Augustus by Lang & Heyne: No More Forgotten Anniversary Excuses
by Ian Skellern
There are not a lot of surprises when it comes to watch complications and indications. Most of the complications we see today, such as calendars, power reserves, chimes and chronographs were all around centuries ago. And while we do see the complications occasionally arranged in “world first” combinations, they are all much-of-a-muchness. Though none the less superb in all their complexity and execution despite that.
Time to time − though very, very rarely − we see a completely new complication and/or indication: Urwerk’s satellite indications (see Back To The Future: The Urwerk UR-105M) and Christophe Claret’s petal-plucking Margot (see Christophe Claret In Bloom: Introducing Margot, His First Ladies Watch) “spring” to mind.
But a completely new indication, or indications, within an existing category of complications comes up only once in a blue moon (now there’s an idea for a complication!).
The Lang & Heyne Augustus though offers just that: something completely new in the world of calendar indications.
Until the Augustus, calendar complications consisted of indications for date, day, month, moon phase, annual calendars and perpetual calendars/leap year, tides, and astronomical elements such as star charts. That reads like a fairly comprehensive list, but none until now help to avoid the disappointment caused by a spouse (usually male) forgetting a wedding anniversary or birthday.
No excuse to forget a birthday or anniversary
Based on an idea and an invention of Dutch watch aficionado John Twaalfhoven, Lang & Heyne developed a wristwatch that not only reminds its owner of an impressive 12 significant dates/anniversary, it also displays the name of the event. . . and you can even watch the important day approaching on the dial.
Augustus even displays the age of the person celebrating the birthday, or which anniversary it is: the first, the sixteenth, or the thirty-seventh, for example. (Guys, we do hope that at least the first anniversary wouldn’t escape your memories.)
Augustus also features an annual calendar with indications for date, month and, unusually in an annual calendar, the year.
All indications are easily and quickly chosen by a single pusher in the crown that operates a function selector offering: date, event, and year adjustment as well as winding and time-setting.
Lange & Heyne names all models in the brand’s collection after notable figures in Saxon history and Augustus pays homage to August I, who was a sixteenth-century elector of Saxony, which meant he had a vote in the election of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. August I was also a fan of early clockmaking and owned a clockwork automaton entitled Mechanical Galleon. This object is now on display in the British Musuem.
A wristwatch reminding one of birthdays and anniversaries might seem like manna from heaven (for men like me, anyway, who tend to forget) and you may well be wondering why no watchmaker has offered this type of complication before.
Well, it took this long because, and perhaps not surprisingly, developing and perfecting a reliable complication like this was difficult. Extremely difficult.
The Lang & Heyne Caliber VII powering Augustus has an impressive 340 components and is basically a time-keeping mechanical calculator. It wasn’t just an ordeal to perfect the mathematics and mechanics of Augustus, a method also had to be perfected to make it easy to use: and it doesn’t come much easier than one a single pusher-cum-crown operating everything.
For more information on the brand’s new circumstances and place in the watch world, please see Lang & Heyne’s Marco Lang Heads New Watch Group.
For more information, please visit http://www.lang-und-heyne.de/en/neuheiten_augustus.html.
Case: 44 mm in red gold, white gold or platinum
Movement: manually wound Caliber VII, 46-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes; date, month, year, name of event, age of event (up to 99 on two subdials), function indicator
Price: € 128,520 in red gold; € 138,040 in platinum; € 132,090 in white gold
Also published on Medium.