Heartbeat: 1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst By A. Lange & Söhne
Normally, we like to keep our “heartbeats” short.
But I have a little explaining to do this time.
I love the new 1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst by A. Lange & Söhne. Let me tell you why.
2015 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the founder of both the illustrious watch manufacture A. Lange & Söhne in Glashütte and also the entire watch industry that grew up around it in Saxony.
To celebrate this milestone date, A. Lange & Söhne book-ended the year with special watches.
At the SIHH in January 2015, the company introduced an updated version of its classic Lange 1 as well as the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, the world’s first decimal minute repeating wristwatch with digital display.
Then in February – coinciding with the opening of the “Simple and Perfect: Saxony’s Path into the World of International Watchmaking” exhibition in Dresden’s Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (MPS) – the brand introduced a 200-piece platinum limited edition of the 1815 with a deep black lacquer dial to celebrate the date of Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s birth on February 18, 1815.
December 7, 2015
December 7 is also a meaningful date for A. Lange & Söhne: on this day, the company was founded in 1845. And on this day in 1990 it was re-founded by his great-grandson Walter Lange.
So December 7 is always a day in the year for celebration at A. Lange & Söhne. And this year, it was used to present the final limited edition in honor of this celebratory year: the 1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst.
Now, I am going to admit something to you. I am one of those strange people (though I’m certainly not alone) who far prefer the asymmetrical look of the Lange 1 to the classic look of the 1815 line.
But this version of that more conventional-looking watch has truly captured my heart thanks to its absolutely stunning dial and movement bridges engraved in the tremblage style that A. Lange & Söhne’s engravers have mastered so well.
That stunning dial is not easy to create: it comprises 18-karat pink gold that has been hand-engraved for two days in the painstaking style that makes the granular structure, then coated with black rhodium. The glossy, high-polished, applied gold elements including the logo and numerals make for a stunning contrast.
And the inside of this watch is just as interesting as the outside, with its decorated-to-perfection plates and bridges and exquisitely chamfered inside angles.
The tourbillon visible through the cutaway in the dial at 6 o’clock is mechanically interesting in that it also contains A. Lange & Söhne’s patented zero-reset and stop-seconds mechanism.
To my knowledge, this is a world first.
Generous, classy, human
But there’s another reason that this event once again won me over and reminded me why I love this brand so much: on the celebratory evening in Dresden’s famous Albertinum, A. Lange & Söhne CEO Wilhelm Schmid said something that I can’t help but think is just the cat’s meow, particularly at a time when people are so divided over issues that should never have become issues in the first place.
Every year on the evening of December 7 since Schmid has been CEO of the Saxon brand, he has announced two things. One is the winner of the brand’s “scholarship,” which sees a young watchmaker win a competition to help further his studies.
The other has to do with the gifts that most corporate entities give their partners, customers, clients, and special friends when they attend an event. A. Lange & Söhne chooses not to do this – instead using the money that would have been spent for a local charitable donation.
This year A. Lange & Söhne is using that money to provide German lessons for five refugees. Should these five be able to satisfactorily learn the language, A. Lange & Söhne will then educate them in the fine art of watchmaking – thereby providing career opportunities for these unfortunate souls.
In Schmid’s view, this undertaking stems directly from the company’s original values. “It is our way of keeping Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s spiritual legacy alive,” he said in his heartfelt address to the close to 200 guests.
While this might seem like a drop in the bucket when you consider that Germany has now taken in one million refugees, every little bit helps.
With this announcement, Schmid shows that both he and A. Lange & Söhne are as human, generous, and classy as it gets.
For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com/1815-tourbillon-handwerkskunst.
Case: pink gold, 39.5 x 11.1 mm
Movement: manually wound Caliber L102.1 with one-minute tourbillon with stop-seconds and zero-reset functions; untreated German silver plates and bridges with tremblage engraving
Dial: black rhodium-plated pink gold dial with tremblage engraving
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 30 pieces