Just like the recently unveiled Glashutte Original Strasser & Rohde Regulator hand-wound wrist watch, the new A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Referenzuhr model’s main selling point is the historical connotations that date back to the 19th century. A century before high-speed optical networks and atomic clocks, it was an era, when high-precision pocket watches were used to distribute right time from the timekeeping service of the Mathematics and Physics Salon to public clocks at railway stations and these sort of installations where time was no just money, but also — safety.
Even though the new A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Referenzuhr is inspired by a vintage clock, it by no means looks archaic.
On the contrary, its flawlessly executed platinum or rose gold case, transferred black numerals and impeccable hands constantly (but very gently) remind you that it is, indeed, a product of the XXI century.
Coming in a medium-sized body that measures 40.5 millimeters in diameter and is just a tad over 11 millimeters thick, the gadget looks very well-proportionate. Unlike many recently introduced timekeepers from Swiss-based brand, the German watchmaker doesn’t compromise the Referenzuhr’s design to satisfy bad tastes of nouveaux riches from oil-exporting countries.
As you can see, the photo above, the sideband of the case features finely machine-brushed surface that nicely contrasts the shiny, mirror-polished bezel and case back cover. It also plays well with the sand-blasted texture of the dial. Laconic and extremely legible (albeit featuring not a drop of a luminescent compound that would make it more readable in darkness), the dial features traditional for the brand off-centered design with a small seconds display placed between seven and nine o’clock, and matched by a power reserve indicator between three and four hours.
Equipped with the just introduced Lange L033.1 manual-wind movement, the watch features a Zero-Restart function, which basically means that you can reset the second hand to zero (or “60” seconds, if you please) with a press of a push-piece, which is located at 2 o’clock on the side of the case.
This is a very handy tool for the kind of people (including yours truly) who just can’t stand when a seconds hand on their analogue timepiece doesn’t reach the 12 o’clock mark right with the final beep of that good old radio precise time countdown.
As usual for watches with this functionality, the second hand will remain in that position for as long as you will keep the push-piece pressed. Release it to the sixth’s bleep of the GTS, and you have yourself and extremely precise time measuring device.
Although A. Lange & Sohne says nothing about the movement’s accuracy, at least you will be able to set the time right again each time you find the watch lying.
Unfortunately, in its lengthy press release the German watch maker says nothing about whether the movement is capable to simultaneously adjust position of the minute and hour hands. I mean, it would be really nice if, when the Zero-Restart is activated at 11:59:36, the hands would move right to 12:00:00.
Well, maybe I am just asking too much.
See also: SIHH 2010: A. Lange & Sohne 1 Daymatic
Photos: A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Referenzuhr watch specification
Price range: $55,000 in rose gold / $70,000 in platinum
Movement: Lange L033.1, hand-wound, 276 parts, 34 jewels, 21,600 vph, in-house, 6.8 mm high, 30.6 mm in diameter, Made in Germany
Complications: Power reserve, Zero-Restart
Power reserve: 38 hours
Case material: Pink gold (Ref. 250.032, limited to 75 watches) or Platinum (Ref. 250.025, limited to 50 watches)
Bezel material: Pink gold or Platinum
Case shape: Round
Transparent case back: Yes, sapphire crystal caseback
Case size: 40.50 mm
Case height: 11.20 mm
Dial: Solid silver
Hands: Pink gold or Rhodiumed gold
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Water resistance: 30 meters