Last week I had the good fortune to get my hands on the sublime Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst, and of course I just had to share it with you.
The Lange 1 Tourbillon
Created as part of the celebration of Lange & Sohne’s 20th Anniversary – the company was technically founded in 1990 but only considers itself officially a “brand” since 1994, following the launch of its first collections – the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is one of those super-cool watches that reminds you just why you love the German watchmaker so much in the first place.
Understated in every way, including the positively tiny 38.5mm platinum case – absolute perfection on the wrist by the way – the 20th Anniversary Lange 1 Tourbillon almost doesn’t do justice to its “Handwerkskunst” moniker. Almost. Look a little closer however and you will see that there is an infinite amount of tiny details waiting to be discovered.
The highlight for me is undoubtedly the gorgeous black enamel dial, although sadly its beauty is just impossible to reproduce in pictures. I love how the hour markers and hands in rhodium gold contrast against this black as night backdrop, guaranteeing a high level of legibility without the need for contrasting colors. The same goes for the Lange 1’s trademark outsize date display, which features grey numerals on a black background, easy to read and yet oh so understated.
A small seconds dial is sunken into the main dial at 8 o’clock, whilst at 5 o’clock a small aperture reveals the superbly finished tourbillon mechanism, complete with a tourbillon cock that has undergone a challenging black polishing technique. Meanwhile the contours of the aperture feature meticulously polished chamfers that capture the light as you move your wrist around.
In fact the only problem with the dial of Lange 1 Tourbillon is that to fully appreciate its beauty you need to see it in person, which take it from me is no mean feat. Only 20 pieces were made and all of them have been sold. In fact this is the first time an example has even made its way to the Lange Boutique in New York, so if you want to see one in the flesh, now is the time.
That being said, the dial is of course only one part of the story here. For a real treat turn the piece over and gaze upon the beauty Lange’s L961.3 manufacture movement, which features a three-quarter plate hewn from untreated German silver which has been refined with very subtle solarisations. Meanwhile elaborate relief engraving adorn the tourbillon bridge, crown wheel and intermediate wheel cocks, ensuring you have plenty of small details to stare it.
For me the Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is a fantastic watch at an equally fantastic price, $221,700. Although I could never hope to own one myself (mainly because they’ve all been sold already, of course) I do believe you can really see and feel the value and the quality of the craftsmanship when you hold this piece.
So as I said, be sure to head to the Lange & Sohne Boutique on Madison Ave in New York to check it out sooner rather than later, as who knows how long they will have the model there.
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