Earlier this year, A. Lange & Söhne released the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, an otherwise demure-looking Lange 1that reveals itself as a masterpiece of watchmaking and finishing. Twenty years after the debut of its first perpetual calendar, this new Lange 1 QP (as I will refer to the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar) now stands as the only pure perpetual calendar in the brand’s lineup, and that seems fitting considering how high the bar is set.
Complex without being too complicated and refined without being fussy, the QP maintains the off-center design of the now-iconic Lange 1 while taking finishes and movement into overdrive. Something I didn’t notice at first is the fact that the position of all the various dial aspects is a mirror reflection of the typical Lange 1, with the hour and minute subdial on the right side of the case, and the date window and seconds subdial on the left side. A little bit of trivia I wasn’t aware of is that automatic Lange 1 models (of which there are very few; the vast majority are manual wind) like this QP have this mirror-reflection dial layout.
At a passing glance, the Lange 1 QP and the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar from a few years back look awfully familiar, especially when you consider the stealthy tourbillon found in the latter. You’d be forgiven for this mix-up, but there are some subtle yet significant changes to the design language seen in the new pure perpetual calendar Lange 1.
The new Lange 1 QP has the brilliantly simple moon phase indicator that actually doubles as a day/night indicator, as well. Lange ingeniously has two discs here: the standard moon phase disc with a disc behind it that represents the sky over the course of 24-hours, using graduated colors and stars to denote day or night. This subdial at 7 o’clock gets a lot done rather efficiently, as it provides moon phase indicator, day/night indicator, and has a running seconds hand, too.
The circumference of the dial has the rotating month display ring with the current month of the year indicated by the pointer and (leap year indicator) at 6 o’clock, while the day of the week is displayed via indicator at 9 o’clock. There’s a lot of information packed into the dial, but the Lange 1 QP displays it elegantly and with typical flair.
The dial really is the main attraction here, but the case is no slouch. Done in pink gold, the Lange 1 QP measures 41.9mm-wide and 12.1mm-thick with brushing on the case band and very nicely done stepped lugs.
Turning the case over reveals the caliber L021.3, which is based on the Daymatic and stands as Lange’s sole purely Perpetual Calendar movement, operating at 21,6000 vph with a 50-hour power reserve. Truly a breathtaking movement, the L021.3 has hand-finished German silver, five screwed gold chatons, blued screws and rubies dotting the movement’s metal landscape, a hand-engraved balance cock, and a couple of sharp inward angles. And let’s not forget the lushly decorated 21k-gold rotor with platinum rim and inner arm done in a copper-nickel alloy.
All of this makes for a feast for the eyes, though the 621-component L021.3 is just as technically impressive.
There are heavy watches and then there are watches who seize one’s attention with a heft that immediately conveys substance. The Lange 1 QP is one of these watches, oozing rarity and artisanship the second it’s picked up. It’s funny, then, that this is really a “pared down” take on the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar from a few years back.
The Lange 1 QP is a halo piece for most of us, even if collectors who own the +tourbillon model may have some gripes about being undercut by a couple hundred thousand dollars. The only pure Perpetual Calendar in Lange’s lineup, the QP is simply resplendent off and on the wrist. This isn’t, however, a piece that you wear casually and forget it’s even on the wrist. The heft is there and I personally want a watch like this to have a presence on the wrist, not a lightweight afterthought. But that’s just me…
The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar comes in two variants: the pink gold with gray dial as seen here and a 150-piece limited-edition white gold model with salmon dial. The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar will be available at brand boutiques near the end of this year with the pink gold model (Ref. 345.033) priced at $104,500 and the limited edition white gold model (Ref. 345.056) priced at $116,000. You can learn more at alange-soehne.com.