SIHH 2013: A. Lange & Söhne (with live photos)

Lange was one of the most talked about brands at SIHH 2013, because it unveiled the most complicated and expensive watch of the fair. The Lange Grand Complication is a grande sonnerie, rattrapante chronograph with foudroyante seconds, and perpetual calendar. With a 50 mm case and a price tag of over EUR1.9 million, the Grand Complication is an immense watch in all senses.

Though I have no pictures of it, the watch does exist and it does work. It was shown, and I heard it chime nicely, but no one was allowed to touch or photograph the watch. Only six will be made, one a year starting in 2014. And all are apparently sold.

Lange 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar

2013 is the year of the 1815, with several new additions to the line, including, all of which are styled like vintage pocket watches (including the Grand Complication, which is the same size as a pocket watch).

For those who can’t get their hands on the Grand Complication, the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar impressive as well. It is a split-seconds chronograph, along with a perpetual calendar and power reserve display, displayed in the traditional manner with four sub-dials. The pink gold case is 41.9 mm wide and 14.7 mm high.

Though I am not a fan of the traditional four sub-dial layout of the perpetual calendar chronograph – it is boring and what brands like Blancpain, Breguet and Vacheron were doing in the eighties – this is a beautiful watch.

The front is attractive enough, but the movement is amazing. Like all other Lange chronographs the movement has depth and an incredible amount of detail.

The other addition to the 1815 line is the new Up/Down. At 39 mm this is larger than the original 1815 Auf und Ab, though it does not seem that much bigger and still cuts an elegant profile on the wrist.

Available in three colours of gold, the 1815 Up/Down reminds strongly me of the naval deck watches, more so than its predecessor, perhaps due to the red accent on the power reserve subdial.

The L051.2 movement is unusual in that it is the second Lange calibre, after the Saxonia Ultra-Thin, to expose the barrel ratchet and crown wheels which usually hidden under the three-quarter plate.

The rest of the Lange collection for 2013 comprises of variations to existing models. The first is the Saxonia Annual Calendar in platinum; it was previously only available in gold. The new platinum version is by far the most attractive of all.

And the Grand Lange 1 is now available with a black dial. Unlike the original Lange 1 with black dial, which was platinum, this Grand Lange 1 is in white gold. And the black dial is not quite the same black as the original Lange 1, this is more of a dark grey, rather than a pure black.

Finally there is the Grand Lange 1 Lumen, which was previewed before SIHH and examined in-depth on this blog.

See the rest of my SIHH 2013 comprehensive reports. The brand reports listed in italics are still in progress. A. Lange & Söhne Audemars Piguet Cartier Greubel Forsey IWC Jaeger-LeCoultre Montblanc Panerai Parmigiani Piaget Richard Mille Roger Dubuis Vacheron Constantin Van Cleef & Arpels – SJX

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SIHH 2013: Jaeger-LeCoultre (with live photos)

As usual Jaeger-LeCoultre unveiled a diverse array of watches, in varying shapes and complications; many of which are also competitively priced. This is the 180th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre (or more specifically the founding of Antoine LeCoultre’s workshop in Le Sentier) and so there are watches to mark this occasion. These new watches are part of the Master Grande Tradition line and sport a new case design for JLC, with rectangular, stepped lugs.

Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Jubilee

The 1833 Jubilee collection is a trio of platinum watches, the most complicated of which is the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Jubilee, the third instalment in the Gyrotourbillon series, probably JLC’s most successful and highly regarded complicationThis differs from the earlier Gyrotourbillon in several major ways. First the Gyrotourbillon 3 is a flying tourbillon, so it has no bridge across the dial. In addition, it has a spherical (not cylindrical) hairspring. And lastly it has a monopusher chronograph function with a digital minute counter, integrated into the seconds sub-dial at nine o’clock.

The second piece of the Jubilee 1833 trio is the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel Jubilee.

JLC Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel Jubilee

Limited to 180 pieces, this has a perpetual calendar as well as tourbillon with cylindrical hairspring.


The cal. 985 is self-winding and the rotor has a relief of the medal JLC won at the universal exposition of 1889.

The silver-grained dial has a traditional layout and design, but the cylindrical hairspring makes it unusual. Though simple it is an attractive watch.

And the simplest watch of the trio is indeed very simple. The Master Ultra Thin Jubilee is 39 mm, in platinum, and a mere 4.05 mm thick. That makes it the thinnest manual wind wristwatch on the market today.

Inside is the JLC cal. 849, which dates from the seventies, but at 1.85 mm high it is still one of the slimmest calibres around, reflecting JLC’s past specialty in ultra-thin movements.

This is a simple timepiece, but the “1833” on the dial disturbs the simplicity greatly. Only 880 of these will be made.

In a similar vein is the new Master Ultra Thin 41. As the name implies the case is 41 mm wide and 7.4 mm high. Inside is the automatic cal. 896.

Another new model in the Master line, and one that will sell well due to its competitive pricing and classic design, is the new Master Calendar, which harks back to the same model of the nineties.

Now slightly smaller in a 39 mm case, the Master Calendar displays the day, date, month and moon phase in a traditional manner. Available in rose gold or steel, the movement is the automatic cal. 866.

And to sum up the round watches from JLC is the Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet. Previously available in steel, the Deep Sea Chronograph is now available in a case made of a metal and ceramic composite. The advantage of such a composite is that is has properties of both metal and ceramic, like malleability of the former and scratch resistance of the latter.

The cal. 758 automatic chronograph movement features a chronograph function indicator – the circular window on the dial changes colour if the chronograph is started, stopped or reset. Pictured here is the regular version, a Deep Sea Chronograph Vintage Cermet with faux aged Luminova is also available as a boutique exclusive.

Next is the Reverso. Two years ago the Grande Reverso1931 met with great success and JLC has been building on that ever since. This year sees the addition of the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface. This can display two difference time zones on each of the Reverso faces, with the second time zone advanced by the button in the case.

The Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface maintains the vintage 1930s styling of its siblings, as well as the “Reverso” script on the dial, eschewing any JLC branding. Pictured here in steel, it is also available in rose gold.

Several new ladies’ Reversos were also launched, including the new Grande Reverso Lady Ultra Thin in steel and gold. The case is steel with fluted pink gold bands.

See the rest of my SIHH 2013 comprehensive reports. The brand reports listed in italics are still in progress. A. Lange & Söhne Audemars Piguet Cartier Greubel Forsey IWC Jaeger-LeCoultre Montblanc Panerai Parmigiani Piaget Richard Mille Roger Dubuis Vacheron Constantin Van Cleef & Arpels – SJX

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