The Lange 1 is being thoroughly celebrated this year but recently, we managed to get our hands on the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon from this year’s SIHH. As mentioned previously, this watch is nothing new but what Lange have done is taken, arguably, one of their most recent sought-after complicated wristwatches and added a touch of distinction. When we first saw the Datograph Perpetual Calendar in 2016 it came exclusively in platinum and featured a black dial, however, this 2019 version features a white-gold case and perhaps one of the only colour dials in the world that makes me salivate: salmon.
This masterpiece from Glashütte’s finest pairs three complications in a rather smart package. While the combination of these three complications is technically a brilliant idea, the real art is actually making them interact in a beneficiary manner.
Naturally you’d be mistaken for thinking that these complications would make the dial a pretty cluttered affair, but it is quite the opposite. Lange have used the chronograph subsidiary register to great effect, as these double-up as day and month registers, as well as night and day, and leap year indicators as well. And yet, while this sounds like quite a bit of information to cram into just two registers, it doesn’t look overly cluttered. As mentioned, the dial is salmon-toned, but Lange don’t do things by half; so, what you are actually looking at is a solid pink-gold dial, which nicely contrasts against the 41.5-millimetre white-gold case.
The Datograph is among my favourite timepieces that Lange make (yes it has been downgraded from grail status, owed in part to the black dial 1815 Flyback) which makes use of a column-wheel chronograph complication with a precisely jumping minute counter and a flyback function, with the added Lange outsized date window. However, this new generation of chronograph employs three major technical advances in chronograph design into one: the column-wheel mechanism assures that all chronograph functions are reliably controlled. The jumping minute counter crisply displays the stopped times with the added bonus of the flyback function.
The all-important perpetual function with moon phase display. All indications of the perpetual calendar – including the outsize date as well as the day-of-week, month and leap-year, as mentioned, displays in subsidiary dials and switch instantaneously, thus providing unambiguous reading at all times. A first correction of the mechanism by one day can wait until the first day of March in the secular year 2100. And because of its stunning mechanical precision, the moon- phase display will only deviate from the true lunation by a single day after 122.6 years, which we have highlighted before. Three correctors allow the separate adjustment of the moon-phase display, the day of the week and the combined advance of the month and leap-year indications. The rapid-correction pusher at ten o’clock can be used to conveniently update all displays at the same time.
Then there is the hidden gem that is the tourbillon. Displaying a tourbillon through the dial is common practice nowadays but originally this was a gravity negating component that was hidden and it’s nice to see this isn’t the only piece Lange make where the tourbillon isn’t framed in a beautiful cage dial side. Alternatively, the tourbillon mechanism is exposed by the sapphire-crystal caseback and the open tourbillon bridge, which makes use of a free-sprung balance spring crafted in-house, it assures an excellent rate of accuracy across the entire 50-hour power reserve. Undoubtedly this Lange tourbillon incorporates their patented stop-seconds mechanism, allowing the wearer to set the watch to one second accuracy. This new calibre L952.2 movement consists of 729 parts that, as already mentioned, harmoniously work together.
There’s just no denying that Lange are one of my favourite contemporary watch manufacturers; the over obsessive attention paid to every little detail is something that can be fully enjoyed by its wearer. There’s no doubt the salmon dial speaks for itself but peering through the exhibition case back really allows you to appreciate Lange’s craftmanship. Looking at the movement of a Lange with a chronograph complication is comparable to a mini metal metropolis – it is for lack of a better phrase; pure genius! That said, it would’ve been nicer to see it in a slightly smaller package – in my humble opinion – however, on the wrist its actually doesn’t feel too big. Even though the 14.6mm height of the watch does seem quite high, it is something that wearers will soon get used too. Nonetheless, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with salmon dial is a touch of class from Lange and oozes sophistication from every angle.
The Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is limited to 100 pieces and will cost, when available, €285,000 (approx. £252,500). For more details, visit the Lange website.