hen you think of tourbillons and A. Lange and Sohne, my guess is your first thought goes to the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, or perhaps the bonkers Tourbograph. I get it, but the 1815 Tourbillon deserves some attention too, and Lange has just announced a new limited edition version with a bright white enamel dial.
For those who don’t recall – or slept on Stephen’s excellent look at the 1815 Tourbillon from a couple years back – this is no casual tourbillon. Originally announced in 2014, the 1815 Tourbillon mixes Lange’s classic subtlety with an expansive and beautifully executed tourbillon visible at six on the dial. Not willing to just slap a tourbillon on it and call it day, the 1815 Tourbillon rocks a clever patented ZERO-RESET mechanism that zeros the seconds hand alongside a stop-seconds feature that halts the tourbillon.
As tourbillons were traditionally used to ensure the accuracy of a watch in various positions, Lange (wisely) deemed it sensible to have some way of quickly and easily setting the watch to the nearest second. So, when you pull the crown out, the movement resets the seconds hand to zero and stops the tourbillon, allowing you to restart in coordination with another time. It’s nerdy, highly technical, and very Lange.
For this 100-piece limited edition, the 1815 Tourbillon with Enamel Dial, the 39.5mm case is rendered in platinum and comes in at a wearable but noticeable 11.3mm thick (the enamel dial accounts for 0.2mm of that). The dial is the only real change here, but the enamel makes a strong statement that easily sets this version apart from the previous iterations of the 1815 Tourbillon. It’s crisp, silky smooth, and an excellent base for both the black polished tourbillon bridge and the long blued steel hands.
Small details, like the use of red for the 12 marker (which has to be separately applied to the dial), the beautifully rendered railway minutes scale, or the way in which Lange was able to perfectly flush fit the mounting for the tourbillon bridge into the enamel, really make for a great-looking watch. Additionally, the mix of the old-school marine chronometer aesthetic works rather well with the open and technical look at the ticking tourbillon.
That ticking is provided by A. Lange & Sohne’s L102.1 hand-wound movement. The L102.1 can be seen via a full sapphire case back and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s worth a good long look. Hand finished with plates crafted from German silver, the L102.1 has a power reserve of 72 hours and offers hours, minutes, and seconds (via a blued steel hand fitted to the one-minute tourbillon).
In explaining the brand’s reasoning behind creating an enamel dial version of the 1815 Tourbillon, Anthoney de Hass, Director of Product Development at A. Lange & Sohne said, “The enamel dial accentuates the classic design, which is adapted from Lange’s pocket watches with their Arabic numerals, chemin de ferminute scale and blued steel hands. The basic idea was to build a credible bridge from the origins of watchmaking to the present.”
This watch is priced at $197,200, and if that shocks you I’m not really sure what you expected –it was never going to be cheap. A. Lange & Sohne take their tourbillons very seriously and the 1815 Tourbillon with Enamel Dial maintains the appeal of the original model while offering a distinctly traditional and entirely lovely spin on the form.