A handful of A. Lange & Söhne watches bear the “Pour le Mérite” title. The order of merit at the Saxon manufacture refers to five exclusive timepieces, each equipped with the sought-after fusée-and-chain transmission.
In 1994, A. Lange & Söhne debuted the “Pour le Mérite” collection with the world’s first wristwatch with a tourbillon and fusée-and-chain transmission – a complication that makes up for the torque loss of the mainspring barrel and is one of the most effective complications to increase the accuracy and stability of a mechanical watch.
This year, the watchmaker launched its latest addition. The Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite” combines the fusée-and-chain transmission with a one-minute tourbillon, a chronograph with rattrapante function, and a perpetual calendar. Only 50 pieces will be made within four years.
“It’s a rare combination,” says Wilhelm Schmid, CEO, A. Lange & Söhne. “We wanted to integrate the perpetual calendar into the Tourbograph [‘Pour le Mérite’ circa 2005] without extending the size and height.”
The elegant timepiece features a 43mm-diameter platinum case – the same size of the Tourbograph “Pour le Mérite” – and runs on the new manually wound L133.1 calibre, boasting 684 parts. The perpetual calendar function alone takes up 206 parts. The fusée-and-chain complication is built with an additional 636 parts. To fit more than 1,300 parts into the case, the perpetual calendar mechanism had to be built around the tourbillon.
Some connoisseurs say the best way to wear an A. Lange & Söhne piece is with the caseback up as its magnificent mechanism and exquisite polish are revealed via the crystal sapphire glass. The Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite” is no exception. The function of the split-seconds mechanism can be seen in great detail through the caseback.
The watchmaker has also launched new pieces this year that revisit some classic models.
The new Lange 1 Moon Phasehas a L121.3 movement, based on Lange 1 which improves the escapement – featuring a cam-poised balance and a free-sprung Lange hairspring. The manually wound timepiece has a power reserve of 72 hours. The model comes in white and pink gold, and platinum. The case size is 38.5mm.
Purists can now enjoy the manually wound update of the 1815 Annual Calendar. The classic dial features blued-steel hour and minute hands as well as the iconic peripheral railway track minute scale. The update allows a Lange calendar model to separately advance the date with an additional recessed push piece. The watch features a 40mm-diameter case available in white gold or pink gold.
There are exciting new launches that appeal to female fans. Two new Saxonia models come in 35mm-diameter cases crafted from white or pink gold, featuring a mother-of-pearl dial. Manually wound, the watches feature a 45-hour power reserve and come with subsidiary seconds with stop seconds.
A more elaborate option is the new Little Lange 1 Moon Phase, featuring a guilloched, argente-coloured dial with a lunar disc the same hue as the dial. The new L121.2 movement is also based on the new Lange 1 calibre featuring an in-house hairspring. The 36.8mm diameter case is rendered in
Schmid says China remains a growing market. “I don’t foresee the end of the rise of China for luxury products. People can distinguish between luxury that is highly priced and exclusive products that are difficult to get – which is very good for us because that’s exactly what we are.”