During the SIHH 2011 international trade show, A. Lange & Söhne has officially revealed the new member of the highly exclusive Pour le Merite series: the dressy Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite (refs. 760.032 & 760.025). Trying to keep the size of the piece as close as it was technically possible to the niche’s unofficial “golden standard” of 39 millimeters, the brand from Glashutte has equipped the new version of the Richard Lange Tourbillon family with a razor-thin bezel thus managing to keep the diameter of its body below 42 millimeters and giving its solid silver dial an airy, easy-to-breathe feel that was nicely supported by a rather unusual tourbillon bridge.
Available both in limited-edition platinum or unlimited rose gold case, the Tourbillon Pour le Merite will be equipped with Lange’s signature fusee-and-chain transmission.
The transmission allows for more uniform transfer of energy from the mainspring barrel to the going train, but, consisting of whole 636 parts, is difficult to build and is therefore reserved only for the high-end pieces of the brand.
Another interesting feature of the model is a one-minute tourbillon with stop-seconds function. Simply put, the tourbillon stops and the seconds hand switches to a “0” position every time you want to adjust the time, thus allowing for a more accurate setting of the caliber.
A. Lange & Söhne would not be true to its roots if it didn’t equip the watch with one more function, which is more about pleasing the eye, rather than about function.
As you can see in the pictures, there is a cutaway at the subsidiary seconds subdial, which is located between 7 and 8 o’clock and overlaps the hours display standing between 4 and 5 o’clock.
When the hour hand comes past 6 o’clock, there instantly appears a pivoting segment of the subdial with VIII, IX, and X numerals printed on it. The segment stays on its place until the hour hand reaches the 12 o’clock position and then again disappears in a blink of an eye.
Of course, such a complication requires a great deal of energy to accomplish four times a day, but the manufacture-made Calibre L072.1 manual-wind movement still features a pretty decent power reserve of 36 hours.
Built of 351 parts (not including the fusee-and-chain mechanism,) the movement features three screwed gold chatons, Glucydur screw balance, and in-house balance spring.
This relatively slow movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour.
As usual for the German brand, the Tourbillon Pour le Merite is supplied in an elegant and refined case that measures 41.90 mm in diameter and only 12.20 mm high.
If the timepiece was not that outrageously expensive, it would be the first on my wish list.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite (refs. 760.032 & 760.025) specification
Price: $193,600 (in Rose gold) / $233,600 (in Platinum, Retail)
Movement: Caliber Lange L072.1, in-house, 351 components, decorated and engraved by hand, the three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, Made in Germany
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, one-minute tourbillon with stop-seconds, pivoting subdial section
Power reserve: 36 hours
Case: Rose gold (Ref. 760.032) or Platinum (Ref. 760.025, limited to 100 pieces)
Size: 41.90 mm
Case height: 12.20 mm
Dial: Solid silver (for the one in Rose gold) or Rhodiumed solid silver (in Platinum)
Hands: Pink gold or Rhodiumed gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap with Lange deployant buckle is solid pink gold or solid platinum
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective