A.Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual: So if you read our Lange factory visit we posted a couple of months back, then you’ll know that while we were there we managed to snap a few of our favourite Lange timepieces. While everybody has their favourites among the Lange collection “Langematik” does not roll off the tongue as often as “Datograph,” and admittedly is a piece that I often refer to. And why not, it is an absolute masterpiece of a chronograph. However, Lange is just as masterful at creating perpetual calendars as they are at creating chronographs.
The Langematik Perpetual is the timepiece for collectors and aficionados alike that expect nothing less than perfection from their perpetual calendar timepiece. A piece that is as much about German efficiency and precision as it is about balance and elegance. You see, most watch manufacturers round two moon phases, giving them an easier number to work with but not Lange, oh no. The Langematik uses the moon phase down to a couple of seconds and has a continuously moving moon phase disk, which naturally requires extra gears. So instead of using a jumping disk that is cheaper to make and conveniently covers up the inaccuracies, Lange goes that step further. This desire and ambition to develop and hone the craft of watchmaking is nothing short of stunning.
Speaking to a fellow watch-geek friend of mine, he reminded me of the exact duration of a moon phase. A moon phase is usually 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.9 seconds. Most manufacturers round it down to 29 ½ days and some actually round it to 59 days for two phases, which can then be neatly subdivided into 24 hour intervals but this means you miss 1 hour, 28 minutes, 5.8 seconds. But Lange’s construction, which is driven directly via several gears off the hour wheel, means it’s only out by 1.9 seconds per day, which equals to approximately 57 seconds per moon phase – this is German precision at its finest!
When introduced the Langematik was the world’s first wristwatch with a self-winding movement to incorporate a perpetual calendar with the signature Lange outsized date window at 12 o’clock. The perpetual calendar function is sophisticatedly displayed via three subsidiary dials. At 3 o’clock is the month display with each month fully represented and at 6 o’clock within the same month sub dial is the leap year indicator. On the opposite side at 9 o’clock is the day and day/night display, indicated via two hands.
Down the bottom at 6 o’clock is the moon phase and running seconds subsidiary dial. Once correctly set, the date display only requires correction by one day every hundred years. The moon-phase display is the epitome of precision as mentioned above. It deviates from the true position of the moon by merely one day every 122.6 years, this is assuming the watch runs without interruption but in any case you need to set the Langematik, the calendar displays can be advanced collectively or individually, via recessed pushers on the side of the case between 3 and 4, 8, 9 and 10 o’clock.
The Langematik is a very elegant timepiece and this gentlemanly elegance is continued with the use of applied roman numerals (with the exception of 4, 6 and 8 that feature batons), with outer train track minute scale that at hour intervals has discrete luminous dot markers. The laced hands also sport a matching luminous inlay. The dial is given some contrast with a layered concentric circle effect and circular graining on the sub dials. The case measures a very comfortable 38.5mm and is only 10.5mm thick that features highly polished bezel and lugs, with a brushed case band. This will all be nicely affixed to your wrist by a hand-stitched crocodile strap with matching metal pin buckle.
You’ll notice inside the moon phase sub dial the inscription SAX-O-MAT that’s because at the heart of the Langematik Perpetual is the sophisticated and proven self-winding Sax-o-Mat calibre L922.1 with the patented Zero-Reset mechanism. When the crown is pulled, the seconds hand jumps to the zero position, thus simplifying the synchronisation of the watch. The bidirectional delicately embossed three-quarter winding rotor in 21-carat gold with a platinum centrifugal mass, builds up the maximum power reserve of 46 hours after only a short time on the wrist. Details of the meticulously finished movement, such as Glashütte ribbing, blued screws and circular graining, can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back. It reveals the signature Glashütte three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, the classic screw balance, and the hand-engraved balance cock with the whiplash precision index adjuster.
The Langematik is the quintessence of precision and is in my opinion arguably the finest perpetual calendar timepiece on the market today. Looking closely through the macro lens you really get to see and appreciate the alluring minutiae niceties of the dial, which is just a part of Lange’s DNA that I fully witnessed during my manufacture visit this year, not to mention the attention to detail lavished on the movement. The Langematik is available in platinum, pink gold and more recently a white-gold variant with a black dial that was released this year as an exclusive release for the first Lange boutique opened in Moscow. So while the Datograph is the epitome of Lange’s chronograph mastery, the Langematik counteracts this technical feat in the form of a perpetual calendar.
For more information on the Langematik Perpetual, visit the official A. Lange & Söhne website.