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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