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Review: A. Lange & Söhne Langematik

The Langematik and a little piece of history
by Chester Lau on August 27, 2016

First launched in 1997, the Langematik is the first self-winding watch from A. Lange & Söhne. A brave move by the brand and also a watershed release, the Langematik is arguably one of the most characteristic watches from the brand. Particularly due to its spectacular new manufacture movement; the L921.2 was one of Lange’s earliest achievements. Apart from the outstanding delivery of movement finishing, the watch also has a special seconds hand zero reset function when the crown is pulled.

 

langematic-platinum-oblique-crown

The A. Lange & Söhne Langematik in Platinum Ref. 301.025

 

The Case

The Langematik came in 2 closely related versions. One with a big date display, and the other as shown in the pictures here, a time only. The slim 8 mm case is modestly sized at 37 mm in diameter; discrete and slim proportions for a classic timepiece. The case is classically constructed, a regular 3 piece with a bezel, central case and case back. As many would say, the devil is in the details, and with Lange, the real crux of the manufacture’s value proposition lies in their movement finishing. All of which are put on display via the transparent caseback.

 

langematic-platinumThe watch case measures 37 mm in diameter and 8 mm in height. Note the patina gathered on the lume material on the dial, with a slight tint on the sapphire crystal.

 

The Dial

A simple layout with seconds at 6 and a peculiar arabic numeral at 12, the dial is a good harmony of the Saxonia and 1815 collection. A fun fact: the “Sax-O-Mat” Langematik is also frequently nicknamed the “Sexymat”, possibly due to the tantalizing lines and curves of the case or the euphemistic nomenclature. But one thing is for sure, the movement design is truly the “sexy” epicenter the piece.

 

langematic-platinum-dialup

The dial is superimposed with an arabic 12 and indexes in gold. The Lancet hands in white gold are rhodinated, with tritium lume on the surface.

 

 

langematic-platinum-back

The Langematik uses the L921.2 calibre, a self winding 3/4 rotor movement that beats at 21 600 A/h.

 

The Movement

The Langematik uses the L921.2 calibre, a self winding 3/4 rotor movement that beats at 21 600 A/h. The rotor is hand engraved and bi-directional winding. Also known as the “Dreiviertelrotor”(three-quarter rotor), the finely finished rotor is made in 21 k gold with a platinum periphery with 4 ball bearings in the gear change. The 3/4 rotor is stylistically different from the usual Swiss micro rotors, and the ornament decoration is congruous to the manufacture’s Saxony heritage. As per Lange’s usual choice of movement materials, the movement plates bridges are made with german silver; which gains a good oxidized patina over time. We especially appreciate the patina effect, although it is in essence simply a ‘tarnishing’ of the metal. Perhaps this tarnish is more symbolic for watch collectors; in particular the allusion that the watch is a living thing which ages with time, once a prerogative of living organisms.

 

l921-rotor

The hand engraved bi-directional winding “Dreiviertelrotor”(three-quarter rotor) in 21 k gold and platinum periphery with 4 ball bearings in the gear change.

 

l921-balance

The Langematik uses a Glucydur screwed balance and a Nivarox hairspring complete with a swan-neck precision regulator. Beat adjustments are made via a micrometer screw.

The L921 calibre is finished to Lange’s standards, with the emblematic Glashütte ribbing on the bridges, perlage on the lower plates, a mixture of black polish and anglage to complete the full picture. The results; a superbly well-finished movement with a layout that is almost theatrical. It also uses a Glucydur screwed balance and Nivarox hairspring with swan-neck precision regulator. For those of us who are curious about Lange’s hairspring manufacturing abilities, and if it uses its own springs; A. Lange & Söhne only started production of balance springs 10 years after its rebirth in 1994. In fact only some of their models use their own spring, namely the large free-spring balance models, the Double Split and Datograph chronographs and the Richard Lange tribute watch. It is also notable that the German company delivers its springs only to sister brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre, by association of their Richemont parentage and ran by the same leader, Günter Blümlein.

All in all, the watch is a fine example of A. Lange & Söhne’s watch making expertise in the late 90s; a period rife with socio-political and economic turmoil. Without doubt, the manufacture is a winner who emerged from the rubble of the Soviet Union, that has proven itself to be a brand to be reckoned with for many years to come.

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