Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar – now sans tourbillon – the comprehensive review

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The 2021 crop of Lange novelties remains as interesting as it has ever been from the manufacture in Glashütte. And the most exciting for us has certainly been this Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, now available without the tourbillon. Here is our comprehensive hands-on review of the limited edition version in the white gold case, pink gold dial.

The 2021 Watches and Wonders announcement by A. Lange & Söhne released the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar in two versions. The first is a limited edition of 150 pieces in a white gold case and pink gold dial as reviewed here. And the second version is not limited, and in a pink gold case with a grey dial.

Ref. 345.056 is limited to 150 pieces in the white gold case, pink gold dial.
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An earlier version of this Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar was released in combination of a magnifiicent tourbillon in 2012. This was, and still is the only Lange tourbillon which is not displayed through an aperture on the dial, but only to be admired from the case back.

Here is our review of the original Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar.

and the 25th Anniversary Edition of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar.

Review: A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar

Reference: 345.056 is limited to 150 pieces in the white gold case, has a retail price of SGD 157,300 inclusive of GST / EUR 109.000 inclusive of German VAT. And the non-limited Reference: 345.033 in the pink gold case retails for SGD 141,700 inclusive of GST / EUR 98.000 inclusive of German VAT.

The first perpetual calendar by Lange was announced 20 years ago in Baselworld 2001, when they presented the Langematic Perpetual. This was followed by seven further models, in combination with other complications, such as a chronograph, a tourbillon or both. This is the second, after the original Langematic Perpetual, to be presented with only a perpetual calendar standing on its own.

The case, dial and hands

The case is the classic Lange case. The review sample is the limited edition in white gold. The case features the familiar curved, bombe styled bezel which is polished, a case middle which is finished in a straight grain brushed band within two high polished sides, and a back bezel which is brushed and engraved. The lugs are soldered onto the case middle, and is faceted with a high polish finish.

The special character of this limited edition model is that the dial is made of pink gold. Typical Lange dials are in solid silver and galvanized to produce the hue required. This is the case in the non-limited Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Ref. 345.033 in a pink gold case and a solid silver dial galvanized in grey.

Refl. 345.033 in the pink gold case, grey dial.

However, the Ref. 345.056 is a solid pink gold dial. One might be tempted to call the hue salmon, but this will cause Tony de Haas, Product Development Director, to exclaim, “We did not go fishing!”. Salmon or not, the colour is the true expression of a solid pink gold dial, we must say it is highly attractive.

The hands are colour coded in white gold, with white gold appliqué for the hour markers – Roman numerals for the 12, 3, 6 and 9 hours, and rhomboid for the rest. The other perpetual calendar markers are transfer printed in black. Noteworthy is also the outsized date is black Arabic numerals over a white background within a white gold frame.

The annular ring where the hour markers sit are concentric circles, as is the seconds subdial. The moiré pattern you see on the hour minute sub-dial at the 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock markers, and on the seconds sub-dial are artifacts of downsizing from the original 39Mp image.

The peculiarity of the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is the simple, clear and efficient dial layout, which is the same as the one used in the Daymatic – the automatic version of the original Lange 1. The dial is basically a mirror reflection – left to right, of the iconic Lange 1, with the date window at about 10 o’clock, the seconds hands at 8 o’clock, with the power reserve in between replaced by a day of the week retrograde indicator. The hour minute sub-dial on the right hand side.

In the Perpetual Calendar, a small moonphase display sits below the seconds sub-dial. The moonphase display is combined with a day/night indicator and is manifested in two layers – a solid gold celestial disc and a moon disc. The background is the celestial disc with a blue gradation which makes one full revolution on its own axis every 24 hours. Against this background, the moon, in white gold with its galaxy of stars sits on a sapphire glass disc performs its synodic orbit in 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds. The moonphase is accurate to 1 day every 122.6 years.

A triangular aperture shows the 4 year indication with 1 through 3 in Arabic numerals in black over white, and the leap year in red over white. The month ring surrounds the main dial, and makes one complete revolution every 12 months. All indications are instantaneously jumping.

The movement – caliber L021.3

The movement is the magnificent caliber L021.3, a derivative of the original Daymatic movement which is L021.1. It is fitted with a newly developed winding mechanism which includes a unidirectional winding rotor in 21kt gold and a centrifugal mass in platinum. This is s full sized rotor, which carries the design DNA of the original Langematic rotor, and is a aesthetic masterpiece of textures. The movement uses an eccentric mass inertial free sprung balance, already employed in the L021.1. The power reserve is 50 hours, running at 21,600 bph.

