This year at the SIHH 2016 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, A. Lange & Söhne took the center stage one more time with the launch of seven new timepieces. One of our favorite timepieces we were able to review hands-on while we were attending the Salon in Geneva was the new A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds ref. 252.025. This new fascinating timepiece reinterprets the concept of the scientific observation watch in a new way, by pairing the quest for utmost precision with outstanding legibility. The balance is steadily driven by its one-second constant-force escapement and an integrated jumping mechanism makes it possible to display the time in strict one-second intervals. With a platinum case with a diameter of 39.9 mm —German engineering calls for this level of precision, especially when it comes to Lange—, this new SIHH 2016 release features a prominent regulator triangular dial. This new watch is available in a limited edition of only 100 pieces.
The Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is characterized by an intelligent combination of two mechanisms that functionally complement each other. One, a constant-force escapement that ensures ultimate precision and the other, a jumping mechanism that guarantees crisp legibility of the time at each beat of a second. The latter, advances the large seconds hand by exactly 60 steps per minute. The solid silver rhodium-colored triangular regulator dial with its large seconds circle at the top, draws the observer’s attention to the smallest of the three units of time. To the left, at the 8 o'clock position, the hours can be read in a circular register with Roman numerals and to the right, at the 4 o'clock position the minutes are registered in a circular indicator with minute track and red accents marking each quarter of the hour. A triangular aperture —within the overlapping area between the hours and minutes registers—, turns red to indicate when 10 hours of power reserve are left and is then necessary to wind the watch.
The beating heart inside the new SIHH 2016 A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is the new manual wound L094.1 in-house composed of 390 parts, 50 jewels —8 in gold chatons— and which beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph to provide a power reserve of 42 hours when fully wound.
Technically, it stands out with an ingenious arrangement that distributes constant-force generation and the seconds jump to two wheel trains, but also allows them to interact. The first wheel train extends from the mainspring barrel to the balance and, in one-second intervals, uniformly delivers energy to the escapement via a constant-force device. Visible through an aperture in the train bridge, the mechanism has a double function: It compensates not only the gradually waning force of the mainspring, but also offsets possible torque fluctuations while the seconds jump is executed. The result is a constant amplitude across the entire power-reserve range of up to 42 hours. Superior rate accuracy is guaranteed as well thanks to the balance wheel with eccentric poising weights and the free-sprung balance spring crafted in-house. The mainspring barrel powers the jumping mechanism via the second wheel train. Its task is to convert the balance frequency of six semi-oscillations per second into one single step of the seconds hand. As was already the case with Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s invention, this process is controlled by a five-point star attached to the escape-wheel arbor. It can be observed beneath a transparent sapphire-crystal disc as it rotates about its own axis, together with the escape wheel, once every five seconds. Every second, one point of the star liberates the so-called flirt. This long lever, powered by the mainspring, then executes an instantaneous rotation through 360 degrees, after which it is arrested by the next point of the star. The 360-degree rotation, transmitted by the wheel train connected to the fourth-wheel arbor, moves the seconds hand to the next full-second marker. At the same time, the jump switching impetus is used to deliver fresh energy to the remontoir spring of the constant-force escapement.
Additionally, the new A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is equipped with a zero-reset mechanism for accurate time setting. The clutch on the fourth-wheel arbor consists of three discs and a special hand-shaped spring. The clutch disc in the middle is secured to the fourth-wheel arbor; in the closed state, the spring firmly presses the top and bottom clutch discs together. The clutch thereby immobilizes the large seconds hand between the abrupt acceleration and deceleration cycles that occur every second in the normal operating mode. Pulling the crown activates a complex system of levers that block the balance with a stop spring and open the clutch. This separates the fourth-wheel arbor from the wheel train and allows virtually frictionless zeroing. For this purpose, the zero-reset lever is pivoted against the heart cam, thus instantly returning the seconds hand to the 12 o’clock position. Pushing the crown home closes the clutch and releases the balance again so that the movement can then restart. The watch is fitted with a black hand-stitched alligator leather strap with Lange pin buckle in matching platinum. Again, this new A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is exclusively available in a limited edition of 100 pieces.
On the wrist, the watch wears slightly bigger than its actual size and quite comfortably. Weight wise we didn't have time to put it on our scale but is definitely top heavy in the range of 140-150 grams.
Sticker Price 78,000 Euros. For more info on A. Lange & Söhne click here.