Introducing: The A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual and 1815 Thin Honeygold Limited Editions

Introducing: The A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual and 1815 Thin Honeygold Limited Editions

Quick Take

Today, German horological powerhouse A. Lange & Söhne is announcing the release of a trio of watches in a collection celebrating brand founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange. Included in that collection – and the focus of this introduction – are the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold and the 1815 Thin Honeygold. That’s right: Both watches are cased in the brand’s unique gold alloy generally reserved for special occasions and limited editions (or, in this case, both). One is a perpetual calendar chronograph with a rattrapante function, and the other a classic time-only – sans seconds hand – dress watch. These pieces, and the collection at large, belong to the 1815 family, which is a reference to F.A. Lange’s birth year. The watches were unveiled at the Watches & Wonders exhibition in Shanghai that runs from Sept. 9 to 13. 

Initial Thoughts

Honeygold is a proprietary material specially created by A. Lange & Söhne in-house. It was first used in 2010 for the three watches of the “165 Years – Homage to F. A. Lange” anniversary edition (one of which can be seen in Kevin Rose’s collection in his episode of Talking Watches). In all, only eight limited editions cased in this alloy have ever been launched. For this launch, both of these watches are fitted in the special 18k gold cases. Interestingly, the specific alloy compound used to create this special gold is not known; what is known is that the metal is harder and more scratch-resistant than other gold alloys with a fineness of 18k.  

1815 Thin Honeygold

The 1815 Thin Honeygold celebrates the 175th anniversary of German (specifically Saxon) precision watchmaking. It is about as classic and refined a dress watch as they come. It ticks that one overarching defining characteristic of being a time-only watch, without that pesky seconds hand. What’s more, the watch is manually wound. From a design perspective, it takes cues from classic pocket watches. At 38mm in diameter, it sits in the absolute sweet spot of sizing overall, especially as a modern dress piece. Further bolstering its austere adherence to the formal way of doing things, the watch is a razor-thin 6.3mm. I dare you to find a shirt cuff that doesn’t fit under. The dial is done in a white, two-part enamel design with dark-grey printed Arabic numerals and a  railway-track minute scale. Inside the watch beats the L093.1 manufacture caliber with the freely oscillating Lange balance spring working in combination with a classic screw balance for enhanced accuracy. 

Of course if you’re a Lange fan, the first thing you’ll think of is the Saxonia Thin 37mm. Both watches use different versions of the same movement, which is the Lange caliber L093.1. In the Saxonia Thin, however, the movement is decorated with Glashütte stripes, while in the 1815 it has a grained finish similar to the gilt finish found on vintage Lange pocket watches. The two watches also have different dials – the most notable difference is the use of stick markers in the Saxonia Thin, versus Arabics in the 1815 Thin Honeygold.

Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold

The Tourbograph Perpetual was first released in 2017, but this is the first time it is being released in the Honeygold alloy. It isn’t just the case which is made of Honeygold, either. The dial is also made of the proprietary material. This dial is actually quite complex, requiring five separate pieces just to make it. Everything from the main dial surface, to the subdial registers, to the flange is made of individual segments that are then brought together to create the dial at large. Each dial requires two people to complete it. 

The watch houses five complications: a fusée-and-chain transmission with a tourbillon, a chronograph, a rattrapante function, and a perpetual calendar. Housing all of those complications requires a case size and height that is a fair deal larger and thicker than its 1815 Thin counterpart (notice the word thin is nowhere to be seen, nor should it be in regards to the Tourbograph Perpetual). The watch comes in at 43mm in diameter with a case height of 16.6mm. Similar to the 1815 Thin, this watch employs the use of Arabic numerals on the dial with an outer railway-track scale. 

One of the most interesting aspects of this piece is the chronograph’s rattrapante functionality, controlled by two column wheels. Essentially, this is illustrated by a sweep hand that runs in tandem with the chronograph hand. It can be stopped independently by engaging the pusher at 10 o’clock. Once the pusher is activated again, it catches up instantaneously with the chronograph hand, and the two hands continue to run synchronously. This allows for an unlimited number of lap times to be taken within the maximum stop time of 30 minutes. Luckily, there is an exhibition caseback through which this entire process can be viewed. 

Concluding Thoughts

It is one thing to show off, and another thing entirely to show what you are capable of. With these two limited edition releases, A. Lange & Söhne is firmly in the latter camp. On one hand, we have a reserved and fully capable two-hand dress watch, and on the other, we have high watchmaking on full display. The 1815 Thin Honeygold is limited to 175 pieces – a nod to the anniversary – and the Tourbograph Perpetual is limited to 50 pieces.

The Basics

Brand: A. Lange & Söhne
Model: Tourbograph Perpetual and 1815 Thin
Reference Number: 706.050FE (Tourbograph Perpetual), 239.050 (1815 Thin)

Diameter: 43mm (Tourbograph Perpetual), 38mm (1815 Thin)
Thickness: 16.6mm(Tourbograph Perpetual), 6.3mm (1815 Thin)
Case Material: 18k Honeygold
Dial Color: 18k Honeygold, black-rhodiumed, with relief-engraved numerals and scales (Tourbograph Perpetual); copper, white enameled (1815 Thin)
Indexes: Arabic numerals
Lume: No
Strap/Bracelet: Leather Strap

The Movement

Caliber: L133.1 (Tourbograph Perpetual), L093.1 (1815 Thin)
Functions: Time display in hours and minutes; tourbillon; chronograph with rattrapante function; perpetual calendar with date, day, month, leap year; moon-phase display (Tourbograph Perpetual). Hours and minutes (1815 Thin)
Diameter: 32mm (Tourbograph Perpetual), 28mm (1815 Thin)
Thickness: 10.9mm (Tourbograph Perpetual), 2.9mm (1815 Thin)
Power Reserve: 36 hours (Tourbograph Perpetual), 72 hours (1815 Thin)
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour
Jewels: 52 (Tourbograph Perpetual), 21 (1815 Thin)
Chronometer Certified: No

Pricing & Availability

Price: $ 34,400 (1815 Thin), Price Upon Request for the Tourbograph Perpetual
Availability: Immediately
Limited Edition: Yes, 50 pieces (Tourbograph Perpetual) and 175 pieces (1815 Thin)

For more, click here.

HODINKEE

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