There are certain things one simply doesn’t do with valuable watches. Some of those things include underwater diving with a minute repeater and taking apart and modifying a limited edition early A. Lange & Sohne Tourbillon. However, if you must do the latter, it might as well be done tastefully, and by a fellow German company – which is precisely the situation with the one-of-a-kind Blue Merit watch by Grieb & Benzinger.
Typically the boys at Grieb & Benzinger make their luxury project watches out of historical movements such as a 100 year old Patek Philippe minute repeater or split second chronograph. For the Blue Merit they have endeavored to use a much more modern movement taken out of an A. Lange & Sohne Tourbillon Pour le Merite. So yes, a limited edition Tourbillon Pour le Merite watch from the mid 1990s was essentially sacrificed for this Benzinger-esque transformation. Was it worth it?
A little history first. The modern A. Lange & Sohne brand as we know it returned to the world in 1994 after a several decade hiatus thanks to communism coming to the eastern part of Germany. The highest-end highlight of their debut collection was the limited edition Tourbillon Pour le Merite reference 701.005. Only 50 pieces were produced in platinum from about 1994 to 1998 and it had a price of about $110,000 when new. Lange is one of those few modern brands whose products can actually appreciate in value during the lifetime of the owner. So if you wanted to get a Tourbillon Pour le Merite today it would certainly cost you a lot more than $110,000.
Grieb & Benzinger got their hands on one or it was probably a client who gave them the Tourbillon Pour le Merite and ask them to have fun with it. The first thing they did was remove the Lange caliber L902.0 movement from the case and then proceeded to completely take it apart. While the original watch has a 38.5mm wide case in platinum, the Blue Merit uses a new case (also in platinum) that is 41mm wide – which is actually on the smaller side for Grieb & Benzinger timepieces.