One of the highlights from SIHH each year is seeing what big releases A. Lange and Sohne have planned for the show. Lange doesn't exactly deal in lackluster watches, so when they come to play you know you're in for a show. Case in point, the dazzling new A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual "Pour le Mérite." While they set the bar high last year with the lovely Richard Lange Jumping Seconds and the very complicated Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, the new Tourbograph is complex Lange at its very best.
There is a lot going on here, so let's dig in. The fifth watch in Lange's Pour le Mérite series, the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual "Pour le Mérite" expands upon the 1994 Tourbillon "Pour le Merit" by keeping both the fusee-and-chain and the tourbillon while adding a chronograph with rattrapante (as seen in the 2005 model) and finally a perpetual calendar. That's right, for those keeping score, the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual "Pour le Mérite" rocks a fusee-and-chain, a tourbillon, a chronograph, rattrapante function (for measuring split timing), and a perpetual calendar. Don't reach for your wallet, it ran for the hills when you opened this article.
All of this complexity is packed into a beautiful 43mm platinum case that is just 16.6mm thick (impressive for this level of complexity). The layout is actually rather straightforward, with an open-heart view of the tourbillon at six, date and moon phase at 12, month and leap year at 3, and day and running seconds at 9. Standard time (and the rattrapante hand) is delineated by blued steel, while the chronograph hand is gold-plated steel. This pocket watch-like combo (along with the solid silver dial and Arabic numerals) allows for strong legibility despite the incredible complexity of the display. Besides, if you really want an eyefull, just look at the back...
Through a sapphire display case back we find a nearly explicit view of the Lange calibre L133.1. This 684-piece movement (1320 if you count each link in the fusee-and-chain) is manually wound, has a power reserve of 36 hours, and utilizes no fewer than 52 jewels. As you would expect, the plates and bridges are made from German silver and treated to some of the finest finishing and decoration in the business. While beautiful and intricate movements are generally the norm for A. Lange and Sohne, you have to admit that the L133.1 is really something to behold, true old-school master watchmaking.
Limited to 50 pieces on a black alligator leather strap with a platinum deployant buckle, the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual "Pour le Mérite" is a flagship of the highest order, and at €480,000, so is the price. For fifty of Lange's biggest fans, you have to wonder if price factors heavily into the equation. Regardless, for those who aren't one of the fortunate fifty, we'll have more for you when we go hands-on during SIHH later this week, so be sure to check in for live photos and more experienced impressions. Also, don't forget to follow along on Instagram with #SIHHABTW and YouTube as we tour SIHH 2017. alange-sohne.com