The Grand Complication is the most radical wristwatch A. Lange & Söhne has built – it has seven rare complications including a grande and petite sonnerie, a minute repeater, a chronograph with rattrapante as well as flying seconds and a perpetual calendar.
When it was unveiled in 2013, the event marked a new era for the German brand – the technical knowledge gained during the development of this watch, it took the development team seven years to create this, would enable Lange to produce extraordinary striking watches, like the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in 2015. It was also the most expensive wristwatch available from Lange at close to $2.15 million.
Manufacture calibre L 1902 which is made up of 876 parts and Haas reckons even the most experienced watchmaker will take about a year to assemble a watch.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that this project has opened the gate to many ideas and designs,” says Anthony de Haas, director of production development. The developmental process was by no means an easy one. It required the perfect interaction of many intricate mechanisms and hundreds of parts.
“To give an example, we had to avoid any loss of amplitude when at midnight all indications of the perpetual calendar are switching and the grande sonnerie is striking simultaneously. We succeeded in mastering this challenge and have even made it possible for the owner of the timepiece to operate the rattrapante mechanism at the same time.
One Lange’s top tier watchmakers are drafted to work on the Grand Complication. They will need to draw on all their skill and patience to assemble the manufacture calibre L 1902 which is made up of 876 parts. Haas reckons even the most experienced watchmaker will take about a year to assemble a watch. “The assembly time of one year includes elaborate test procedures. For example, the chiming mechanism is monitored day and night. In turn, this recording has to be evaluated to check whether the mechanism has been chiming correctly every single quarter. If not, it has to be dismantled, adjusted, assembled and checked again to see if it is functioning properly. ‘Free, with no shake’ is the mantra that governs the interplay between the moving parts of a chiming mechanism,” says Haas.
A price tag of two million euros (about $2.15 million) may raise a few eyebrows, but this Lange is only making eight of these pieces and only selling two of them. The first one was delivered earlier this year.