A Lange & Söhne Grand Complication: Pinnacle Of Precision Watch Making!
A Lange & Söhne has a dedicated team of ingenious designers and watchmakers who designs and crafts the watches of the new ERA and have a clear vision in mind ever since this brand was found, that is, to build the world’s best watches ever. The Dresden watchmaker Ferdinand A. Lange laid the foundation for the Saxon fine watchmaking business when he established his watch manufactory in 1845. Eager to learn from the best watchmakers of his era, Ferdinand A. Lange travelled through France and Switzerland in the journeyman tradition. In 1873, Ferdinand A. Lange built the A. Lange & Söhne family domain in the centre of the Saxon town of Glashütte. For over half a century, it was the watchmaking dynasty’s headquarters – until World War II and expropriation interrupted the manufactory’s history.
A Lange & Söhne Grand Complication features a host of fascinating functions and yet again manifests the ability of the Saxon master watchmakers to conquer ever new peaks with their undisputed ingenuity. The A. Lange & Sohne Grand Complication is a concept watch and it is standard practice to craft one or two as prototypes without the generation of more examples in the collection.
The term Grand Complication is used in a number of ways, but traditionally means that a watch has complications from three families: calendars, timing, and chiming. In this case we get a perpetual calendar with moonphase, a split-seconds chronograph with flying seconds, and a grande and petite sonnerie with minute repeater. Certainly fits the bill for the traditional definition.
It is made with an enamel dial, solid pink gold case, gold hands, a blued-steel second hand, and a hand-stitched leather crocodile strap. Even the interior mechanisms have been polished black, and everything is hand-finished and hand-engraved.
Here are some of the detailed complications of A Lange & Söhne Grand Complication men’s watch that will make you believe why exactly it is called the “grand complication”.
Perpetual Calendar Displays:
Lange has produced perpetual calendars before, so here we are getting a very finely tuned complication. The display is different though than with previous renditions. All four years’ worth of months, as well as the leap-year indicator itself, are contained in the subdial at 12 o’clock, while the day of the week is off the the left and the date off to the right. Down at 6 o’clock is the moonphase, nested inside the flying seconds.
Grand Complication is a split-seconds chronograph with a foudroyant, or flying seconds at 6 o’clock – 248 components, nearly 30% of the movement, are dedicated just to these functions. When you activate the chronograph, not only do the chrono and split hands start moving across the dial, but the small hand at 6 o’clock begins jumping across 5 positions, letting you time to 1/5th of a second. But, “Wait a second,” you’re probably thinking. The flying seconds is powered by its own mainspring and has its own system of wheels to allow it to move 5 times per second, including that 30-tooth wheel you can see on the right in the photo below. The mechanics are complicated, but all you need to know is that as long as the balance is keeping good time at 4Hz, the foudroyant will be accurate to 1/5th of a second.
Split Second Complication:
The split pusher is located at ten o’clock instead of a housing within the crown. A departure from traditional Swiss watchmaking techniques, it is a trademark of A. Lange & Sohne following the Glashutte style. Their rendition features a separate column wheel for the split function and the chronograph.
Two carefully hand-wrought gongs produce the seductive tones of the minute repeater and of the hour and quarter-hour strikes. The Grand Complication is endowed with a chiming mechanism that automatically indicates the time in the grand strike (grande sonnerie) or small strike (petite sonnerie) modes. Every fifteen minutes, when set to grande sonnerie, it first indicates the full hour on the low-pitched gong and then the quarter-hours with a double strike on both gongs. In the petite sonnerie mode, it indicates the elapsed quarter-hours with one, two, or three double strikes on both gongs. At the top of every hour, it strikes the time in hours on the low-pitched gong.
Dial And Movement:
The movement is the calibre L1902 and in itself it contains a total of eight hundred and seventy six individual components or which, sixty seven are jewels. It features a thirty hour power reserve with a a sonnerie barrel for twenty four hours for chimes and a chronograph barrel as the third barrel, all of which are wound from the crown.
The dial is a five piece that was a painstaking creation of fired enamel and minute sub dials which were saw cut. An antiquated finish features red and black colors for a lovely finish.
Lange Manufacture Calibre L1902
|Screwed Gold Chatons:
Shock-Resistant Screw Balance
Time Display With Hours And Minutes;
Chiming Mechanism With Grand And Small Strike;
Split-Seconds Chronograph With Minute Counter And Jumping Seconds;
Perpetual Calendar With Date, Day Of Week, Month In Four-Year Cycle;
Diameter: 50.0 Millimeters; Height: 20.3 Millimeters
Diameter: 40.5 Millimeters; Height: 14.2 Millimeters
|Crystal And Caseback:
Five-Part Enamel Dial
Pink Gold; Minute Counter, Rattrap ante Hand And Jumping Seconds Hand Blued Steel
Hand-Stitched Crocodile Strap
Lange Deployant Buckle In Pink Gold
All parts of the complex manual winding movement are manufactured and lavishly finished by hand to the strictest Lange quality criteria. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished. The exclusive collectors’ item in the 50-millimetre pink gold case and thus, the Grand Complication is not only immaculate from the technical point of view, it is also a rare horological work of art.
The building of this multiple complication with the most complex of chiming mechanisms that bears the distinctive signature of our unique Saxon watchmaking culture has expanded our knowledge and released a lot of creativity. It is not an exaggeration to say that this project has opened the gate to many new ideas and designs.
It is assumed that for a watch to cost a million dollars, it should have some historical significance or be dripping in diamonds. But watches at the highest end of the price spectrum don’t necessarily have either. A Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is the biggest example of it. It has 876 individual components in the watch making the design so complicated that the company plans to only produce 6 pieces of this ultimate complication. The price of this ultimate men’s watch is Rs. 18,58,22,000 approximately. It is also stated that two most important factors that define the price of a watch are “material” and “workmanship”. A Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is the epitome of finest workmanship with great material and precision.
The development of the Grand Complication is an adventurous expedition into the cosmos of complexity. The result is a watch that is extraordinary in every respect, reflecting the brilliance of the Lange dynasty’s forebears and the virtuosity of today’s watchmakers. One Lange’s top tier watchmakers are drafted to work on the Grand Complication. The Grand Complication doesn’t only speak to what A. Lange & Söhne is doing and plans to do in the future; it speaks to what lovers of high-end watchmaking want to see from the manufactures they enjoy.