Simple Complexity: The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar

by Jamie Tan

A modern icon in watchmaking meets a classic high complication.

A. Lange & Söhne has extended its Lange 1 line-up this year with the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. This new model looks similar to the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, which has been part of the collection since 2012. On a technical level, however, it is actually a separate development, and not a tweaked version of its sibling with the tourbillon removed. Eagle-eyed connoisseurs will spot the small differences in the dials’ layouts that hint at this.

Distinct design, classic complication

Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar

A. Lange & Söhne is obviously no stranger to high complications. The perpetual calendar, which the brand first introduced in a wristwatch 20 years ago with the Langematik Perpetual, is no exception.

To have the perpetual calendar in the Lange 1 entails unique challenges though. Chief among them is the model’s strong design language that, despite its asymmetry, actually obeys the Golden Ratio for its various elements’ relative proportions – and positions. This demands finesse in terms of integrating the perpetual calendar into the timepiece’s design, lest the former’s myriad indicators crowd the dial to create an incoherent mess.

A look at the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar will reveal that the brand has long overcome this constraint. But why stop there? In the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, A. Lange & Söhne has taken things a step further.

A seamless, cohesive whole

The changes are seen in the sub-dial at seven o’clock, which houses the familiar small seconds and moon phase displays. Hidden in plain sight is a third indicator: the day/night display sitting behind the moon disc. Its mechanism is simple, and consists of a graduated blue disc that makes a complete rotation every 24 hours to display a shade of blue that corresponds to the time of the day.

In contrast to its simplicity, the integration of the day/night display is anything but. Instead, it’s a master stroke to merge this complication into an “existing” aperture to achieve a cleaner, more elegant look. It’s A. Lange & Söhne’s modus operandi to make iterative tweaks wherever possible, while also doing more with less, and both these approaches have come together in this little section of the dial.

Moon phase and day/night indicators aside, A. Lange & Söhne has also seamlessly integrated the displays for the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar’s eponymous complication. The Lange 1’s signature outsize date sits at 10 o’clock, above the retrograde day of the week indicator. The month, meanwhile, is tracked via the rotating ring at the dial’s periphery, and read against the arrow at six o’clock, which is placed just below the leap year display. These elements are all instantaneous and best admired at midnight at the end of each year, when they make the coordinated jump forward.

Two choices

The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar has been introduced with two colourways. The reference in pink gold comes with a silver dial that’s been rendered in grey. In turn, the latter is complemented by pink gold hands and appliqués.

The limited edition version in white gold, on the other hand, has a solid pink gold dial not unlike the salmon pink dials that are in vogue right now, and is fitted with white gold hands and appliqués. Just 150 pieces of this reference will be produced.

At 41.9mm wide and 12.1mm high, the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar has a commanding presence on the wrist that, given the case materials, translates into heft as well. This new timepiece carries weight in every sense of the word and, as is typical for A. Lange & Söhne, represents yet another step forward for the Lange 1 family.

Images courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne. Artwork, additional feature and stylised images by Curatedition.

Related Links:

A. Lange & Söhne: Starry Starry Night

A. Lange & Söhne: Simply Saxonia

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus: In Good Sport

A. Lange & Söhne: Perfect 10 on 25

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