A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with Pink Gold Dial
The Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon was first introduced at SIHH 2016. The most sophisticated watch of the Datograph sub-family, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is equipped with a perpetual calendar mechanism and a tourbillon on top of its base chronograph movement. It was only available in platinum with a suave black dial, that is, until this year. Enter the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with pink gold dial. Most commonly associated with a certain fish (hint: it rhymes with sermon), this particular hue on the dial is a first for the illustrious German manufacture.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
Case specifications for the new Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon remain unchanged; at 41.5 mm x 14.6 mm, it is only negligibly bigger than either the Datograph or the Datograph Perpetual. The case is built and finished in the typical Lange way – overbuilt, with a distinctive brushed case band and all-round immaculate. The pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock are to start, stop and reset the chronograph, as well as trigger its flyback function. Meanwhile, the pusher at 10 o’clock advances every single calendar display at once, which is mighty convenient.
The only changes made to the dial are material and cosmetic; its layout is untouched. True to its name, the new pink gold dial is indeed made of solid pink gold – no expense spared. It is given the standard matte opaline finish with fine concentric guilloche on the sub-dials. For legibility, black print is used instead of white, which was utilised in the black-dialed platinum model. The outsize date has also been changed to the more conventional black on white from the white on black in the debuting model. Lange have also swapped out the white gold chronograph seconds, chronograph minutes and running seconds hands for blued steel ones for added flair.
It is most interesting indeed to see Lange tag along in the uprising ‘salmon-dial’ trend. In recent years, we’ve seen Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Laurent Ferrier, and even Montblanc come up with salmon-dial watches. Admittedly, they all look fantastic, and so does the new Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. But with each new salmon-dial watch release, the less appealing it becomes; this is how trends eventually die. On the bright side, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon got onto the bandwagon relatively early on, and the fact that it is a totally novel dial colour for the manufacturer meant that a warm reception by the watch cognoscenti was inevitable. Even putting aside the novelty effect, the new dial still deserves all the plaudits. It has an absurdly mesmerising warmth to it, and the fact that it is not just a galvanised dial makes it even better. If the black dial/platinum version is the one with the dark and brooding good looks, this pink gold dial/white gold version is its long lost, charismatic Italian cousin.
The new Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with pink gold dial is powered by the Calibre L952.2, the same movement found in the seminal platinum version of the watch. It features the iconic layout of the Datograph’s chronograph mechanism, with the addition of a tourbillon, all visible through the case back. Though unseen, the Calibre L952.2 also boasts a perpetual calendar mechanism (located just beneath the dial) and an interesting peripheral power reserve indicator. The balance beats at a lazy, almost hypnotic 2.5 Hz, most likely as a means to conserve much needed power.
As one would expect of a watch from the Datograph series, movement finishing is impeccable. Arguably the most striking part of the entire movement is the tourbillon cage, which is beautifully black polished with chamfered edges. Supporting the tourbillon mechanism is a skeletonised, black polished cock with a diamond endstone. The German silver bridges are adorned with Glashütte ribbing and polished bevels. Also seen are interior and exterior angling, which are tell tale signs of high finishing, as well as heat-blued screws, gold chatons, and perlage. Suffice to say, the Calibre L952.2 may well be the most aesthetically stunning movement of its kind today.
The Competitive Landscape
The new Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with pink gold dial retails at EUR285,000 inclusive of tax. It is priced approximately EUR10,000 less than the platinum variant. Competition at this level of watchmaking and movement complexity is hard to come by – the air is much thinner the higher up you go – but that’s not to say that it does not exist.
While strictly speaking missing a tourbillon, the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5270P is as close as it gets to the new Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon in terms of both functionality and looks. The Ref. 5270P was the watch that really started the most recent salmon-dial trend when it debuted in Baselworld 2018. The reference at large is known for its supremely legible dial layout; it would not be far-fetched to say that the Ref. 5270 is the most legible perpetual calendar chronograph available in the current market. The casing of the Ref. 5270P is rendered in platinum, and is far more nuanced than the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. The same, however, cannot be said about the watch’s movement aesthetics. Make no mistake, the Calibre CH 29-535 PS Q is opulently adorned (and more modern), but it is simply not at the same level as the Calibre L952.2. The Ref. 5270P, with a single diamond set into the bottom of the case, is priced at EUR168,340.
Though quite a different type of timepiece from a design perspective, the Breguet Marine Equation Marchante 5887 is an equally sophisticated piece, with not just a perpetual calendar and a tourbillon, but also a running equation of time function (more in our in-depth review here). The dial is luxuriously decorated with two different styles of engine-turning, both aptly depicting waves of the sea. The Calibre 581 DPE utilises a peripheral winding rotor and is delicately chased to depict in meticulous detail the Royal Louis, a first rank vessel in the French Royal Navy. The Breguet Marine Equation Marchanted 5887 is priced between the Lange Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon and the Patek Philippe Ref. 5270. All three timepiece are, however, equally worthy of respect.
While it can be argued that Lange are trend-following here, they’ve done so via the costlier, classier route with a solid pink gold dial. And the outcome is outstanding. The Lange Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with pink gold dial is a crowd favourite, and for good reason.