I understand that some of our more genteel audience members and colleagues in the watch industry may find our ongoing use of the term “watch porn” to be vulgar, but we have yet to discover a more apt way to refer to timepieces (and the images thereof) that inspire our passion on such a basic and visceral level. So, for those who are offended by “watch porn,” perhaps you can suggest a more appropriate term to describe what we are seeing here in the new-for-SIHH-2016 A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon.
I covered the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon recently here prior to having had an opportunity to see it hands-on. I recommend you visit that article for more information on the tech specs and overall details of the watch. For now, I’d like to simply talk a bit more about the watch after having seen it and placed it on my wrist.
Thicker than the standard Datograph Up/Down, the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon uses the same 41.5mm-wide case size – here, in platinum. Comfortable on the wrist, this massively complex beauty is still hefty thanks to the platinum material and feels decidedly complex given its range of very difficult to produce complications done as only the German masters at A. Lange & Söhne can accomplish. Our David Bredan continues to suggest that if someone does not become a watch lover by viewing the back of an A. Lange & Söhne Datograph, there is little chance they will ever become a watch lover. The combination of aesthetic elements, and sheer engineering wonder go together so well in a timepiece such as this.
Compared to standard Datograph watches, this new calibre L.952.2 manually wound movement isn’t tremendously different, but it now has a tourbillon. This, of course, changes the dynamic of the watch and is the real “luxury icing on the cake” given that the addition of the perpetual calendar complication is something which we interpret as more functional. With that said, one can easily ask the question, “why purchase a tourbillon if it is not visible on the dial, as is the case in most tourbillon-equipped timepieces?”
This isn’t a question that I can faithfully answer without suggesting that the answer is going to be very subjective. If you are a first-time tourbillon buyer then, yes, you probably want to show it off a little bit. If you are a seasoned watch collector and the addition of a tourbillon really doesn’t add much to your daily wearing experience or level of excitement, then perhaps the addition of the extra effort put into the watch is valuable to you, but it isn’t a feature you need exposed on the dial. A. Lange & Söhne has for a long time been dedicated to the notion of “stealth wealth,” and a watch like the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with a “hidden” tourbillon only visible through the rear of the watch is a very direct manifestation of that concept.
Compared to the other style of Datograph with a perpetual calendar complication, the new A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon has a much more refined dial that includes more “white space” on it as well as increased amounts of visual balance and symmetry. Legibility for reading the time is excellent, and pretty much all the information you need at a glance is there, such as the date and chronograph register data.
I would not suggest that reading the perpetual calendar or power reserve information is available at a glance, but it really doesn’t need to be. Instead, this information is best left to the side until needed and not there to obstruct your view of reading the time. With that said, finishing and textures of the dial continue to be excellent which means that readability is about as good as can be asked for in a dial of this design.
Speaking of the power reserve indicator, I found that it is much less obvious in person than one might expect from the perfect marketing images from A. Lange & Söhne. While easy to see when looking for it, the linear power reserve indicator toward the left side of the dial on the peripheral ring is a good example of a discreet complication.
A lot of perpetual calendar watch dials annoy me because so much of the information can get in the way of what I actually want to be looking at. The leap year indicator is something I very rarely want to reference, for example. The leap year information on the A. Lange & Söhne Datrograph Perpetual Tourbillon is offered on a small disc in an attractive but subtle way that I really prefer. It is difficult to describe in words, but I’ll just say one more time that the dial of the timepiece, given all of the available information, is truly wonderfully refined.
I’ll close by reminding you that A. Lange & Söhne designed the movement with a special pusher at 10 o’clock that allows you to advance all of the perpetual calendar data by one day with each push. This very helpful element makes it possible to adjust the calendar if the power reserve runs out for a few days. This means if your A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon gets unwound and sits for 5 days, you can reset the calendar in about 5 seconds versus about 5 minutes (or longer). The utility of features such as this should not be discounted.
Beautiful and easy to wear, the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is nevertheless extremely luxurious and highly exclusive, being limited to 100 pieces. Price is 295,000 euros, and you better put in your order now. alange-soehne.com