A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar: Nothing More, Nothing Less
Time travel is a divisive topic in film and popular media because there are myriad ways it might work, each causing specific continuity paradoxes – or at the very least, coming across like a get-out-of-bad-plot-development-free card for writers. Casual fans may not notice or care, but there are entire sections of the internet devoted to discussing, debating, and even downright condemning some of the ways that time travel has been depicted.
Whether it’s the issue of the grandfather paradox seen in movies like Back to The Future or the more logically consistent “it always happened this way” form of time travel seen in Harry Potter, each method has flaws that can make your head hurt if you think hard enough about it.
The issues might stem from plot holes that feel like oversights or lazy storytelling, something that is a crime to some fans who may have never tried to write an internally consistent story that is then scrutinized by tens of millions of people.
No matter how watertight your idea, with enough eyes on it and enough curious brains thinking about it someone will find an issue. This is true for any idea, so when you introduce something seemingly magical like time travel, you basically set yourself up for some detail you overlooked that negates your entire plot.
That is the thing with fiction: it has to sound plausible, otherwise people will cry foul, while reality makes no claims of being reasonable, plausible, or consistent. Truth is often stranger than fiction.
Regardless of how many issues time travel introduces for writers, it is probably one of the most interesting science fiction tropes because it can shine a mirror on our choices, the idea of free will, and make us take a hard look at consequences.
In my mind, this is the real purpose of storytelling, so paradoxes and logical inconsistency aren’t as important as the lessons we take from the story. A lesson I repeatedly seem to grasp is that time is fleeting so we better make the best of it and not waste what little we are given.
One way to ensure this is to adequately keep track of time – not just the hours, minutes, and seconds as they tick by but the days, weeks, months, and years as well.
The larger landscape of time is important to be aware of, and a great way to focus on that is with a perpetual calendar watch. Preferably one made to the highest levels of excellence and with a healthy dose of style and pedigree. A. Lange & Söhne recently introduced a new model that is a great fit: the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, the least complicated perpetual calendar that A. Lange & Söhne has ever made and a truly gorgeous way to keep track of all measures of time.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
The Lange 1 collection, considered by many as the heart of A. Lange & Söhne’s offerings, has been a consistently representative face of German design since the brand’s relaunch in 1994. With its asymmetrically balanced dial, large date and a focus on fine-tuning perfection, it is no wonder that the Lange 1 has been so popular.
The newest addition to the collection, the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, is not the first A. Lange & Söhne model with this complication, but it is the first piece since the Langematik Perpetual of 2001 to focus solely on the perpetual calendar mechanism.
Its more complicated predecessor, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, set the design language for how the brand would approach adding a full calendar to the highly defined aesthetic of the Lange 1 family while also including a tourbillon hidden on the rear of the movement.
This layout is immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with the Lange 1 collection but the dial is mirrored compared to most other models, including the original of 1994. There are only three other models with this flipped layout, and each swaps the retrograde power reserve indication for a retrograde day indication. Each one of these three – the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, the Daymatic, and the Perpetual Calendar – is also powered by an automatic movement. All other members of the Lange 1 family have manual winding.
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is the least complicated incarnation of Lange’s perpetual calendars: it has no chronograph, no tourbillon, and no power reserve indication.
It is a focused and purpose-made perpetual calendar timepiece built around the Lange 1 style. The standard large date anchors the layout next to the main time dial, balancing the small seconds and moon phase sharing a subdial in the bottom left corner.
The leap year indication doubles as a pointer for the month indication at the base of the dial where it is housed in an isosceles trapezoid window, a shape continued in the upside-down triangle pointer below it indicating the month.
Encircling the perimeter of the dial is the month ring, which is probably the best way to include a month indication on such a dial layout. It is unobtrusive, easy to read at a glance, and very well balanced. All in all, unsurprising design attributes for the Lange 1 collection.
Logical reasons for everything
Between the big date window and the moon phase/day-night indicator/seconds subdial is the retrograde indicator for the day of the week, which replaces the usual power reserve hand of the manual Lange 1 iterations.
This display is the reason that the dial has a mirrored layout: the mainspring barrel and power reserve mechanism would be on the wrong side of the movement to be easily swapped for each other, and since each new watch houses a new movement according to A. Lange & Söhne’s internal “rules” it was sensible for the weekday mechanism to be on the left – leading to the mirrored layout.
Only Caliber L021.1 (Daymatic), Caliber L021.3 (Perpetual Calendar), and Caliber L082.1 (Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar) share this feature, tying these three automatic models together as the trio of right side-weighted dials. Every other Lange 1 is weighted to the left, a more practical side for Western audiences since we read from left to right, allowing the more important information to be read first.
