First presented last January during the recent SIHH 2011 industry event in rose gold and platinum, the gorgeous model has been reissued in Lange’s signature honey-colored gold body and with an unprecedented level of hand decoration. Now officially called A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Merite” Handwerkskunst (Ref. 761.050) (doesn’t the combination of French and German words looks a bit strange here?) it is even more attractive and, well, even more classic.
If you would like to know more about technical details of the Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Merite”, you should probably read our last year’s “initial impressions review.”
From the point of view of sheer hardware, there is nothing new here: the watch is still housed in the same round body almost 42 mm in diameter and almost 12 mm in height and is still powered by a highly complicated Lange L072.1 hand-wound movement, which, in its own turn, is still built of 351 components (not counting the legendary fusee-and-chain transmission that alone consists of 636 parts.)
Visually, its main difference from the original is the body, as well as the regulator-style dial of the watch, that are now crafted from honey-colored gold.
Created at Lange’s laboratories, the alloy sports a Vickers hardness index of 300 HV, while the usual 18-karat gold is rated from 85 to 125 Vickers depending on the type of alloy. Compared to other gold alloys, honey gold not only looks nobler but is also a lot more scratch-proof and therefore resistant to wear.
In order to give you an idea how hard the alloy is, just consider the fact that the well-known 316L surgical grade steel, which is normally used in watch bodies, is 190 – 220 HV hard on the Vickers scale! Bye, bye inevitable scratches and abrasions that owners of gold watches are so familiar with!
The new Ref. 761.050 model also differs from the original thanks to its dial that is decorated with a unique “tremblage” technique.
The elaborate pattern of the engraving that you can see on a high-resolution picture below, is obtained thanks to the burin cutting the material in an orbital motion moving in eight different directions.
The result is a pattern that looks utterly chaotic, but, like every true chaos, has a very complex pattern behind it.
Another piece of interest here is the fourth-wheel bridge that holds the tourbillon carriage and is, too, painstakingly decorated with relief engraving. While normally “engraving” means carving the pattern on the surface of a material, in this particular case the pattern is “raised” from the surface like bas-relief.
Like the other members of the family, the new A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Merite” Handwerkskunst will cost like a German sports car (and will possibly take even more time to manufacture,) so it is no wonder that the legendary German brand decided to limit the timekeeper’s production to just 15 gorgeous pieces.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Merite” Handwerkskunst (Ref. 761.050) specification
Price: $212,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Lange caliber L072.1, in-house, 33.6 mm x 7.6 mm, 32 jewels, 351 components, fusee-and-chain transmission (636 parts,) the three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, Made in Germany
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand, fourth-wheel bridge decorated with relief engraving, 3 screwed gold chatons
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, tourbillon, pivoting dial segment
Power reserve: 36 hours
Case: Honey-colored gold, scratch-resistant, 300 HV on Vickers scale
Size: 41.90 mm
Case height: 12.20 mm
Dial: Honey-colored gold, engraved by hand with tremblage technique
Hour markers: Black
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap, red-brown with Lange deployant buckle in solid honey-colored gold
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective