The new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is my favorite watch of the digital data dump known as Watches and Wonders. Although the new midnight blue NOMOS Tangente Neomatik 41 Update shows the world how to integrate a date wheel into a minimalist meisterwerk, the Lange 1 PC answers that same call with operatic bravado. And then some . . .
“Appreciate the subtle differences,” Lange’s ad copy for the new Perpetual Calendar urges. Roger that. Lange’s attention to detail makes you wonder why they haven’t replaced flailing Audemars Piguet as an exalted member of The Holy Trinity. Something about Lange being German? Our Italian friend Franz Rivoira will address that question. Meanwhile . . .
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar perpetuates Lange’s rep for Patek-like perfection. Unlike the horological farrago that is the new blue dial rose gold Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph, the PC organizes its data with legible legerdemain.
The time couldn’t be clearer. Clock the big date? Big time! The retrograde day of week, day/night moon-phase and small seconds are all as easy to read as a first time poker player. And then there’s the PC’s patented party piece: a month wheel circumnavigating the dial.
It’s an obvious (well now it is), elegant and effective solution. OK, yes, placing the current month at the bottom of the dial is a bit jarring, if understandable. The German watchmaker wasn’t about to mess with the curved branding at the top of the dial; replacing the “&” with an arrow at the top of the dial would’ve been too cute by half (as the Brits are wont to say).
Distracted by a whiny bull terrier, I’d assumed that the “4” in the bottom window also indicated the month. A [small] godsend for wealthy buyers who would otherwise use their fingers to figure out a month’s numerical designation when filling our forms.
As May is the fifth month, someone in the Fatherland must’ve set the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar incorrectly – and no one in the company or it’s PR minion’s domain caught it! At the risk of pandering to national stereotypes, NEIN!
TTAW Commentator Ian and our man Klosoff proposed an alternate theory: the “4” indicates the watch’s progress through the four-year leap year cycle. The complication gives owners a heads up when the year ahead requires a leap day correction.
A momentous moment in any Lange 1 PC owner’s life. Traumatic? That too. Couldn’t Lange simply send their customers a text alert? Or they could pick-up the piece, adjust the watch (for an unreasonable fee) and return it – ready for another four years on the watch winder.
Hang on, how do you set it in the first place? Never mind. No matter what it charts or how it operates, I’m no fan of Lange’s 4-play. I reckon the complication rivals a tourbillon for its dopey “I swear I’m doing something important” shtick. Flip the script and all is forgiven . . .
The self-winding movement L021.3 is A. Lange & Söhne’s 67th manufacture calibre. It is based on the calibre L021.1 of the LANGE 1 DAYMATIC and was endowed with a newly developed winding mechanism.
Its technical features include a unidirectionally winding rotor in 21-carat gold with an additional centrifugal mass in platinum, a power reserve of 50 hours, and a cam-poised balance that runs with a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour.
I don’t have the deets on the movement’s accuracy or water resistance. I bet it’s very and not much. While water might not have a significant barrier to entry, all but the very rich have a significant barrier to ownership.
The white gold, pink-gold dial Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar above costs $130k. The pink gold, gray dial version is a relative bargain at $117k. If nothing else, those numbers put AL&S on a par with the aforementioned Trinity (Patek Philipps, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin).
But there is something else: tremendous beauty in an easy-to-read, the easily identifiable house style of a world class manufacturer. It’s all a bit much for some. What are the odds the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar’s initial production run’s already sold out? About the same that Lange is a genuine challenger to the Swiss stalwarts. Watch this space.