As is usual for Lange movements, the L021.3 is a joy to behold. The haute horlogerie elements are all executed par excellence. No nits to pick here. Just the usual superlative decorations lavished on a Lange movement is seen through the sapphire case back. From anglage to Glashütte ribbing, to hand engraving on the balance cock, to the high polished swan neck arrangement, to the magnificent gold chatons held by blued screws for all the visible jewels. Even the perlage is beautiful. All extremely well done. Top marks in this department.

The competitive landscape

The competitive landscape for perpetual calendars is rather vast. After all, this is a classical complication that every serious haute horlogerie maison must attempt. And indeed most have. From Vacheron Constantin, to Audemars Piguet. From Jaeger-LeCoultre to Blancpain. From even Citizen to Ulysse Nardin. From Greubel Forsey to Moser and MB&F. There are many vying for love in this space. And there is much to love.

But singling out one, we must pick the new (2021 debutant) Patek Philippe Calatrava Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P. (Full review soon!). This is also a magnificent perpetual calendar – in a non-traditional (read traditional perpetual = cluttered) dial, with an in-line calendar display. The retail pricing is also very similar, with the Patek 5236P coming in at a retail price of SGD 171,500 in a platinum case.

Concluding thoughts

The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is a truly magnificent watch. The aesthetics are spell binding. Captivating. The play of the colours of white gold and the pink gold dial is sublime. The thought process behind putting the perpetual calendar module around the dial, so that the aesthetics of the Lange 1 (Daymatic) can be preserved cannot be over emphasized. And the execution. What can we say. This is a true Lange. Execution is near perfect….we would say perfect, but we fear offending the gods for only they are perfect, and the Lange 1, as fabulous as it is, is only the product of human minds and hands. But what genius minds and hands!

On the wrist, it looks even more magnificent. The 41.9mm case diameter sits so well on the wrist, it might have been born there.

In summary, we are reminded of an anecdote, which we have told in the 2012 article of the Launch of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, and during the Connoisseur Conversations of Watches and Wonders 2021. But we think it stands re-telling. During the unveiling of the Langematic Perpetual in 2001, our Chief Editior was less than fully impressed with the dial layout of the Langematic Perpetual. He expressed this to Günther Blümlein. Too common…too similar to the Patek 3940. Too classical. He challenged Blümlein to make a perpetual calendar, but to have it in a Lange 1 dial layout. “Impossible”, the great maestro declared…and went on to explain why technically it is impossible to do so. But yet, in Geneva on SIHH 2012, Lange unveiled the Lange 1 with a perpetual calendar and tourbillon. And again for 2021, the Lange 1 with perpetual calendar, and sans tourbillon. Bravo Tony! Bravo Tino! You have done what was impossible in 2001. Again in 2021. And we are sure Blümlein is surely smiling as he looks down from his resting place.

Photo notes

Photographed in-situ at the Lange Boutique in ION Orchard, Singapore. Hasselblad H3D-39 with HC 4/120 and HC 2.8/80 with H28 extension tube. Profoto strobes.

Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Technical Specifications

References 345.033 / 345.056

Lange manufacture calibre L021.3, self-winding, 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; unidirectional winding rotor in 21-carat gold with an additional centrifugal mass in platinum; balance cock engraved by hand
Movement parts 621
Jewels 63
Screwed gold chatons 5
Escapement Lever escapement
Oscillation system Shock-resistant cam-poised balance; balance spring manufactured in-house, frequency 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour
Power reserve 50 hours when fully wound

Time indicated in hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds; perpetual calendar with precisely jumping displays for the outsize date, the day of the week, the month, and leap year; moon-phase display with integrated day/night indicator
Operating elements
Crown for winding the watch and setting the time; correctors for advancing all calendar displays or separately correcting the month, day of the week, and moon phase

Case dimensions
Diameter: 41.9 millimetres; height: 12.1 millimetres
Movement Diameter: 35.8 millimetres; height: 8.8 millimetres

18-carat pink gold / 18-carat white gold
Crystal and caseback Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)
Solid silver, grey / Solid pink gold
Pink gold, hour and minute luminous / Rhodiumed gold
Leather strap, red brown / Leather strap, dark brown
Prong buckle in 18-carat pink gold / Prong buckle in 18-carat white gold


1 Comment

  1. Kunal Khemka on

    Peter, Excellent review. When you consider this is priced almost 1/3 of the version with Tourbillon, it actually seems like a ‘bargain’. For me this is the most amazing perpetual calendar.