The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst sticks to the established Handwerkskunst formula: an engraved dial as well as special decoration on the movement. But it has an additional decorative touch used for the first time on a Lange, all the numerals of the oversized date are hand-painted. While the original Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar is a serious looking timepiece with the brand’s characteristic Teutonic style, the Handwerkskunst version is ornate and expensive looking.
Handwerkskunst, which translates as “craftsmanship”, is the name of the line of boutique-exclusive timepieces with hand decorated dials and movement parts. The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst is the third in the series, following the Zeitwerk Handwerkskunst of last year.
Made from a disc of white gold, the dial is hand-engraved with tremblage (for the granular background) and curlicues in relief.
Mechanically, the movement is identical to the regular edition of the watch, but the Handwerkskunst has a different decoration.
Here the cocks for the tourbillon and intermediate wheel are engraved in the same style as the dial, likewise for the gold portion of the rotor. And instead of striping, the German silver bridges are decorated with solarisation, a fine radial finish.
While the movement is impressively decorated, it suffers from the same shortcoming as all the other Lange 1 tourbillon models. The tourbillon is partially obscured due to the movement design, with the cage barely visible.
And the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst has one more detail that sets it apart, the hand-painted numerals of the date display.
In a deep blue to match the colour of the moon phase, the date display is identical in size and font to the regular Lange big date. But up close the numerals are evidently hand-painted, with shading and slightly uneven edges.
Charming as the hand-painted numbers are, it seems like Lange is trying too hard, attempting to squeeze as much handwerks into the kunst as possible. But that is a minor criticism of the beautifully finished and executed timepiece.
Limited to 15 pieces, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst is available only at Lange boutiques, at a retail price of €300,000 (~US$405,400), making it a tenth more expensive than the regular platinum version. – SJX
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Though it was the new Datograph Up and Down that got most of the attention at SIHH 2012, Lange's flagship complication for the year was actually the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar in platinum.