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A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The latest version of the intellectually-stimulating (for watch collectors that is) A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds comes with a rare black dial. It is the reference 252.029 and is one of A. Lange & Sohne’s new watches that was debuted at SIHH 2019. The Richard Lange Jumping Seconds (we went-hands on with an earlier model with a white dial here) is a peculiar watch if only because it is best appreciated by very seasoned watch lovers. German A. Lange & Sohne as a whole is a brand best-suited to mature collectors, but within the company’s product catalog there are more or less “mainstream” designs and mechanisms.

Let me give you an example. One of the defining characteristics of the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is the inclusion of a jumping seconds hand. This isn’t the only jumping seconds watch produced by A. Lange & Sohne, as the historic complication has become (within certain circles) en vogue one again. Last year for example the Glashutte-based brand released the limited edition A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Homage To Walter Lange that also has a jumping seconds hand. Jumping second hands “tick” as opposed to “sweep” across a watch dial. Jumping hands look a lot like the ticking hands on quartz watches. The reason for this ironic is that mechanical watch collectors often want it to be clear that their “wrist investments” are more expensive than more pedestrian quartz watch. This means that a number of people seeing a ticking hand on an otherwise fine timepiece might get confused. They might even think it is a fake.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The implication is that only the most seasoned and sophisticated watch collectors understand what a jumping hour hand is on a mechanical watch as well as has the confidence to not care if someone misidentifies their timepiece. With that said, buyers of A. Lange & Sohne watches are among the most discreet high-end watch wearers so it fits within the “stealth wealth” ethos of the brand to produce something as quirky as a 70,000 Euro-plus watch that has a ticking-like seconds hand.

Now let’s look at the regulator-style display of the watch that features three overlapping subdials (for the minutes, seconds, and hours). This design was more or less pulled directly from a historic pocket watch with a similar dial that was produced in the Glashutte region. For many applications, separating the dials for the hours, minutes, and seconds can make reading a watch more precise. Today the layout of three overlapping subdials is mainly for style – but it has roots in utility and experimenting with what types of watch dials are more effective or easy on the eyes.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The largest of the three subdials is for the seconds, which is where the user will see the incredibly precise action of the jumping hand as it beats directly on the marker. Note the small window close to above where 6 o’clock where A. Lange & Sohne developed an AM/PM indicator which displays red or black depending on the time of day. What is really new for the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252/029 for 2019 is the dial color. Black dials are rare for A. Lange & Sohne watches if only because they present a challenge when it comes to legibility. Lighter dials produced by the company benefit from the high contrast of their blued-steel hands (for example). Here we have a matte black dial produced on a solid silver plate with polished 18k white gold hands.

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The case itself is 39.9mm wide and 10.6mm thick in 18k white gold. The small hints of red on the dial are sports and remind the wearer that at its core this watch is meant to remind the user of antique scientific observation equipment. Today this is more or less a tuxedo or dress watch for someone who wants plenty of opportunity to tell stories about their wrist watch. What Lange misses a bit on this model is the flawless legibility of some of their other watches. Black dials with thin polished hands typically have issues being read in direct light. A. Lange & Sohne handles this combination of materials and finishes about as well as can be expected, but I would have liked the hands to be white in order to promote legibility and to match the color of the hour markers and indexes otherwise.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds 252.029 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Wearing comfort is very high and the case quality and overall execution are typically top-notch. Turn the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds watch over and the in-house made and decorated caliber L094.1 merrily greets you. Polished lines on the German Silver bridges meet the hand-engraved balance cock for a thorough high-end brand experience. The manually-wound movement operates at 3Hz with about two days of power reserve. Given that the movement doesn’t indicate the time as is “normal” in most other watches, you can see some special mechanics at play in the assembly of the movement which are responsible for the regulator style display as the jumping second system.

Beautiful to look at, well-made, excellently-finished, and with a provocative movement, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is one of the most “watch nerd friendly” dress watches around. I still find the lighter-dial versions of the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds watch more practical due to their increased legibility, but you can’t beat a black A. Lange & Sohne for fashionability when the brand decides to make one. Price for the reference 252.029 A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds watch is 71,000 Euros. See more at the A. Lange & Sohne website here.

