Hands-on with the Masterful Lang & Heyne Albert von Sachsen Chronograph

The only chronograph in the Lang & Heyne line-up is named after 19th century ruler Albert of Saxony, and it is a masterpiece.

Based in Dresden, Lang & Heyne is a German independent watchmaker founded by Marco Lang and Mirko Heyne, though Heyne left to join Nomos not long after the company’s founding. Only a few dozen Lang & Heyne wristwatches are made each year, and they are all inspired by classical German pocket watches of the 19th century, in aesthetics, construction and materials.

At first glance the Albert von Sachsen appears to be a simple watch. But it is actually a monopusher chronograph with co-axial elapsed seconds and minute hands. The blued hand is the seconds hand while the silver hand is the minutes hand. And the sunken sub-dial at six is for the running seconds.

The dial is white, fired enamel, while the steel hands are hand-made; the thickness and detail of the hands are reminiscent of vintage pocket watch hands. The hands, dial and case are all made by Lang & Heyne.

Inside the 44 mm platinum is the beautifully detailed Calibre IV. The foundation of this movement is the Unitas 6497, but it is has undergone such radical transformation, addition of three-quarter plate and chronograph works for instance, as to be unrecognisable as a Unitas.

In fact, Lang & Heyne also manufactures most of the movement in-house, including the bridge, base plate, chronograph mechanism and even forming the hairspring. The black polished steel levers of the chronograph mechanism are elegantly shaped and perfectly finished. As are the teeth of the ratchet wheel.

Also worth a close look is the hand-engraved balance cock, which appears to have a diamond endstone. The diamond, however, is not actually the cap jewel, instead it sits on top of a synthetic ruby as the hardness of diamond makes it unsuitable as a functional jewel.

The Albert von Sachsen retails for €54,900, excluding taxes and shipping, which is equivalent to about US$70,950. – SJX

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