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Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst Review

by Peter Chong on October 26, 2014

A. Lange & Söhne celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Lange 1. Introduced to the public for the first time on October 24, 1994, the unique design of the assymetric dial of the Lange 1 has stood the test of time, and remains largely unchanged for the last 20 years.

To celebrate this timeless classic, Lange introduced the new, spectacular Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst with a black enamel dial on October 24, 2014; exactly 20 years after the historic unveiling to the day. The Deployant team was there to cover the event, and provide you with these first hand photographs, and our review of the watch.

Romy Zimmermann, in the main photograph was responsible for making the black enamel dial. Zimmermann had started her career in Lange as a engraving student, and mastered the art of enameling. Insert on the lower left shows her painting the coloured glass on the dial. Once fired in the oven the blue colour turns black. On upper left, the insert shows Tony de Haas, Director of Product Development introducing the new Lange 1 Handwerkskunst.

Romy Zimmermann, in the main photograph was responsible for making the black enamel dial. Zimmermann had started her career in Lange as a engraving student, and mastered the art of enameling. She is responsible for hand making each dial used in this limited edition series of 20 watches.
Insert on the lower left shows her painting the coloured glass on the dial. Once fired in the oven the blue colour turns black.
On upper left, the insert shows Tony de Haas, Director of Product Development introducing the new Lange 1 Handwerkskunst.

 

The new watch, made to a limited edition size of only 20 watches is rather special to Lange as it carries the title Handwerkskunst. The tongue twister to non German speaker, handwerkskunst translates to English as Craftsmanship. This meant that the watch not only had to feature the iconic Lange design, but to also carry additional hand work to qualify for the title. and the caliber

 

The Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst. A fitting tribute to the 20 years of the classic design of the Lange 1.

The Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst. A fitting tribute to the 20 years of the classic design of the Lange 1.

 

The watch remains at 38.5mm case diameter and 10.5mm case height. And within, it carries the caliber L961.3, the third iteration of the Lange 1 tourbillon. In its first iteration, it carried a tourbillon which rotates in a counter clockwise fashion, with a cutout on the dial to show the tourbillon. On the second iteration, it was encased in a honey coloured gold case, and the tourbillon was updated with the patented stop seconds mechanism. And in this third version, the movement is slightly modified to increase the pinion heights to accomodate the thicker enamel dial.

 

The massive white gold main dial is covered in black enamel. The enamel on the dial is deep, dark but rich. The subsidiary seconds hand is in solid silver and anodized to provide a slight contrast. The black polished rhodiumed gold hands, the applique markers and brilliantly polished tourbillon cock provide a high contrast to the black enamel.

The massive white gold main dial is covered in black enamel. The enamel on the dial is deep, dark but rich. The subsidiary seconds hand is in solid silver and anodized to provide a slight contrast.
The black polished rhodiumed gold hands, the applique markers and brilliantly polished tourbillon cock provide a high contrast to the black enamel.

 

The dial itself is a master piece. The main dial is a massive white gold dial, with black enamel, and the subsidiary seconds hands is on a separate slightly recessed sub-dial made of solid silver, anodized black.

 

Detail of the tourbillon cock, showing the specular polished finishing and the high polish of the anglage. Note also the 4 inward pointing angles on the opening, and the diamond endstone. Also visible is the tourbillon carriage, also highly polished and finished.

Detail of the tourbillon cock, showing the specular polished finishing and the high polish of the anglage. Note also the 4 inward pointing angles on the opening, and the diamond endstone. These are slightly rounded. Compare these to the inward angles on the movement side. However, it is noted that the tourbillon cock on the dial side is made of steel, a much harder material than the 3/4 plate used in the movement, where the inward angles are executed par excellence with very sharp ends.
Also visible is the tourbillon carriage, also highly polished and finished.

 

This dark dial provides the contrast for the mirror polished rhodiumed gold hands and applique markers, and to the specular polished and chamfered tourbillon cock in steel carrying the emblematic diamond endstone, signifying the top quality of the watch.

 

The Lange caliber L961.3. With hand engraving on the two cocks and the central medallion. Note also the many inwrd and outward angles on the openings on the 3.4 plate to show the double barrels and part of the movement wheels. These are particularly difficult to execute perfectly, and the way it is delivered here shows Lange's mastery.

The Lange caliber L961.3. With hand engraving on the two cocks and the central medallion. Note also the many inward and outward angles on the openings on the 3.4 plate to show the double barrels and part of the movement wheels.
These are particularly difficult to execute perfectly, and the way it is delivered here shows Lange’s mastery.

 

Though bearing the moniker Handwerkskunst, the additional work on the movement plates demonstrates a degree of maturity in the design team with the restraint in over-decorating.

 

Hand engraving on the tourbillon cock and the cock holding the third wheel which drives the tourbillon pinion.

Hand engraving on the tourbillon cock and the cock holding the third wheel which drives the tourbillon pinion. Note the diamond endstone in its gold chaton which is held by three blued steel screws signifying the noble origins of the tourbillon and high level of finishing traditionally used in Quality 1A watches by Lange.

 

Only the tourbillon cock and the third wheel cock is hand engraved, together with a medallion on the hatch covering the middle of the 3/4 plate which holds the jewel to the cannon pinion. The 3/4 plate itself is opened up to show the double barrel and part of the wheel train.

 

Hand engraving, but with restraint.

Hand engraving, but with restraint.

 

The way these openings are made are magnificent and true to the spirit of a hand worked watch. The openings feature beautifully anglaged sides, but also many inward and outward angles. These angles can only be completed by hand, and is used as a mark of high virtuosity in watchmaking. Bravo to Lange for not taking the easy road by smoothening the lines of the openings, but for taking the high road to execute them with these beautiful and sensuous angles.

 

The magnificent sensuous curves of the openings, ending in sharp inward angles. Also the gold chatons holding the jewels held in place by blued steel screws.

The magnificent sensuous curves of the openings, ending in sharp inward angles.
Also the gold chatons holding the jewels held in place by blued steel screws.

 

The watch case is only available in platinum, and retains the 38,5mm case diameter of the earlier Lange 1 Tourbillon and indeed even the original Lange 1 introduced in 1994.

 

The Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskundst and the original Lange 1 from circa 1997. Timeless classic.

The Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskundst and the original Lange 1 from circa 1997. Timeless classic.

 

We think this watch is a great triumph in the characteristic discrete style of Lange, and carries the Lange 1 flag on to the next 20 years and beyond. Is it worth the asking price of €179.000 (German retail with VAT)? What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst on the wrist. Perfect as was the original in the background. 38.5mm and very comfortable on the wrist.

Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst on the wrist. Perfect as was the original in the background. 38.5mm and very comfortable on the wrist.

 

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