As many of you know, Lange was founded in 1845, but after World War II, there was a 45-year gap in its existence. From 1945-1990, the watchmaking companies of Glassutte became part of a state-owned company that produced pieces that are nowhere near the caliber of Lange watchmaking today.
For more on the history and evolution of A. Lange & Sohne, you may want to re-visit my report of my Lange factory visit from June.
Tools of the trade…
During our visit in Napa, we had the chance to handle many of the watches from Lange, and frankly there’s not much to say. They’re flat-out phenomenal…
Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite
Grande Lange 1 Lumen, a 100-piece Limited Edition announced this year
And a Lange 1 reversal of sorts, in the Daymatic. A Lange 1 dial reversed, with day indicator, 1mm larger case, and an automatic movement.
Zeitwerk Striking Time.
The 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar
The new 1815 Up/Down
The 1815 Chronograph
Lange 1 in Platinum
Lange 1 Timezone in white gold
Saxonia Annual Calendar…my wife is dreaming of this one!
Some very special pieces amongst our group…
The new Lange Perpetual Tourbillon
One from the 25-piece edition of the Datograph in yellow gold
And the now discontinued Datograph on the ultra rare platinum bracelet
Grande Lange 1 Luminous
Zeitwerk Striking Time
I want to thank Master Sommelier Gilles de Chambure for infusing his love for wine as a perfect parallel to our love for watches. As someone in our group said, “Gilles is so passionate he would have prohibitionists drinking wine in no time.”
Thank you to all of the wineries who opened their doors to our group. And to our group itself. We all became fast friends, and this was of course enhanced by the graciousness of our hosts…Lange & Sohne.
To Kate, Chris, Gaetan, Alex, Joanna, Simona and all of the people at this wonderfully friendly brand…THANK YOU!
It was truly a memorable weekend of fine watches and fine wine.
From Napa, hope you enjoyed that!Read more
Just before a stately dinner with a good friend:
At a dinner of langoustine seared on one side, roasted hemp seed, curry cream, pumpkin and pure runner bean juice:
Another dinner of langoustine tartare, yogurt pearls, fish stock and lime:
While browsing through old pictures I came across this:
Significant chronographs: Lange 1815 Chronograph
24 May 2013
This post is dedicated to my good friend Eddie Sng, whose watch is featured here today.
The 1815 Chronograph was introduced as perhaps a purer version of the iconic Lange Datograph. Simpler without the trademark outsized date, but as I said, purer because traditional chronographs typically do not feature a date display, except in complications with perpetual calendars.
The dial is pure, simple, and well…perfect.
And the movement side, exactly the same as in the Datograph…as the date mechanism for the Datograph is just below the dial, the view from the rear crystal of the 1815 Chronograph is exactly the same…showing the magnificent chronograph works.
2012 TimeZone Watch of the Year
A. Lange & Söhne LANGE 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar
Finalists for the award represent a selection of the best timepieces of the year as chosen through a two-step voting process by TimeZone moderators. The winner is chosen exclusively by the TimeZone community, the world’s largest community of wristwatch enthusiasts. Voting commenced on February 22, 2013 and concluded at noon noon GMT on March 8, 2013.
The A. Lange & Söhne LANGE 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar received 38% of the community votes, with the second place watch receiving 23% of the votes (the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre Sphérotourbillon). To see how the community voted, please visit the 2012 TimeZone Watch of the Year Forum.
Congratulations to A. Lange & Söhne!
The LANGE 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar reinterprets the perpetual calendar and, for the first time, the Lange tourbillon is not seen on the dial side. Instead, the off-centre dial displays the perpetual calendar through five distinct displays: a newly patented peripheral month ring, a large date, a retrograde day indicator, a moon phase display and a leap year window. Turning the watch over reveals the lavishly decorated movement. This is the first Lange movement with an eccentric weight balance and the month wheel with 48-teeth is now replaced with a sophisticated month ring system that rotates on its own axis once per year.
ALS Calibre L082.1, automatic, 21,600 vib/h, 50-hour power reserve
Off-centre main dial. Tourbillon with patented stop seconds. Perpetual calendar with outsize date, retrograde day of week, month ring, leap-year display. Moon-phase display. Day/night indicator.
Platinum, 41.9 mm.
Solid silver rhodium
I had the opportunity to take shots of Lange’s new introductions for the year during SIHH.
Please forgive the dust, fingerprints, etc…
1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar
I was lucky to catch a sneak peak of this watch the night before the official launch – I spotted it on the wrist of Lange’s CEO, Wilhelm Schmid, during a cocktail event with the CEOs of SIHH’s participating brands. It looked absolutely stunning on his wrist, and was among my favorite new introductions of the year.
