It was in early 1990, when Walter Lange, possessing the vision to once again craft exceptional timepieces, formulated a plan to revive the family business in Glashütte after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
The brand has since unquestionably established itself as one of the world's leading watch brands - challenging Swiss dominance and raising the bar for both aesthetic and movement design of fine wristwatches. With German tenacity and precision, they create pieces that are elegant statements on the wrist, with hand-finished movements of the highest calibre. In 2001, the Saxon
manufactory was able to re-locate back to its original, historic building in Glashütte, which housed A. Lange & Söhne
from 1845 until its partial destruction by Allied bombing in 1945.
Exhibiting an aesthetic that is undeniably Lange
, it features an oversized ‘outside’ aperture at the top of the dial, indicating the date. Symmetrical to this at 6 o'clock, an aperture reveals the moon phase. At 3 and 9 o’clock are two subsidiary dials, displaying a thirty-minute counter for the chronograph and the running seconds respectively. Within these sub-dials are both the day of the week and month indicators. Furthermore, lying on top are smaller sub dials, with the 3 o’clock displaying a leap year indicator and a power reserve indicator for the 9 o’clock.
The watch is housed within a contemporary 41 mm pink-gold case. One of the superb elements of this watch is the pusher located at 10 o’clock, which enables the user to quickset the perpetual calendar, allowing the day, date and month to advance simultaneously. Each complication can also be set independently, using the recessed corrector buttons.
This particular reference is manually-wound, with a sapphire display back, revealing the calibre L952.1, a completely in-house developed movement. The architecture of A. Lange and Söhne movements are perhaps their most distinctive feature, with a three dimensional aspect that is truly unique. It features a column wheel, lateral clutch, flyback chronograph movement with a perpetual calendar module built on top of it.
The minute hand of the chronograph jumps in one minute increments rather than continuously moving - which allows for accurate reading of the timing function. The ‘flyback’ chronograph function allows the stop-watch to be instantaneously restarted for continuous timing, without having to stop, reset, and restart the chronograph. The Datograph Perpetual, calibre L952.1 is comprised of 556 parts, with 45 jewels and has an approximate power reserve of 36 hours.
The aesthetics of the movement are just as impressive as the mechanics, perhaps second to none, with chamfering and interior angles superbly hand-finished. Moreover, it features an artistic flourish, a balance cock engraved by one of Lange’s master engravers. In fact, each individual watchmaker's unique engraving style can be identified as a result. The bridges and plates are made from German silver, an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc with a warm silver tone that will develop a subtle patina over time. The use of this metal, along with the hand-engraved balance cock is a signature of A. Lange & Söhne.
It is remarkably challenging to make an integrated chronograph movement, let alone one with flyback, instantaneous minute jump and a panorama date. In the short time since the brand's rebirth, the Datograph has set the bar for modern in-house chronographs, with the brand since re-establishing its place in the pantheon horological greats.
This A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual comes as a full-set, with its original brown alligator strap; our light nubuck Carcassonne leather strap; corresponding pink-gold tang buckle, its accompanying box and paperwork.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.