WATCHES

Robb Report (USA) - - DEPARTMENTS - James D. Mal­colm­son

Auto-in­spired watches, and A. Lange & Söhne gets glow­ing.

YOU MAY BE for­given for con­fus­ing the new Dato­graph Up/ Down “Lu­men” ($100,500, lange-uhren.com) from blue-chip Ger­man maker A. Lange & Söhne with a fan­ci­ful cre­ation by one of Switzer­land’s foot­loose in­de­pen­dent watch­mak­ers.

Over the last five years, Lange has lightly spiced its pro­duc­tion with the oc­ca­sional re­lease of a “Lu­men” edi­tion—an ex­ist­ing model with a semi­trans­par­ent dial and a heavy dol­lop of Su­perLu­miNova on key dis­plays like dig­its or moon phases. Now the com­pany has added the treat­ment to one of its most im­por­tant and beloved mod­els: the large-date fly­back chrono­graph that ce­mented it in the first rank of the world’s lux­ury watch­mak­ers.

“For the prod­uct de­sign­ers, the ques­tion was how the

Lu­men con­cept could be ap­plied to a de­sign that could hardly be im­proved,” says An­thony de Haas, di­rec­tor of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. “At the bot­tom line, we de­cided to en­hance the iconic tri­an­gu­lar dial con­fig­u­ra­tion of the Dato­graph Up/Down by throw­ing as much light as pos­si­ble on it.” De Haas is nat­u­rally lim­ited by the brand’s sober and util­i­tar­ian de­sign ethic, yet he clearly rel­ishes the chance to add some 21st-cen­tury piz­zazz.

To that end, he and his team have been lib­eral, yet still within the bounds of taste, in throw­ing lume on a large num­ber of surfaces. The date, sub­di­als, and, of course, the hands glow a soft green­ish color, while the tachy­met­ric scale run­ning around the dial casts a more sub­tle and darker green. The semi­trans­par­ent dial, be­sides al­low­ing the charg­ing of the lu­mi­nes­cent date, shows off the fin­ish­ing on the move­ment plates be­low. Nev­er­the­less, the most com­pelling part of the move­ment, the beau­ti­ful col­umn-wheel, lat­eral-clutch chrono­graph mech­a­nism, is still on the other side, where you will need a flash­light to see it in the dark.

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