Hands-On with the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds in White GoldIt's a good one.
Introduced at SIHH earlier this year, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds in white gold is the first version of the model that is not a limited edition. It is, in other words, a more accessible, though not more affordable, version of an interesting and smart watch.
Fundamentally it is exactly the same as watch as the inaugural platinum and subsequent rose gold models. It’s relatively compact and slim – measuring 39.9mm by 10.6mm – so it sits well on the wrist. In fact, it feels like a dress watch, despite being substantially complicated, both technically and visually.
Best in black
The white gold Jumping Seconds is the most attractive version of the watch yet. More specifically, the black dial with contrasting markings is most suited to the regulator-style dial, historically found on precision or scientific timekeepers, with the various time displays separated for legibility.
John Harrison’s very first marine chronometer, for instance, had a regulator-style dial. And the Lange regulator dial with its three sub-dials arranged in a pyramid was inspired by an 18th century pocket watch by Glashütte watchmaker Johann Heinrich Seyffert, who also made the watch that explorer Alexander von Humboldt took along for his expeditions.
In fact, watch factories in times gone by often had a precision regulator clock by which to set the watches and clocks being produced.
And to the same end, regulators often had deadbeat or jumping seconds, to cater to precise synchronisation of the seconds.
So the black dial with stark white markings – and a hint of red – is eminently functional, with slight military undertones, which works very well for the type of timekeeper it is.
But being the exactly same watch as the other versions means this Jumping Seconds has the same drawback – the regulator-style display takes a while to get used to.
On the large face of a clock, or even a pocket watch, a regulator dial is quite legible, but on a wristwatch it can be confusing. That’s especially so when all the hands are pointing towards the centre of the dial – at 2:55:30pm for instance – requiring the wearer to take a second to untangle all the hands.
But being the same also means it has the same L094.1 movement, which is a great one. It is one of the rare movements with several complications that are all sensible; all the add-ons in the movement are geared towards better timekeeping (and time-setting).
The movement has a one-second remontoir, or constant force spring, that ensures consistent energy is delivered to the balance wheel. That in turn ensures stable timekeeping through the ups and downs of the power reserve. And just to be sure there’s a power reserve indicator on the dial to ensure the mainspring never really runs down.
And it also has a deadbeat seconds that in turn moves in discreet, one-second steps, which looks more precise than a conventional sweep seconds. The seconds is driven by a separate wheel train that’s connected to the barrel, meaning it does not sap the energy that drives the escapement.
The deadbeat seconds is further enhanced by the hacking, zero-reset seconds: pulling the crown to set the time stops the seconds hand and sends it back to “12”. Together the various complications make a lot of sense in such a watch.
The movement is also good looking, having a two-third plate instead of the usual three-quarters, with the vacated space taken up by the hacking seconds mechanism. As with most mechanisms devised by Lange, the stop-seconds works could probably be simpler and smaller, but they are not, which creates more to see.
Attention to detail has obviously been paid to the hacking seconds bridge, which boasts one acute inward angle, and another acute outward angle, along its bevelled edge, plus three softer outward angles. These are decorative flourishes not often found on Lange movements at this price point.
The white gold model is the best looking of the the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds, itself a smartly conceived watch.
And it is marginally cheaper, by US$3500 to be exact, than the limited edition pink gold version so from that perspective it’s a well priced compared to its siblings.
But the rose gold and platinum versions have the appeal of being limited editions of just 100 examples each. Although the white gold version surely won’t be produced in large numbers, the promise of a limited edition is always irrationally alluring.
Material: 18k white gold
Movement: Cal. L094.1
Power reserve: 42 hours
Price and availability
The Richard Lange Jumping Seconds in white gold (ref. 252.029) is priced at US$75,100, or 109,500 Singapore dollars. It arrives in Lange boutiques and retailers in May 2019.
Update May 1, 2019: Key facts addedBack to top.