The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph, a A Lange Sohne Glashutte 1 Sa I am very fond of, gets some new additions for SIHH 2015, including a version of the Datograph in 18k rose gold as well as this A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual which adds a perpetual calendar to the chronograph, date, and power reserve complications. When I last visited the newer 41mm wide sized version of this German beauty, I reviewed the platinum A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down here.
A. Lange & Söhne is setting themselves up for a long line of Datograph Perpetual watches (down the line) with this 2015 version in a 41mm wide 18k white gold case and matte gray dial. Of course, the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual doesn’t have the sublime simplicity of the original Datograph or more modern Datograph Up/Down, but it does increase the ante by adding the various calendar complications. This isn’t an entirely new movement either, but rather adapted to the needs of bringing a bit more to the popular Datograph collection.
Why add a perpetual calendar and moon phase complication to what is arguably A. Lange & Söhne’s only sports watch? That is a good question, and one we cannot really answer, aside from saying that Lange is trying to add more variety to their most popular models. This turns the thick and large Datograph into a hefty dress watch, which is exactly what some people like. What the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual lacks in creativity it makes up for in consumer appeal as Lange continues its trend toward being a bit more commercial and responsive in its new product releases. Nevertheless, I would happily accept an A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual in a heart beat if offered one.
Inside the watch is the in-house made in Glashutte, Germany, A. Lange & Söhne caliber L952.1 manually wound movement. With a total 556 hand-finished parts, a peek through the sapphire crystal on the rear of the case is a little bit of watch porn heaven and no one makes a movement pop quite like A. Lange & Söhne. The movement is very classic with its 18,000 bph hour frequency, versus something a bit more modern.
As we’ve seen with all the Lange Double Split, there’s not one, but two pillar wheels in the movement. As you can see on the picture above, this column wheel is directly linked to the two arms which control the splitting (or rattrapante) function: a few extremely finicky geometrics come to play to prevent and let go of the wheel linked to one of the two principal chronograph seconds palms. Another column throughout the motion (the one to the left on the picture below) serves as a regular chronograph function’s column wheel, responsible for stopping and starting the chronograph itself.There are easy moves that amaze with their finishing and you will find not-so-amazingly completed complicated movements that amaze with their mind-boggling design. The Tourbograph combines the two and produces a A Lange Sohne Watches History that is a sensual overload using a window onto a world where magnificent surface decorations and treatments match with a few of the hard geometrics and interactions of components.It is filigree and yet rugged in a way few movements with ~700 components are. Each of the components seem to have substantial quantity to them, nearly begging the question why so many different moves we view incorporate fragile-looking little springs and cams inside their design. The Tourbograph looks like a beautifully decorated machine which dwarfs other movements.Hidden deep inside the bowels of the L133.1 is a fusée and string transmission system, designed to ensure a more even delivery of torque as the mainspring unwinds within its short, 36-hour power book — 36 hours is indeed short, however a shorter than ordinary power reserve is not exactly unusual one of such outrageously complex moves.
The L952.1 movement is also a power hog. Despite the low frequency, the movement only has a total of 36 hours of power reserve – so it is a good thing that it has a power reserve indicator. I am not sure why there is such a low power reserve, but I can guess it is because there are so many functions and perhaps a few that “jump,” which takes even more power. The power reserve indicator is located above the left subdial – which is also used for the running seconds and the day of the week. The big date indicator is where it has always been, and the right subdial now tracks the minutes counter for the flyback chronograph, month, as well as an overlapping leap year indicator. Where the power reserve indicator sat on the Datograph Up/Down, A. Lange & Söhne has now placed a moon phase indicator.
At 13.2mm high and 41mm wide in 18k white gold, the ref. 410.038 new for 2015 A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual will sit admirably on the wrist and really up the ante for what is already a high-end watch in the Datograph. If you are a fan of the collection but feel that adding a perpetual calendar and moon phase to the Datograph is too much, then the Datograph Rose Gold might be the model you are looking for since A. Lange & Söhne adds a higher-end as well as slightly lower-priced Datograph model for the 2015 model. The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual will be priced at 115,800 Euros while the Datograph Rose Gold will be priced at 64,500 Euros. alange-soehne.com
DATOGRAPH PERPETUAL Ref. 410.038 Tech Specs from A. Lange & Sohne
– Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L952.1; manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; plates and bridges made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand
– Movement parts: 556
– Bearing jewels: 45
– Screwed gold chatons: 4
– Escapement: Lever escapement
– Oscillator: Shock-resistant balance wheel with eccentric poising weights; balance spring manufactured in-house with a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour, precision beat-adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
– Power reserve: 36 hours when fully wound
– Functions: Time indicated in hours, minutes and subsidiary seconds with stop seconds; flyback chronograph with precisely jumping minute counter; tachymeter scale; perpetual calendar with date, day of week, month, moon phases and leap year; day/night indication
– Operating elements: Crown for winding the watch and setting the time, two pushers for operating the chronograph, rapid-correction pusher for collectively advancing all calendar displays, one recessed corrector each for adjusting the day of the week, the month and the moon phases
– Case dimensions: Diameter: 41.0 millimetres; height: 13.5 millimetres
– Movement dimensions: Diameter: 32.0 millimetres; height: 8.0 millimetres
– Case: White gold
– Dial: Solid silver, grey; subsidiary dials rhodié
– Hands: Hour and minute hands in rhodiumed gold, luminous; day, month and four-year hands in rhodiumed gold; chronograph sweep seconds hand, subsidiary seconds hand and minute counter hand in blued – steel
Crystal and back: Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)
– Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather strap, black
– Buckle: Lange prong buckle in white gold