In 2014, A. Lange & Söhne introduced the 1815 Tourbillon, the first wristwatch that combined a stop-seconds mechanism for the tourbillon with a zero-reset time setting function. A real tour de force in mechanical watchmaking, here was a watch that fully realized the promise of a tourbillon – horological precision. After a special Handwerkskunst edition in 2015, the venerable German brand has now introduced a special edition 1815 Tourbillon with a white enamel dial.
The models in the 1815 family evoke memories of Lange’s historic pocketwatches made in the 19th and 20th centuries. While the tourbillon has been used in pocketwatches and subsequently in wristwatches for over 200 years now, it was not until 2008 that Lange introduced its patented stop-seconds mechanism. And while the zero-reset mechanism was first seen on the Langematik models in 1997, it was not until 2014 that the stop-seconds mechanism for the tourbillon and the zero-reset system were combined in a wristwatch. Only a year later, to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of founder Ferdinand A. Lange, the brand introduced an exclusive Handwerkskunst edition with a black-rhodiumed rose-gold dial decorated with tremblage engraving.
The latest iteration of the 1815 Tourbillon is distinguished by a pristine white enamel dial. Like all watches in the 1815 family, this model is again a study in understatement. It’s left to the large aperture at 6 o’ clock to reveal the one-minute tourbillon which is suspended underneath a black polished bridge to suggest the complexity of this timepiece. The enamel dial has the characteristic railway track chapter ring on the fringe. While all the markings on the dial are in black, the number 12 is in red – a nod to the style of historic pocketwatches. To achieve this effect, the red 12 has to be separately imprinted and baked. It takes about 30 manual processes to fashion each of these enamel dials. Blued-steel hands indicate time and a running seconds hand skims along the periphery of the tourbillon aperture.
Enamel is capricious and can’t be hurried. The process takes several days, during which the various steps have to be repeated over and over again. - Anthony de Haas
Why enamel? “The enamel dial accentuates the classic design, which is adapted from Lange’s pocket watches with their Arabic numerals, chemin de fer [railroad in French] minute scale and blued steel hands. The basic idea was to build a credible bridge from the origins of watchmaking to the present,” says Anthony de Haas, Lange’s director of product development.
The 39.5-mm wide case is made from platinum and is fitted with a sapphire crystal caseback. The case is 11.3-mm thick, 0.2 mm more than the 2014 original, and this is down to the fact that the watch is fitted with an enamel dial which is thicker than the standard silver dial. The caseback has an engraving of the limited edition number – from 001/100 to 100/100. The timepiece is fitted with a black hand-stitched alligator leather strap secured with a solid-platinum deployant buckle.
The movement powering this timepiece is the same Caliber L.102.1 that powers the standard version. Lavishly finished, the handwound movement (all models in the 1815 family are hand-wound) features a diamond endstone in a screwed gold chaton on the fourth wheel bridge which features freehand engraving. The 262-part movement uses 20 jewels and has a 72 hour power reserve. Stopping the tourbillon (and consequently the escapement) and the zero-reset mechanism helps in the accurate setting of the timepiece.
The engineers of the movement designed the balance to halt instantaneously when the tourbillon cage is stopped and oscillate again when the brake is released. Limited to just 100 pieces, this watch is priced at €198,000 ($231,352 or AED AED850,000 approx)