BE UNIQUE

An­thony de Haas, Direc­tor of Prod­uct Devel­op­ment at A. Lange & Söhne, ex­plains why unique­ness is part of the DNA of the most suc­cess­ful watch com­pa­nies.

Plaza Watch International - - Contents - Wo r d s A n t h o n y d e Haa s

An­thony de Haas, Direc­tor of Prod­uct Devel­op­ment at A. Lange & Söhne, ex­plains why unique­ness is a suc­cess­ful watch brand’s busi­ness card.

A dis­tinc­tive style,

high recog­ni­tion value and a con­sis­tent de­sign con­cept are the key suc­cess fac­tors on the aes­thetic side of a fine watch brand. It sounds sim­ple, but from my own ex­pe­ri­ence I know that it is one of the great­est chal­lenges. For it is not enough to cre­ate an un­mis­tak­able face with a few spe­cial hall­marks. Ev­ery one of them has to re­flect the me­chan­i­cal in­ge­nu­ity of the time­piece and as a whole they should live up to the spir­i­tual le­gacy of a brand that was cre­ated al­most 170 years ago to build the world’s best watches.

Let me give you a cur­rent ex­am­ple: the 1815 Rat­tra­pante Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar, launched ear­lier this year. Its dial de­sign is characterised by Ara­bic nu­mer­als, a rail­way-track minute scale, gold and blued hands, the power-re­serve in­di­ca­tor with the in­scrip­tions “AUF” and “AB” as well as four round sub­sidiary di­als in a clover-leaf con­fig­u­ra­tion. It is the clas­sic de­sign mantra of the 1815 watch fam­ily that has its roots in A. Lange & Söhne’s grand pocket watch tra­di­tion.

But con­nois­seurs do not even need to see the lo­go­type on the dial to re­alise that they are look­ing at an A. Lange & Söhne watch. A glance at the L101.1 man­u­fac­ture cal­i­bre through the sap­phire-crys­tal case­back would suf­fice. Apart from the three-quar­ter plate, de­tails like the hand-en­graved bal­ance cock, the clas­sic screw bal­ance, or the gold cha­tons se­cured by ther­mally blued screws are am­ple ev­i­dence.

The en­grav­ing on the bal­ance cock is the ar­ti­sanal finger­print that makes each Lange watch one of a kind. The small part is em­bel­lished, free-hand, with a flo­ral pat­tern by a mas­ter en­graver. A whiplash spring with a lat­eral mi­crome­tre screw is an­other typ­i­cal fea­ture of a Lange move­ment. It is used to per­form pre­ci­sion beat ad­just­ments.

Stop­ping elapsed or lap times is han­dled highly pre­cisely in the clas­sic man­ner with two col­umn wheels. Dec­o­rated with lin­ear grain­ing, the levers of the chrono­graph mech­a­nism are rem­i­nis­cent of the finis­sage that once graced highly com­pli­cated pocket watch move­ments.

Dur­ing the fi­nal as­sem­bly pro­ce­dure, the first-pass fix­ture screws are re­placed with flaw­less, ther­mally blued screws. Their char­ac­ter­is­tic hue is achieved by slowly heat­ing them to about 300 de­grees Cel­sius. As ac­cents that coun­ter­point the pol­ished gold cha­tons and the ruby-red jew­els em­bed­ded in them, they stand out as eye-catch­ers on the Ger­man sil­ver plates and bridges. All de­tails to­gether cre­ate the de­sired har­mo­nious, yet unique over­all pic­ture.

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