The New A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Has A Dramatic, Dynamic Black Dial

It was only recently that the Lange 1, to this day A. Lange & Söhne’s most iconic and recognisable collection, received a reference dedicated solely to the perpetual calendar. This classic complication has been revisited many times by the manufacture in the past, including in the form of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar—which, as it sounds, includes a tourbillon, shyly visible only through the caseback—but it was not until 2021 that the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar was released. The difference between tourbillon and sans tourbillon is the type of difference that is very important to purists. And A. Lange & Söhne’s fans are, more often than not, as pure as they come.

The Lange 1’s unique layout, consisting of off-centred indicators, is absolutely key to its design and appeal. The collection’s perpetual calendars therefore leave it completely intact by adding a peripheral month indicator. At six o’clock is a tiny window—much smaller than the brand’s signature outsize date at 10 o’clock—that acts as a leap year indicator, along with an arrow that points to the current month on the peripheral ring. At the end of each month, the entire ring will jump instantaneously to indicate the next one. This is not a trivial matter of rearranging visual elements—the traditional method uses a 48-step wheel (for the four-year leap cycle), so implementing a new display like this means building it from scratch. The peripheral ring, which has to move 30 degrees at each change, is much larger and heavier as well, which requires significantly more energy. In fact, the month wheel has its own dedicated power storage system, building up a reserve during the month until finally unleashing at midnight of the final day. The result can be quite the visual treat, with the outsize date (which has its own similar energy storage system) and possibly the year indicator flipping over all at once alongside the month. Despite the mechanical complexity, the watch has a very modest 12mm thickness and 42mm diameter, while calibre L021.3 is self-winding and has a 50-hour power reserve.

Other tweaks compared to the standard time-and-date Lange 1 include the day-of-the-week indicator taking the place of power reserve, and the addition of a moonphase and day/night indicator beneath the running seconds subdial. This consists of two white gold moons, depicting its phase in the usual fashion, over a gradated blue dial that will be seen as light blue during the day, and a star-studded dark blue during the night.

At launch, the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar consisted of a white gold reference with a pink gold dial, and a pink gold reference with grey dial. As of last month, they are joined by a third: a platinum-cased execution with a black dial, launched during Watches & Wonders Shanghai. It makes for a very modern, somewhat moody timepiece. The blue of the day/night indicator is an especially dramatic contrast with the black dial, adding a touch of mysterious flair.

A. Lange & Söhne

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