A. Lange & Söhne Brings Back the Langematik Perpetual

A surprising comeback.

One of the biggest surprises amongst A. Lange & Söhne’s mid-year launches is the return of the Langematik Perpetual (the other being a Handwerkskunst in an unusual rectangular case).

Launched two decades ago, the Langematik Perpetual is the brand’s longest-lived model – powered by the same movement from the start – though it’s been gradually phased out. Having discontinued the gold and platinum versions, Lange then introduced a limited edition in Honey Gold in 2019, and nothing else – until now. The Langematik Perpetual returns back in style as a pair – with a dark blue dial in either a white or pink gold case.

Initial thoughts

The reintroduction of the Langematik Perpetual is unexpected, especially given the two-year gap between this and the last version. In fact, that already seemed like a farewell model – it was a limited edition in Honey Gold, the proprietary alloy Lange usually reserved for special occasions, like the recent 175th Anniversary “Homage to F.A. Lange”.

But the revival of Langematik Perpetual makes sense from a historical perspective, since 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the model, which was the brand’s first perpetual calendar and a special one at the time of its launch, being the first perpetual calendar wristwatch with an oversized date display.

At the same time, it’s heartening to see the return of an exceptionally fine, automatic movement. The cal. L922.1 “Sax-O-Mat” has an off-centre, almost-micro rotor that is interesting in form and execution; it’s made of two precious metals and cast in relief.

The movement’s layout is intricate, in contrast to a conventional, central rotor that almost always looks plain and is the setup found in the brand’s entry-level automatic watches. But the appeal of the movement goes beyond aesthetics, its zero-reset mechanism (more on that later) is another attractive feature.

That brings us to the numbers – only 50 pieces in each colour of gold, which means it will be a quick exit for the model. But given its surprising return, can one hope for a standard production variant down the line?

Handsome details

The Langematik Perpetual has a handsome design characteristic of the brand’s house style – robust case and lugs matched with a classical dial.

It’s clear the dial’s designer had a good eye, which was responsible for a layout harmonious in its proportion, while having details that add flair.

One such detail is the radial guilloche on the chapter ring for the hours, which highlights the applied Roman numerals, while giving the dial a sectioned appearance that increases its depth. Notably, the engine-turned chapter ring was not found on the earlier models of the Langematik Perpetual, and only arrived with the Honey Gold version of 2019.

Less obvious, but equally important, is the typography on the dial. Despite a mix of Roman and Arabic numerals, as well as the Latin alphabet, the typography is coherent. It certainly helps that the font for the alphabet was specially designed and kerned by Lange, which gives the its dials a distinctive look and feel that matches the spirit of the brand.

But the star of the watch is the movement, which is a cut above the competition, and also more elaborate than most of Lange’s other self-winding movements.

The central segment of the rotor is 21k yellow gold, instead of merely being gilded as on Lange’s lower priced models. Another fine detail is the interior angle on the bevelling of the black-polished cap for the escape wheel.

Finally, the cal. L922.1 has clever functionality in the form of a zero-reset seconds – pulling the crown to set the time sends the seconds hand back to zero, much like the reset of chronograph movement, allowing for more precise synchronisation.

Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual
Ref. 310.028 (white gold)
Ref. 310.037 (pink gold)

Diameter: 38.5 mm
Height: 10.2 mm
Material: 18k white gold or pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L922.1
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 46 hours

Strap: Leather with pin buckle

Limited edition: 50 pieces in each metal
At boutiques only starting August 2021
Price: €91,000 including 19% German VAT, or 132,600 Singapore dollars including GST

For more, visit alange-soehne.com.


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A. Lange & Söhne Unveils the Saxonia Thin Aventurine in Pink Gold

A warm, starry night.

Three months after Watches & Wonders 2021 (where it debuted the Triple Split in pink gold amongst others), A. Lange & Söhne is now back with more new releases, as is now the norm with watch fairs having gone online.

Of the trio of new launches, the Saxonia Thin is the simplest, but no less striking. Clad in lively, blue aventurine glass and pink gold, the watch has a rich, sparkly aesthetic quite antithetical to the fuss-free style usually associated with the German watchmaker.

