A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour Le Mérite” Watch

A magnificent piece of engineering, even if it’s usefulness is debated. But something just moved on that seconds dial and you missed it. At 6 O’clock exactly the part of the hour dial that has the 8, 9 and 10 numerals on it jumps into view. When the hour hand passes and it reaches 12 O’clock the segment disappears again so you can appreciate the tourbillon in it’s entirety. Lange calls it innovation but I call it showing off really. However, a moving dial isn’t something you see every day so unique it certainly is.

ALS_760_026_RS_a4 1 copy.jpg

The back of this watch is see through, so you can gaze at the hand wrought German silver and blue screws. Most importantly however, you can wave at yourself through the tourbillon. Actually, quite a unique feature is the fact that the tourbillon can be stopped using one of Lange’s patented stop seconds mechanisms. It’s important to remember though that due to the fact there’s a tourbillon attached to the seconds hand, the Richard Lange Tourbillon doesn’t have a zero reset system. I wouldn’t put it past A.Lange & Söhne to come up with some way that they could incorporate a zero reset.

Lange is known for making large dress watches. This is because Lange is based in Germany. When Germany surrendered in 1945 Lange was in the wrong part of Germany at the wrong time… Well… For Nazis it was the wrong side. The Russians swept in and crippled the business completely. It was only revived in the mid 90s. I think of Lange missing out a few decades as a good thing because it missed the dreadful tiny dress watch era and what I refer to as the age of ‘pants electronics’. But then again, some advances have been made with quartz tech so it’s not all bad. Anyway, because Lange was fortunate to miss these eras all of it’s pieces are large but remain classically designed. The Richard Lange Tourbillon is no different to any other Lange pieces. It’s big. 42mm across and standing tall at 12mm. You could think of it as manly if you like, but a white tie tuxedo piece it certainly is not. The lugs are pretty enormous too, fitting to the timepiece they’re mounted to.

However it’s not all bad news. No one’s stopping it from wearing it to a posh evening in the Savoy, it’s completely up to you. You also has some bragging rights that come with it too. First and foremost, it’s a Lange which nowadays is widely considered the German equivalent of Patek Philippe and I’m not going to argue. Also, the watch has a fusee chain system in it. It’s a tiny weeny little chain that essentially delivers power more constantly and effectively than simple cogs. It is however, very hard to make. Also, like all Richard Lange pieces, the Richard Lange Tourbillon is assembled, disassembled and then rebuilt one more time. It’s a way of basically making it more precise by being able to double check the watch is all present and correct. A.Lange & Söhne doesn’t have Jaeger LeCoultre’s stringent tests, so it came up wit it’s own. Good for them.

Lange hasn’t released prices yet, but in rose gold it’s around $160,000 and $190,000 for platinum so the white gold is somewhere in between. You can be absolutely certain however that the tourbillon is the what’s driving up the price. Nevertheless, this is a watch Ferdinand A. Lange would be proud of. For more info, please visit alange-soehne.com

Pages: 1 2


Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Editor

First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father two years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.