2020 marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of German brand A. Lange & Söhne, and while the year has already seen several major updates from the marque perhaps the most spectacular of all has been saved for Watches & Wonders Shanghai 2020. With a direct reference to founder F. A. Lange in the name, it’s clear the brand has high hopes for this limited edition, and looking at the sheer scope of mechanical prowess on display it’s fair to say those hopes are justified. The limited edition A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” combines some of A. Lange & Söhne’s most dramatic complications with a clean and masculine colorway for a genuine piece of horological spectacle.
The overall layout of the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” is not entirely new, first appearing in a different colorway in 2017’s Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite.” To the brand faithful, then, the 43mm case should feel somewhat familiar. The form is classic A. Lange & Söhne, with clean Germanic lines, straight wide set lugs, broad rectangular pushers, and straight brushed case sides topped by a wide smooth polished bezel. What is new, however, is the material. A. Lange & Söhne has only used its proprietary Honeygold 18k yellow gold alloy in a handful of releases since its creation in 2010, and while the brand keeps the details of this alloy tightly guarded it displays a significant boost in scratch resistance over normal 18k gold. The tone of this Honeygold alloy is handsome as well, with the classic yellow gold look tinged with just a hint of red to give this timeless material a touch of modern masculinity.
Like the case, the dial of the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” takes the brand’s signature cues and reinvents them in a dramatic new color scheme, but here this is augmented by a stunning array of complications. From the oversized tourbillon aperture at 6 o’clock, to the split seconds chronograph, to the perpetual calendar, and the vividly detailed moonphase window at 12 o’clock, the design stands as a testament to the brand’s ability to present multiple complications on a single dial without creating a sense of visual clutter or unbalancing the overall visual weight distribution. A large share of this comes down to the double duty each of the subdials performs. The slightly larger subdial at 12 o’clock houses both the moonphase display and an outer pointer date ring, but both are given enough breathing room to feel open and proportional. Likewise, the combination pointer day and chronograph minutes at 9 o’clock is finely proportioned and aided by clever blued color coding, while the month and leap year indicator at 3 o’clock mirrors it handsomely. Amongst all the combined displays, only the 6 o’clock tourbillon is given its own solitary space, and that delicate complication is surrounded by an extra-wide window to give a tantalizing view of the movement finishing within. The dial surface itself is classic A. Lange & Söhne with its precise bold serif text, Arabic numerals, and characteristic gold alpha hands, but this relatively traditional look hides a secret. The entire dial is made from additional 18k Honeygold alloy, with every numeral, index, and line of text polished through to the golden surface underneath a gray rhodium finish. This contrast of matte granite gray with flashing gold creates a dynamic and miles-deep look in changing light, one which elevates A. Lange & Söhne’s distinctive aesthetic in a new and creative direction.
The manufacture L133.1 handwound movement inside the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” is deeply impressive in its own right, combining some of the most complex elements in modern mechanical horology with rarely seen, centuries old watchmaking concepts. To this end, isochronism in the mainspring barrel is ensured by the antiquated fusée and chain transmission system. For those unfamiliar, it’s similar to a CVT transmission in a car or a sprocket and gear on a bicycle, essentially a series of stepped gears in a conical arrangement connected to a drive chain to ensure smooth torque delivery at different stages of the mainspring’s winding curve. The perpetual calendar and moonphase are similarly impressive, as the perpetual calendar will maintain accuracy with a single setting until the year 2100, while the moonphase dial is accurate to one day every 122.6 years. In terms of more pedestrian performance, this highly complicated tourbillon equipped movement offers 36 hours of power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. A. Lange & Söhne pairs this traditionally styled tribute to its founder with an equally traditional strap, a hand stitched alligator leather option in deep teak brown mounted to an 18k Honeygold deployant clasp.
Among the ongoing tributes for the brand’s 175th anniversary, few new offerings can match the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” for sheer visual and mechanical spectacle. Only 50 examples of the limited edition A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” will be made, and are available now through authorized dealers with pricing available upon request. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.