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  • Agnar Sidhu

    Yes please!

  • Brian Russell

    It’s beautiful. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s also blue. The article talks about it being black. And the link to the white dial hands-on goes to a story about the black one.

    The blue looks fantastic. I also like the black.

    • SuperStrapper

      ???
      Blue?
      I think you’re seeing the AR coating effect on the sapphire.

  • I had to sit down when I saw a black-dialed Lange. Legibility looks just fine to me, I like the red accents, and the dial layout is harmonious (aside, perhaps, from a disconnect between the Roman hour numerals and the Arabic minute numerals). It reminds me a little of a Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde, and IMHO that’s a good thing.

  • Darren

    The red/black triangle where the three subdials overlap is not an am/pm indicator. It switches from black to red when the power reserve gets below about 10 hours remaining to remind you that you need to wind the watch. Awesome time piece!

  • Jon Heinz

    Straight up nuts. Could stare at this thing for a while.

    • mach2guy

      I tried staring at it, but only got a headache trying to tell the time.

  • SuperStrapper

    Always a bit jarring to see a dark ALS. Aside from the zeitwerk anyway.
    I wouldn’t have chosen red. There is just nothing sporty about the watch and I find little elegant about cherry/candy red. I would have far preferred to see them take on a deeper take on it, like a Cabernet colour, etc.
    The half plate movement is stunning (*elbows MG in the ribs*), but once you fall in love with a bridged ALS movement going back to plate is hard.

  • Berndt Norten

    Perfection

  • Raymond Wilkie

    A friend of mine has a house built in 1650. Walking around the place I’m constantly banging my head as a go in and out of rooms on account the doors are only 5’6 high. Can we agree that due to better health and living conditions have improved over the years people have got taller ( and wider )
    With that in mind can we make the standard ” dress ” size 42mm?
    Gorgeous watch. Don’t like the red.

    • cluedog12

      Back of the digital napkin calculation*, fudging every input to favour a large watch norm:

      6 ft / 5.5 ft * 38 mm = 41.5 mm

      Back of the envelope proportion calc, fudging every input to favour a smaller watch norm:

      70 in / 67 in * 36 mm = 37.5 mm

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Well, that’s as clear as a glass of mud.

        • cluedog12

          That’s my intention, clear as mud.

    • Gokart Mozart

      I beg to differ.

      1940s and 50s the average size was about 32 to 35mm.

      If you add 10% it becomes 35mm to 39mm.
      If you add 20% to that, that becomes 38mm to 42mm.

      People have not grown by 10% in the last 80 years let alone 20%.

      Watch’s have grown unacceptably large now a days, most of the time with unjustifiably small movements

  • DanW94

    Not my favorite watch from the Lange stable (my issue is purely aesthic as I find the overlapping dials visually messy). Love the jump seconds complication and the as usual, finely crafted Lange movement.

  • Daniel Harper

    Ah man no mention of the remontoire? Also, it was my understanding that the red indicator was not AM/PM, but is a low power indicator. Article is lacking some homework perhaps

  • cluedog12

    This Lange video doesn’t show any of the power trains, which makes everything seem very mysterious. Too bad.

  • cluedog12

    Nerd question: Is there an additional spring in the gear train between the mainspring barrel and the jumping seconds hand?

    From my understanding, the remontoire is ensuring smooth power delivery to the escapement. The star wheel on the fifth wheel and flirt on the jumping seconds gear train regulate the release of the mainspring power, such that the remontoire is recharged every time the seconds hand is allowed to advance 6 degrees.

    But it’s Lange, so I’m sure it’s more complex than that. How does it work?

  • Raymond Wilkie
    • Agnar Sidhu

      That zero reset function is really nice to see in action. And I have to say that the end of power indication is quite handy and elegant.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        On first glance I thought it may be am AM/PM indicator but to have it go red with 10 hours warning is, well, so A. Lange & Söhne

  • Daniel Harper

    Man I’m with you on that one, using a remontoire for a jumping second seems a lot more complicated than something like Habring’s solution, but it’s always cool to see a schematic; Lange has some up on their site that make a little more sense of their star-wheel jumping second, but I’m not sure about this one

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