Insider: A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual 'Pour le Mérite'. Hands-on with the Fifth Masterpiece from Lange.

The new A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual 'Pour le Mérite' not only combines four amazing horological complications in one watch, but is also happens to be the fifth masterpiece from Lange that is flawlessly designed bringing the best of their DNA into one watch. Featuring a curved bridge to hold its impressive tourbillon cage, the Tourbograph Perpetual 'Pour le Mérite' is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces and priced at more than half a million U.S. dollars. But what makes this watch so impressive and expensive? Well, under the hood, this watch features a Rattrapante Chronograph —Split Seconds—, a Perpetual Calendar and a Tourbillon, and to top it off, its beating heart is a fusée-and-chain transmission on its mechanism.

In October 1994, A. Lange & Söhne presented the first collection of their new era, including the legendary Tourbillon 'Pour le Mérite', the first wristwatch with a tourbillon and a fusée-and-chain transmission. In 2005, a model combining a Tourbillon and a Split Seconds Chronograph was released under the Tourbograph 'Pour le Mérite' name —at the time, this was the most complicated watch ever released by A. Lange & Söhne. This year at the SIHH 2017, the Tourbograph just got much better.

The Case

The A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual 'Pour le Mérite' ref. 706.025 is fitted with a generous 43 mm case in platinum featuring rectangular rounded chrono-pushers at 2, 4 and 10 o'clock. The pusher at 10 o'clock is the signature touch that indicates that this is a split seconds chronograph. The satin-brushed finished case features very discreet correctors along its case band to make adjustments to the perpetual calendar. 

The Dial

The dial is exquisitely finished with a tourbillon opening at 6 o'clock that takes the spotlight thanks to its traditional black polished curved tourbillon bridge that is fully integrated to the design of the dial. The tourbillon makes a full rotation every 60 seconds serving as a seconds indicator. The silvered dial features a black railway minute track and Arabic numerals.

The indications of the perpetual calendar and the chronograph are easily readable with a 30-minute chrono register with day of the week at 9 o'clock, date with solid gold blued moonphase indicator at 12 o'clock and month and leap year indication at 3 o'clock. Rounding out the elegant look of this exceptional creation, the central hands are blued while the perpetual calendar indications are marked by rhodium plated gold hands. Additionally, the rattrapante chronograph features blued and gold-plated hands. To further enhance the readability of the dial, the 15, 30 and 45-minute markers appear in red.

The Movement

The beating heart inside this impressive creation is the new in-house calibre L133.1 composed of 684 parts —of which 206 parts are for the perpetual calendar. This impressive manual wound movement will correctly indicate the duration of each month until 2100 when a one-time correction will be needed on the last day of February of said secular year. To compensate for the unavoidable torque loss of the mainspring barrel, this movement includes three different constant-force escapements as well as a fusée-and-chain transmission which was integrated in a wristwatch for the first time in 1994 —this is the technical hallmark shared by all Lange timepieces under the 'Pour le Mérite' designation in reference to the Prussian order conferred for exceptional scientific merit. Via the display case back one can fully admire this impressive mechanical movement.

Via a fusée connected to the spring barrel with a chain, the force of the mainspring is delivered to the movement in constant increments thanks to the ingenious way in which the principle of levers is harnessed. A planetary gearing mechanism inside the fusée assures that the flow of power from the mainspring barrel to the escapement is not interrupted while the watch is being wound. The filigreed yet robust mechanism requires the utmost in attention as regards design, production, finissage, and assembly. For its split seconds chronograph, the hands are handled by two column wheels. The split seconds chronograph is used to time different events that begin but do not end together. As it is the norm with Lange timepieces, the bridges and plates of the movement are made of untreated German Silver. The movement features 52 jewels and two diamond end stones and provides a power reserve of 36 hours when fully wound while beating at a frequency of 21,600 vph.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual 'Pour le Mérite' wears true to its size and simply impeccably. As expected, this is the type of watch that is so impressive that once you put it on, you just don't want to take it off. The wrist presence is out of this world and as we like say, there are watches and then there's the Tourbograph Perpetual 'Pour le Mérite'. This new watch from Lange is available in a limited edition of only 50 pieces. 

Sticker Price €480,000 Euros —approximately $510,000 USD. For more info on A. Lange & Söhne click here.