Since the revival of the heritage of A. Lange & Söhne, two exclusive, limited-edition wristwatches with a one-minute tourbillon – a micromechanical marvel designed to protect the balance against the cumulative effects of gravity – have already found an enthusiastic followership. They are the TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite” mentioned above and the LANGE 1 TOURBILLON, a wristwatch based on the legendary LANGE 1. It was launched at the turn of the century.
In the past, Lange has repeatedly redefined the benchmark in the domain of horological complications, especially in the construction of exclusive chronographs. Two recent examples are the DATOGRAPH which was launched in 1999 and the LANGE DOUBLE SPLIT presented in 2004. The exceptional TOURBOGRAPH borrows the second half of its name from this chronograph legacy. It features the very culmination of mechanical timing technology, the rattrapante function, modestly suggested by the third push piece at 10 o’clock. The mechanism, positioned directly behind the sapphire-crystal caseback, is not only one of the most precious but also one of the most beautiful assets of a mechanical movement. The twin sweep seconds hands, delicate and superimposed, allow additive time measurements of up to 30 minutes as well as – concurrently – the measurement of any number of lap times.
Those who love horological complications have always been mesmerised by these useful stopwatch functions. No wonder: The TOURBOGRAPH “Pour le Mérite” features two classic column wheels in a very elaborate mechanical subsystem to dependably and precisely control the two chronograph functions.
Only twelve of these exceptional timepieces – it takes 30 days just to assemble each one – can be crafted in a year. It goes without saying that every single exemplar is embellished by hand to a degree of perfection that can hardly be surpassed. For instance, the decoration of the delicate tourbillon bridge alone, the part with which the tourbillon cage is mounted on the dial side, is a two-day project for Lange’s gifted specialists. For the manual circular graining process involving the plates and bridges, they use up to 14 different special tools to obtain the desired perlage effects. Thus, the TOURBOGRAPH “Pour le Mérite” in its 41.2-millimetre case is not just an incomparable timepiece that adds a new chapter to the long list of impressive masterpieces crafted at the manufactory in Glashütte. It will also give its few owners the certainty, with each glance at the face and display back, that they have acquired an authentic and extremely precious work of art. Only 101 of these watches will be produced. The first 51 TOURBOGRAPH “Pour le Mérite” will be in platinum. A second series of 50 watches, to be crafted at a later point in time, will be cased in gold.