Housing the Lange caliber L101.1 with 631 parts, it’s available in an 18 karat pink gold or platinum case measuring 41.9 mm in diameter with a thickness of 14.7 mm.
Note the recessed step at the bottom of the bezel..
New for 2013, the 1815 Up/Down’s case measures 39 mm, with a thickness of 8.7 mm. Inside is the Lange caliber L051.2 with an impressive 72 hours of power reserve.
Similar to the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, the pronounced, recessed step on the outer, lower edge of the bezel can be seen in the shot below…
Pink gold, yellow gold, and white gold…
Grand Lange 1 “Lumen”
Pre-released late last year, this is a limited edition of 200 pieces with a semi-transparent sapphire crystal and luminous outsize date…
Grand Lange 1 in White Gold
A new version of last year’s Grand Lange 1, now in white gold with blackened silver dial, and luminous hands and markers.
Saxonia Annual Calendar
Lange’s annual calendar introduced last year, now available with a platinum case…
Saxonia Automatic with diamond-set bezel
Available in 18 karat pink or white gold, with bezels set with 76 round brilliant-cut diamonds. The case measures 38.5 mm, with a height of 8.3 mm. Inside is the Lange self-winding caliber L086.1.
Blogs December 23, 2012
This edible joint you can order at a 3 star Michelin restaurant in the Netherlands – I am NOT kidding! Ingredients are chocolat, lemon, mint and hempseed oil.
Blogs December 9, 2012
Viva México: the 2012 SIAR Watch Fair
7 October 2012
Earlier this week, I went to the SIAR (Salon Internacional Alta Relojeria) in Mexico City. This was the 6th Edition of the watch fair, and included the most exhibitors yet…44 brands!
Most of the brands had scheduled presentations throughout the show, and I was asked to moderate the presentation from Audemars Piguet. Company board member (and founding family descendant) Olivier Audemars came from Switzerland along with Chief Artistic Director (a/k/a head of AP’s watch and branding design) Octavio Garcia. Rather than give a talk, they preferred a more relaxed and informal open interview, as it were, so I was asked to facilitate this. More on the presentation can be found on the AP forum HERE
First off, let me just say that anyone who can attend the SIAR Watch Fair really ought to go. The intimate Salon is held on two floors of the Four Seasons Hotel in Mexico City. Stay there, enjoy the overwhelming hospitality of the staff, and some of the world’s finest watch browsing is literally an elevator ride from your room.
The brand executives at the opening of the Salon
I made a point of visiting every manufacturer several times, and they were universally jubilant about the SIAR, with one brand exec going so far as to say it is one of his favorite watch fairs in the world. Why? “Because every request in terms of our setup is accommodated. And because the public is so knowledgeable and engaged.”
*And it should be noted that all entrance fees for the fair are donated to the Red Cross.
Some brands shared suites, others created a virtual brand boutique on their own. Two entire floors of the hotel were transformed into one very intimate setting. Want to speak with Richard Mille? Right through that door. Mssr. DeWitt himself? Why not? Olivier Audemars? He’s here too. The worldwide head of Marketing for Jaeger-LeCoultre? For Vacheron Constantin? For MB&F? Yes, yes, and yes…all were in attendance. And all primed for a conversation.
And with the extraordinary history and culture of Mexico City surrounding you, a full week’s visit is a must!
The press came from all over Latin America, and were nothing short of voracious in their approach to the many interviews conducted throughout the week. Numerous interviews a day with the various brands, and you couldn’t tell the writer from the WIS, because whether from Vogue, Esquire or a watch-specific magazine, they were first and foremost passionate about watches.
I had the wonderful opportunity to dine with quite a few of the press, and none appeared to be there for a job. Sure, they were working. All day, every day. But what came through most is that they were simply head over heels for watches.
In fact, after dinner I watched as six journalists had their 40th Anniversary Royal Oak books autographed by AP’s lead designer Octavio Garcia, who sketched a Royal Oak in each of their books. Octavio’s parents hailed from Mexico, so he was welcomed at the fair as a star returning home.
Throughout the week, the SIAR Watch Fair showed why it is such a powerful fair, and why Latin America has become so important to the many brands in attendance. First and foremost, watches sell BIG in Latin America. And big watches–and we’re talking perpetuals and Grande Complications–sell BIG in Latin America. From Mexico to Argentina, and all countries in between, watches are extremely popular.
Second–and this is why you ought to think about attending next year–the SIAR shined specifically because of what was missing from the week. It took me a couple of days to figure out what it was.
There was absolutely no sign of “been there, done that” jadedness that is an almost guaranteed foe if you’re in this hobby long enough. At some point, something is bound to trip you up. A brand is too fashion-y, you hit a blip in service, fancy events and ambassadors leave you wary of the value of the watches, too few independent brands, they’re only in it for the money, watches are too big and gaudy, and so on.