Initial thoughts

While flourishes like the aventurine-glass dial are uncommon for Lange in general, the sparkly glass dial is not new. In fact, the material was first used in the white gold Saxonia Thin back in 2017. The brand followed up with the same but with a black aventurine-glass dial last December, and then the pair of Little Lange 1 Moon Phase earlier this year. That’s four models with aventurine glass dials in as many years.

The new model is a first, in that it matches the blue aventurine-glass dial with a pink gold case, giving the watch a warm aesthetic not found in earlier versions, or even the broader catalogue where the combination of pink gold and blue is found only on the recent Triple Split. This is no doubt a good news for collectors that already have everything from the brand and want something different. Still, the frequency of aventurine-glass inevitably chips away at its uniqueness.

One nitpick I have about the watch is personal – I find the Saxonia Thin too wide and flat. While the 40 mm diameter is moderate, the height of 6.2 mm gives the case proportions that seem stretched. And because the case is thin, the lugs are relatively narrow, a departure from the sturdy lugs found on most Lange watches.

That said, amongst all the variants of the Saxonia Thin, the aventurine-glass models are the ones to get. The shimmering dial makes up for any shortcomings, giving it a distinctive, interesting look that is unusual for a Lange.

Priced at around US$28,000, the new Saxonia Thin costs about 60% more than the standard version with a silver dial that has a smaller, 37 mm case.

That’s a big disparity but the price is in line with past aventurine-glass editions, costing just a bit more than its white gold counterpart launched last year, which sold out despite the steep premium for the dial.

On the subject of demand and supply, the new Saxonia Thin, as well as the other two new launches, are limited editions. That make for nine limited editions, or ten if you count the Lange 1 Timezone introduced last June, in the last 12 months, which feels a bit much, especially for a brand that doesn’t make many watches to begin with.

Granted, uber-complicated timepieces constrained by production capacity or special occasions that are dear to the brand make sense as limited editions, or sometimes as an opening move for a new model to gain traction. But in the case of the Saxonia Thin, limiting the edition is arguably unnecessary for the brand, which has been doing well in recent years, and exceptionally well in recent months.

Flourishes and sparkles

Like all Lange watches, the Saxonia Thin is carefully finished through and through. But the latest version has a bit more – an aventurine-glass dial. It’s made up of a layer of glass imbued with metallic flakes, bonded to a solid-silver dial base. And on the aventurine glass surface are twelve thin, applied indices of solid gold.

Of course, the finishing of the movement is outstanding for a largish brand. The anglage, for instance, is done manually – a watchmaker uses a handheld tool to carefully round and polish the edges of the bridges

Though the L093.1 inside is evidently a simple movement, it does have a feature found only in a handful of other movements, a traditional balance with screws that’s free sprung. Most Lange movements with free-sprung balances are more modern in style, with either disc-shaped inertia weights or recessed screws.

Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin
Ref. 211.088

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 6.2 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L093.1
Functions: Hours, and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Crocodile with pin buckle

Limited edition: 50 pieces
 At boutiques starting July 2021
Price: €25,800 including 19% German VAT; or 38,900 Singapore dollars including GST

For more, visit alange-soehne.com.


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A. Lange & Söhne Revives the Cabaret Tourbillon in Handwerkskunst Style

Back with an artisanal touch.

Easily the most surprising of the three recent releases by A. Lange & Söhne is something unconventional but familiar – the brand’s flagship rectangular watch that was first released in 2008, but now dressed up in artisanal finery.

The Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is seventh in the eponymous line characterised by artisanal decoration – handwerkskunst translates as “craftsmanship” – and features a hand-engraved lozenge pattern on the front and back, along with a fired enamel dial.

Initial Impressions

The Cabaret Tourbillon was quite a statement at its launch, being the first wristwatch with a hacking tourbillon – pull the crown and the entire tourbillon assembly stopped – which allowed for more precise setting of the time.

But despite its merits, the original Cabaret Tourbillon was never a hot seller, so its revival is likely a one-off. The return of the model is certainly unexpected, since the Cabaret left the catalogue several years ago. The Cabaret quietly faded into obscurity, and the current Lange lineup is focused on round watches.

