Based in Dresden, Lang & Heyne relies heavily on the visuals and movement construction of high-end 19th century German pocket watches to inspire its modern day wristwatches. Only just unveiled at Baselworld 2017, the Georg is a rectangular wristwatch with an appropriately four-cornered Calibre VIII that shows off the wheel train and escapement.
Four steel cocks hold the gear train in place, with the balance and barrel each having a similarly shaped bridges that are also in steel. These replace the traditional bridges in conventional movements, revealing most of the mechanics. In fact, this construction renders the base plate almost flat, turning it into a canvas on which the moving parts sit (and it is also reminiscent of work by German watchmaker Christian Klings).
The Calibre VIII is loosely based on the round Calibre VI found in the Friedrich II and III wristwatches. Both movements share the same wheels – which are all solid gold – as well as the barrel and balance, but with the parts rearranged to suit the rectangular base plate. And the gears have taller pinions, since the Calibre VIII is a thicker movement.
But the aesthetic of the Calibre VIII is starkly different and significantly more impressive. Each of the four cocks and the two bridges are made of steel, with rounded and polished arms, polished countersinks for the jewels, with a frosted finish and bevelled edge on the base. And each of the bridges and cocks are secured to the base plate with blued steel screws as well as pins.
According to Marco Lang, the brand’s co-founder, the Calibre VIII is probably most time consuming calibre in production because of the movement decoration.
While the steel cocks and bridges immediately catch the eye, the rest of the movement is treated with an equal degree of care. Everything is carefully and finely decorated, from the barrel ratchet wheel with its snailed surface and bevelled teeth, to the the elongated spring for the swan-neck regulator.
Another noteworthy but less obvious feature is the stop-seconds mechanism. When the crown is pulled, a long steel lever that runs from the crown to the balance wheel triggers a U-shaped steel finger, which pivots to touch the rim of the balance wheel. This stops the balance and seconds hand, allowing for more precise time-setting.
The Calibre VIII is inside a rectangular case, the first Lang & Heyne that isn’t round. It’s a chunky case though manageably proportioned, measuring 32mm wide, 40mm long and relatively thick at 9.4mm high. That makes it comparable to many common rectangular men’s watches; about the same as the Cartier Tank Louis Cartier XL, while the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande Taille is a tad smaller.
The styling of the case, especially the flat bevels that meet the lugs as well as the fluting on the flanks, give it a vague 1930s feel. Similarly shaped German watches from that period are not that uncommon.
Like most Lang & Heyne watches, the Georg is fitted with a fired enamel dial produced by a Swiss dial specialist. Made of two pieces, the dial is characterised by a square minute track and oversized seconds, a strong look despite its simplicity, and a look that suits the case.
Despite being plainly shaped, the hands are impressively detailed and finished. The hands are blued steel, and made in-house by Lang & Heyne, being filed, polished and blued by hand.
Price and availability
The Georg carries a price tag of €26,410 in rose gold, €27,830 in white gold, and €33,490 in platinum, before taxes. It’s available direct from Lang & Heyne, or in Asia, at The Lavish Attic in Hong Kong.
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