The switch to a right-weighted dial elevates the perpetual calendar to a higher status since that is now encountered first by a Western audience.
After hearing a detailed explanation from A. Lange & Söhne director of product development Anthony de Haas about how new pieces are workshopped and developed, I understand that this is a factor that the brand’s designers would have considered as they relocated features on the iconic Lange 1 dial. They consider everything and make dozens of digital iterations playing with spacing, proportion, and shape. A larger visual detail like that would have been obvious.
What’s on the inside counts
I really like the fact that the calendar-oriented Lange 1 models have this mirrored layout because it instantly sets these eight iterations apart from the other 32 Lange 1 variations.
The new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar represents two of these, one version a limited edition of 150 in white gold with a pink gold dial while the other is a regular collection version in pink gold with a grey dial. In addition to the always impeccable aesthetic of an A. Lange & Söhne dial, the movements are also works of art.
The new Caliber L021.3 was developed off the simpler Daymatic L021.1 movement, however it is clear there are some sizeable architectural differences in the plates and layout, especially considering it has to drive the entire perpetual calendar mechanism instead of only the date.
The L021.3 with its 195 more parts has four fewer jewels and two fewer screwed chatons. It is also increased in thickness and diameter, but since movements are designed to fit their cases at A. Lange & Söhne, and the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is more than two millimeters larger than the Daymatic, this comes as no surprise.
Even though the incredible front side of the movement is invisible (like every other Lange watch aside from the “Lumen” variations), the rear is on display for all to see and hand finished to typically high A. Lange & Söhne standards.
Some of the bridges feature small cutaways offering a peek into the movement, and the awesomely engraved 21-karat gold rotor with the additional platinum mass for more efficient winding is center stage. The movement is as beautiful as every A. Lange & Söhne caliber and makes the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar another “grail” watch to add to the list.
For a very complicated watch, being able to claim it is the least complicated perpetual calendar the brand has made might seem counterintuitive. But in a world of mega complications like the Triple Split or the Tourbograph Perpetual Pour le Mérite, the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is a distillation of everything that makes A. Lange & Söhne great.
Just like when the brand released a one-off stainless steel dress watch – the unique 1815 Homage to Walter Lange – people take notice.
As a fan of the Lange 1 Daymatic and the mirrored layout, not to mention the sheer awesomazingness of an A. Lange & Söhne perpetual calendar, this piece is an allaround winner for me.
It may be well out of my price range (aren’t they all?), but that won’t stop me from dreaming of one day being able to strap this bad boy onto my wrist. I’m sure that day will come, undoubtedly, but I’m also sure I’ll have to give it back shortly thereafter!
So until that day comes, let’s break this one down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.7 There will always be a place in my heart for any Lange 1, and a Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is high on that list!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 102.2 » 1,002.240m/s2 The easiest way to say it is that this watch has enough force to launch you into the stratosphere. It is completely lustworthy!
- M.G.R. * 70.05 Any Lange caliber is a geeky caliber, but a perpetual calendar with the large date? Double yes!
- Added-Functionitis * Severe It may be the least complicated perpetual calendar in A. Lange & Söhne’s stable, but it still is a very complicated watch. With six added indications you will definitely need prescription-strength the Gotta-HAVE-That cream just to handle the horological swelling!
- Ouch Outline * 11.2 Three days of a tiny steel sliver stuck in your palm! Anyone who has gotten a very small but very sharp sliver of steel stuck in their hands or fingers will know how it can keep feeling worse and worse until you dig it out. Sometimes it takes days and that is no fun. Still, I would gladly accept that if it meant getting the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * So fresh and so clean! It’s hard not to instantly love an A. Lange & Söhne watch, and this is no different. I already loved the Lange 1 style and the mechanical predecessors, so it was mere seconds before I was infatuated with this model as well!
- Awesome Total * 766 Start with the number of components in Caliber L021.3 (621) and add the number of pieces in the limited-edition version (150), then subtract the number of screwed gold chatons in the movement (5) to get a timely awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com/en/timepieces/lange-1-perpetual-calendar.
Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
Case: 41.9 x 12.1 mm, pink or white gold
Movement: automatic Caliber L021.3, 50 hours power reserve, 21,600 vph/3 Hz with cam-poised balance
Functions: hours, minutes seconds; day/night indication, moon phase, perpetual calendar with date, day of the week, month, and leap year indication
Limitation: 150 pieces (white gold with pink gold dial); pink gold with grey dial is unlimited
Price: $104,500 (pink gold); $116,000 (white gold)