“Sex on a stick.” That was only one of the juicy thoughts that ran through my head as I spied the these two new releases by A. Lange & Söhne at the 2016 edition of SIHH. The signature low-key style that this brand is known for in this case means that the tourbillons are not visible from the front, either. Please meet the two perpetual calendar tourbillons that really mean grailworthy business.
February 18 was an eventful day, both in 1815 when Ferdinand Adolph Lange first saw the light of day in Dresden, Germany, and in 2015 when A. Lange & Söhne celebrated the landmark date with a limited edition platinum 1815 model with black dial.
Ninety years is a ripe old age to reach for anyone, and few actually reach it. But it doesn’t surprise me that Walter Lange has reached this age so gracefully. He was, after all, 66 – retirement age for most people – in 1990 when he embarked upon the new business venture with Günter Blümlein to refound his family’s birthright.
The year 2013 was a stellar moment for the rare grand complication, as the SIHH quickly demonstrated. Not only did A. Lange & Söhne present its oeuvre, but to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the sporty, contemporary Royal Oak Offshore, Audemars Piguet also introduced one of these complex masterpieces.
This automatic timepiece includes three of the traditional complications that a watch earning the right to this title should include: minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and (split-seconds) chronograph. The latter, in fact, has most unusually been included as a rattrapante in all of the brand’s grand complications since 1882. Though throughout its long history Audemars Piguet has focused on the traditional side of horology; the advent of the evergreen Royal Oak – the first luxury sports watch – in 1972 added a distinctly sporty side to this manufacture’s classic offerings.
Traditionally, the right to be called a grand complication is reserved for timepieces containing at least three of horology’s most difficult complications: a chronograph or split-seconds chronograph; an astronomical complication such as a perpetual calendar; and a striking complication, e.g repeater or sonnerie. Naturally, these rules are unwritten and therefore subject to interpretation.