Without a shadow of a doubt, Lange is a powerhouse in contemporary watchmaking — that the flippin’ Death Star that gradually moves in the huge horological space, filled with little planets of miserable but strangely likable brands. If sheer engineering awesomeness and high quality of execution could somehow permit a watch to shoot lasers, I would expect to find that a Lange do it first — and there is no purpose to coming moment in that game, is there?The Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour le Mérite’ is still another weapon in the manufacture’s armada that testifies to the excellence and nearly frightening know-how of Lange — and for this, I admire it without a morsel of reservation. But, strangely, for exactly the very same reasons, somehow it is still overshadowed by additional bits in Lange’s range that are, in their own ways, equally striking, but much more Lange. Think of some of these three incredible Zeitwerks (hands-on here), the badass Lange 1 Lumen (hands-on) or, of course, the Datograph.After all is done and said, watching the Tourbograph Perpetual hands-on was a unforgettable and amazing encounter, because it damn well should be for any authentic watch enthusiast — however why I am awaiting SIHH 2018 would be to find out more Lange 1s and Zeitwerks, not just muscle-flexing, irrespective how impressive it is.
Given its mechanical architecture, the Zeitwerk calibre offers all the prerequisites for the integration of a striking mechanism: a large amount of energy is built up for advancing its mechanical, precisely jumping numerals displays. As was already the case with the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater and the Zeitwerk Striking Time, this energy can be put to good use by an automatic striking mechanism. In the new model, it relies on two differently tuned gongs to indicate the full hours as well as the ten-minute intervals between the start of one hour and the next. The two hammers that are visible on the dial side consist of polished steel and, like the hammer bridge, are decorated with a tremblage engraving. The hammer on the left strikes the low-pitched gong once every full hour. The right-hand hammer sounds a higher-pitched tone every ten minutes, or in other words, every time a new ten-minute interval begins.
The large jumping numerals display of this new timepiece assures excellent legibility. In one-minute intervals, the units disc instantly advances by exactly one increment. The patented constant-force escapement between the mainspring barrel and the balance delivers the power. It makes sure that the balance has a constant amount of energy across the entire power reserve period. The high-pitched tone sounds every time the tens disc advances; at the start of the hour, when the low-pitched tone is struck, all three numeral discs jump synchronously by one increment. The striking mechanism can be switched off. When the button at 4 o’clock is pressed, the hammers are deflected away from the gongs. This also happens when the crown is pulled to set the time.
With this limited edition of 100 watches, A. Lange & Söhne innovates with a new material as well. The 44.2 millimetres case of the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike is made of honey gold, a material used exclusively by A. Lange & Söhne. The manually wound calibre L043.7 has a maximum power reserve of 36 hours. Lange-typical quality hallmarks include the three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver and decorated with Glashütte ribbing, the hand-engraved balance cock, and a cam-poised balance with a free-sprung hairspring crafted in-house.