The numbers behind A Lange & Söhne’s Tourbograph Perpetual Calendar “Pour Le Mérite”
A Lange & Söhne’s latest “Pour Le Mérite” is one complex beast
Taking inspiration from the Kingdom of Prussia’s highest military order, A Lange & Söhne rolled out its “Pour le Mérite” collection in 1994. It boasts watches endowed with the most complicated of technical innovations. Also, the collection features the fusée-and-chain transmission, an age-old complication that increases the rate accuracy of a mechanical timepiece. This year, it launches the Tourbograph Perpetual Calendar “Pour Le Mérite”, which combines the fusée-and-chain with four other complications.
Only pieces of the Tourbograph Perpetual Calendar “Pour Le Mérite” will be produced.
The Calibre L133.1, which powers the watch, contains 684 components, of which 206 are dedicated to the perpetual calendar alone. This shows how significant a role the perpetual calendar plays in this piece.
The fusée-and-chain transmission was integrated into a Lange watch for the first time in 1994, giving birth to the “Pour le Mérite” collection. By connecting a fusée (a coneshaped pulley) to the spring barrel with a chain, the force of the mainspring is delivered to the movement in constant increments. This ensures a continuous and constant supply of energy, maintaining the watch’s accuracy and precision. All five “Pour le Mérite” watches are equipped with the fusée-and-chain transmission.
At A Lange & Söhne, there are only 10 watch models fitted with the one-minute tourbillon. The watchmaker pushes its limits with this Tourbograph Perpetual Calendar by finishing the wave-shaped tourbillon bridge with traditional black polish. It’s a complicated finishing technique that has never been done on a curved surface. Time and effort are invested into perfecting the technique by the finisseurs.
There are five high-end complications in the Tourbograph Perpetual Calendar “Pour Le Mérite”. It’s fitted with a chronograph, a rattrapante function, a fusée-and-chain transmission, a one-minute tourbillon and a perpetual calendar. This is also the fifth “Pour Le Mérite” watch that the manufacture has produced.
Good things come in a pair for the watch. First, the chronograph is combined with a rattrapante function, which allows the timing of intervals. Because of this combination, the movement boasts not one but two column wheels to manage the chronograph hand and rattrapante hand. Also, the split-seconds chronograph is paired with a perpetual calendar. This pairing is a test of the watchmakers—both require a huge amount of energy to operate so the watchmakers need to ensure that there is still sufficient power left for the movement.
The A Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Calendar “Pour Le Mérite” is a work of mechanical art.