Green Glow

Read­ing time in the dark has al­ways been a chal­lenge. Ter­ence Lim finds out how A Lange & Söhne side­steps this prob­lem with its Dato­graph Up/down “Lu­men”

Singapore Tatler - - STYLE -

What is the use of the most ac­cu­rate and pre­cise horo­log­i­cal com­pli­ca­tion if you can­not read the in­for­ma­tion off the watch dial in pitch dark­ness? This is a co­nun­drum faced by many watch brands, even the most sto­ried ones. But it is no longer an is­sue with the A Lange & Söhne Dato­graph Up/down “Lu­men”, which made its world pre­miere in Oc­to­ber. Clev­erly mar­keted by the Ger­man watch­maker as “the chrono­graph that never sleeps”, the lat­est mem­ber in the Lu­men fam­ily (see sidebar story) in­di­cates the time at any point of the day, even at night. All in­di­ca­tions are leg­i­ble even in dark­ness thanks to its semi-trans­par­ent dial and lu­mi­nous dis­plays. The sap­phire crys­tal is treated with a spe­cial coat­ing that blocks out most of the vis­i­ble light ex­cept ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV). This way, UV ra­di­a­tion can pass through the var­i­ous el­e­ments on the dial in­clud­ing the out­size date, chrono­graph coun­ters and tachy­met­ric scale, which have all been ap­plied with a lu­mi­nous com­pound. Th­ese parts coated with the spe­cial chem­i­cal will glow in the dark with a green hue that has been sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to be pleas­ant for the hu­man eye. Of all the lu­mi­nous parts, the out­size date is the most im­pres­sive. The date dis­play is made up of two el­e­ments—a lu­mi­nous tens cross and a black printed units glass disc, which ro­tates above a lu­mi­nous back­ground.

Both are recharged dur­ing the day when they are un­der­neath the semi-trans­par­ent dial. Be­cause of this, even as the date changes at mid­night, the out­size date re­mains lu­mi­nous through­out and this en­tire se­quence can be ob­served and ap­pre­ci­ated in de­tail. The Dato­graph Up/down Lu­men is clearly an aes­thetic take on an old clas­sic. For one, it doesn’t boast any tech­ni­cal upgrade with the watch­maker opt­ing for the cal­i­bre L951.7, a vari­ant of the man­ual-wind­ing cal­i­bre L951.6 fit­ted in the 2012 Dato­graph Up/down. It comes with 60 hours of power re­serve and beats at a ca­dence of 2.5Hz. This is a case of not rock­ing the boat since the Dato­graph Up/down al­ready rep­re­sents a ma­jor im­prove­ment over the man­u­fac­ture’s first pro­pri­etary—and highly im­pres­sive— chrono­graph cal­i­bre. (Most mar­ques, ex­cept sto­ried watch­mak­ers, don’t cre­ate their own chrono­graph be­cause it makes more fi­nan­cial sense to pro­cure and im­prove ready-made move­ments in the mar­ket than build from scratch.) The Dato­graph Up/down can last about 60 hours when fully wound, up from the 36 hours of the orig­i­nal Dato­graph. That said, the cal­i­bre L951.7 is more than just a piece of horo­log­i­cal art. It is also a beauty to look at. Fully vis­i­ble via the sap­phire crys­tal case­back, every part of the in-house cal­i­bre is ar­tis­ti­cally and lav­ishly fin­ished. The sharp pol­ish on some com­po­nents pro­vides a coun­ter­bal­ance to the in­tri­cate en­grav­ings found on oth­ers. But th­ese dif­fer­ent del­i­cate fin­ish­ings only in­di­cate the num­ber of man-hours needed to dec­o­rate the com­po­nents, ex­clud­ing the time taken to assem­ble the 454 parts of the watch. What A Lange & Söhne has done here is to com­bine two of its most out­stand­ing in­no­va­tions—the Dato­graph Up/down and its Lu­men treat­ment—into one. From a com­mer­cial per­spec­tive, it makes sense. Both the Dato­graph Up/down and the Lu­men watches are highly sought af­ter and of­ten pro­duced only in small num­bers, so this of­fers en­thu­si­asts a chance to snag a col­lectible. On the other hand, for this watch to be launched late in the year, the watch­maker is teas­ing the cognoscenti with a sneak pre­view of what is to come at the 2019 Salon In­ter­na­tional de la Haute Hor­logerie watch fair, pro­vid­ing a timely re­minder of its watch­mak­ing prow­ess. Ei­ther way, it doesn’t hurt A Lange & Söhne at all.

SHIN­ING BEA­CON The A Lange & Söhne Dato­graph Up/down “Lu­men” comes with a fly­back func­tion, a pre­cisely jump­ing minute counter and a power-re­serve in­di­ca­tor. Only 200 pieces will be avail­able; a closer look at the out­size date in­di­ca­tion (top right)

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