As if the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon wasn’t special enough, the Glashutte-based watchmaker today has added another level of rarity to this technically interesting example of the firm’s understated elegance.
Already known as the watch that features tourbillon stop-seconds and zero-reset functions, which A. Lange & Söhne combined and debuted to much acclaim four years ago, the 1815 Tourbillon today receives an equally compelling and complicated white enamel dial—a first for this particular watch.
As an additional bow to exclusivity, the watch will be cased in platinum, and made as a limited edition of 100.
A. Lange & Söhne has long made a point of combining precision-based technical advances with classically designed dials and cases. But, as explained by Anthony de Haas, director of product development at A. Lange & Söhne, the enamel dial here accentuates the watch’s classic design, which is adapted from the company’s pocket watches, known for Arabic numerals, a “chemin de fer” (railway-track) minute scale and blued steel hands.
“The basic idea was to build a credible bridge from the origins of watchmaking to the present,” De Haas explained in an interview provided by the watchmaker. To specifically denote that bridge, you’ll see a red 12 at the top of the dial, which De Haas says is another nod to the history of fine watchmaking.
“It brought liveliness to the dial of a pocket watch –and does it still today.” He adds that this dedication to historic authenticity comes at a price: That red numeral 12 has to be printed separately and baked alone during the dial making process.
The two (patented) mechanisms (stop seconds and zero reset) allow the watch to be stopped and then set with one-second accuracy. A. Lange & Söhne devised the first zero-reset function in 1997 for the Langematik and then in 2008 patented the tourbillon stop seconds function separately.
“While a stop-seconds mechanism is quite common in a modern wristwatch, it was for a long time not to be found in a tourbillon movement,” explains de Haas. “The reason is that it was considered to be impossible to stop the oscillating balance wheel inside the rotating tourbillon cage.”
A. Lange & Söhne solved this problem with a V-shaped braking spring.
That spring reliably stops the balance wheel, even if one arm of the spring is resting against one of the three cage posts, De Haas adds. “By interacting with the added zero-reset system, the tourbillon cage stops instantaneously and the seconds hand jumps to the zero position, much like in a chronograph. That makes it easy to synchronize the watch to the second.”
The white enamel dial, at first glance anyway, may understate the time-consuming processes required for A. Lange & Söhne to make any of the dials for this limited edition.
“Enamel is capricious and can’t be hurried,” explains De Haas. “The process takes several days, during which the various steps have to be repeated over and over again. Absolute cleanliness is paramount because the inclusion of even the smallest particle of dust or dirt would mar the flawless surface.”
As the thirty-part process requires multiple layers of enamel and utilizes a copper base rather than a solid silver dial, the case of the 1815 Tourbillon measures 11.1mm high, exactly 0.2mm higher than previous editions.
To anyone not familiar with the enameling process, the watch’s large aperture at 6 o’clock is perhaps the only dial-side clear indication of the complexity within this watch. Within the opening you’ll find the one-minute tourbillon, suspended beneath an ethereal black polished bridge.
By turning the watch over you can immediately see the full extent of the A. Lange & Söhne’s mechanical precision. There, in all its glory, is a beautifully finished manufacture caliber L102.1, visible through the sapphire-crystal caseback. The movement is crowned by a diamond end stone in a screwed gold chaton on the fourth-wheel bridge that has been adorned with freehand engraving.
The 39.5mm platinum-cased 1815 Tourbillon is equipped with a black hand-stitched alligator leather strap secured with a solid-platinum deployant buckle. Price: $197,200
Specifications: A. Lange & Söhne 1815 TOURBILLON (Ref. 730.079F)
Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L102.1, manually wound, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; plates and bridges made of untreated German silver; seconds bridge engraved by hand, 72-hours power reserve, shock-resistant screw balance; balance spring manufactured in-house with a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour
Functions: Time indicated in hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds; one-minute tourbillon with patented stop-seconds mechanism and patented zero-reset mechanism, Crown for winding the watch, setting the time, and activating the zero-reset mechanism
Dial: Copper, white enamel with blued steel hands
Case: 39.5 mm by 11.3 mm platinum
Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather, black, Lange deployant buckle in platinum
More details: https://www.alange-soehne.com/en/1815-tourbillon