These truths aren’t universal. Hell, they aren’t even truths. But they live like truths for us. Potentially insurmountable walls, when suddenly the purity of our endeavor is gone, watches are no longer the person we married, and we fight cynicism with everything we’ve got. We change brands, we buy a new watch, we take a break…whatever we can muster to try and regain the love for the tic-toc we so deeply fell in love with years earlier. Just what can we do when we become resigned with all of this?
2013, you go to Mexico. That’s what you do. Because if you want to be fully immersed in everything you fell in love with over watches, the SIAR Salon is for you.
The Courtyard (image by Four Seasons, Mexico D.F.)
Collectors and watch enthusiasts came from all over Latin America to enjoy this intimate experience. They were curious, almost anxiously so. They couldn’t get enough of the watches and the conversation about them.
More good news for the future: if you’re one who fears the cell phone will kill any chance of the next generation wearing watches, the SIAR is for you. Many children came to the Fair, sporting a vintage Tag or Omega, or standing eye-level with the watchmaker’s bench as they were shown the inner workings of a Minute Repeater
…or a loupe view of a skeleton.
There were young company execs looking for the next tourbillon, others attending a Master watchmaking class from Jaeger-LeCoultre, and many of them women.
If anything was clear this past week, it was that service and family come first in Mexico. And that was the prevailing feeling at the SIAR. You weren’t coming to a watch fair. You were attending a family reunion, and the theme was watches.
So, let’s get to them.
Despite having taken well over 1000 watch images of every brand present, some of the suites were just too problematic for pictures. So I’ve spared the glare, and dumped those too harsh to post.
That said, here you are…
AP’s suite re-created the theme of its 40th Anniversary Royal Oak Exhibition, which makes the final stop of its world tour this week in Singapore.
And an original Royal Oak from the AP Museum
A. Lange & Sohne
Hop in the sponsor’s car…
Or maybe just take the elevator downstairs for some fresh tacos…
Will you look what time it is?!
Back to it…
One of my favorites from the show. A new ladies, cushion watch from Zenith. Diamonds so elegantly tucked into the corners of the case only.
I visited with Mike Margolis for quite a while. Thanks for opening the cases, Mike. It’s trouble trying to shoot all of these pieces from outside the glass.
Beautifully adorning Mr. Margolis’s wrist…
And so it is written…
Mexico and the 2013 Salon Internacional Alta Relojeria…VAMOS!!!
Congratulations to AP on their award for the 40th Anniversary Royal Oak.
And thank you for including me this week at the amazing SIAR Watch Fair.
Hope you all enjoyed the Fair!Read more
Last night was closing night of the Inside Basel Geneva 2012 tour. The event was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel and included over 40 brand exhibitors and watchmakers. Some photos of this year’s novelties, exhibitors and attendees:
During the cocktail reception, Jeff Kingston shared a wrist shot of his new Breguet perpetual calendar
The brand “Antoine Martin” is master watchmaker Martin Braun’s second act. We’ll follow-up with more details from our dinner with Martin, later.
We’ll follow-up with more details from our dinner with master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, later.
Piaget presents the world’s thinnest watch and the world’s coolest 3D watch display
I haven’t seen Ed (edgy) this excited over a watch in years. And I’m glad he pulled me over to see the drop-dead gorgeous Ivresse with its elegant curved case, and utterly stunning curved movement!
Maîtres du Temps
We’ll follow-up with more details of these masterpieces, later.
The new RM 037 with in-house calibre CRMA1 and other novelties, like the RM 029, RM 039, and the new aviators
The lively Ron Stoll, President of Carl Bucherer NA. We’ll follow-up with more from Carl Bucherer, soon.
A watchmaker flew in from Dallas and was on hand assembling and disassembling some of the Panerai in-house movements.
In-house P.2004 (column-wheel chronograph with three barrels) and P.2002 (horizontal 8-day PR indicator and three barrels)
A mini-Risti GTG with the watchmaker’s PAM 111 and La Jolla PAM 465
A. Lange & Söhne
The new Datograph Auf/Aub and Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar
La Tradition GMT 7067
Heritage Phase de Lune Retrograde 8660
A piece unique baguette Hora Mundi
The second part of the event was an opening greeting by Watchtime’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Thompson, followed by an informative and engaging presentation by Jeff Kingston:
Jeff explains that the new Breguet 10Hz will not have the red dial lettering in production
Some of the TZers at our table – Ed, Kevin, Key & Mike
Thanks to Joe Thompson & Jeff Kingston for hosting a lovely evening. See you again, soon!Read more
Some favorite chronographs:
Patek 5070G, Patek 5960P, FPJ Centrigraphe, Lange Datograph, Patek 5070J