Largely similar in style, but far more elaborate in decoration, the new Handwerkskunst edition is a fitting tribute to the discontinued model. Unlike earlier Handwerkskunst editions that were flashier, the Cabaret is executed more conservatively, with the decorative flourishes typical of Handwerkskunst less apparent.

The watch is clearly meant to be appreciated close-up, with the knowledge that the geometric pattern looks like guilloche but is actually engraving done by a skilled hand.

Combined with the muted grey palette of the dial, the look is old fashioned, even dated, which may make it difficult to square with modern-day tastes. That said, the Cabaret Tourbillon is a big, weighty watch, so it will have quite some physical presence despite the low-key colours.

And there is the price. It’s essentially a tourbillon watch with a big date and power reserve, which makes the retail price of €315,200, or about US$370,000, a little steep. That said, being a limited edition of only 30 pieces, this will definitely be entirely accounted for before the watches are delivered in a few month’s time.

The lozenge motif is engraved on the movement cocks

Painstaking work

Undoubtedly the highlight is the dial, which needs to be examined in detail to be appreciated, much like the other Handwerkskunst editions, but on an even subtler level. Though they are less flamboyant, the decorative methods mean the dial requires substantial amounts of time to complete, which precisely its value, notwithstanding the fact that the dial  components are all solid 18k gold.

The centre of the dial has a repeating lozenge pattern in relief – a tiny diamond within a diamond – all engraved by hand with no mechanical aids. Inspired by the lozenge-shaped hour markers, the repeating motif requires an undeniable amount of skill to ensure that each diamond is parallel to the next and evenly spaced. Even the slightest deviation, a crooked line or varying width, will be instantly evident and disrupt the overall uniformity.

To further emphasise the handwork on the dial, the thin, recessed border that encircles the lozenge pattern is decorated with tremblage – a uniformly grained finish achieved by hammering the surface to create fine, consistent dimples.

And the central engraved section is surrounded by the chapter ring bearing Roman numerals and diamond markers that are engraved in relief.

Finally, the dial is also enamel: while difficult to discern in images, the hand-engraved section and outer chapter ring are covered in translucent enamel – a technique known as champleve – which provides a glossy sheen to the dial, while enhancing its depth.

Movement Decor

A cutout at six o’clock showcases the tourbillon, which was the first to incorporate a hacking feature. Pulling out the crown to set the time sets in motion a V-shaped, pivoted spring that touches the cage, stopping its rotation. The shape of the spring conforms to the shape of the cage regardless of its position, allowing it to halt the cage at any point in time.

The tourbillon is exposed on the dial, and the rest of the movement is visible through the display back. A form movement that fills the rectangular watch case, the L042.1 has a large, three-quarter, German-silver plate with gold chatons for the movement jewels, very much typical Lange style. But in the tradition of the Handwerkskunst line, it is finished in a special manner.

The L042.1, front and back

The movement is decorated in a fashion similar to the 175th Anniversary “Homage to F.A. Lange” watches, which includes the 1815 Rattrapante and 1815 Thin, with the three-quarter plate having a restrained frosted finish instead of conventional striping.

Also, the exposed ratchet and crown wheels have circular graining instead of the usual radial sunburst finish. Circular graining is arguably more visually appealing as it also emphasises the polishing of the individual wheel teeth.

The exposed wheels with their polished teeth

Being relatively large and rectangular, most of the movement’s volume can be effectively used, including large twin mainspring barrels, giving it an impressive power reserve of 120 hours. The running time is even more impressive considering the fact that a tourbillon cage requires more torque to drive compared to a regular watch escapement, due to its substantially greater weight.

With no exception, Lange movements have at least one cock hand-engraved, typically with a floral motif. Here there are two cocks are hand-engraved – one that supports the tourbillon cage pivot, and the other for the intermediate wheel driving the tourbillon cage. Both are hand-engraved with the same diamond and lozenge pattern seen on the dial.

Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst
Ref. 703.048

Size: 39.2 mm by 29.5 mm
Height: 10.3 mm
Material: Platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L042.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator, date, and tourbillon
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 120 hours

Strap: Alligator with platinum folding clasp

Limited edition: 30 pieces
At boutiques and retailers starting August 2021
Price: €315,200 including 19% German VAT

For more, visit Alange-soehne.com.


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