Lange & Sohne made the announcement of their Grand Complication at SIHH in 2013 and those in the the industry of horology stood up and gave their full attention. It was imagined that this watch would make a tremendous impact on the industry, but just how grand the scale was really not fully imagined at that time. It isn’t that often that a fifty millimeter diameter watch that has an estimated value of $2.6 million is released. It has not been viewed by a huge segment of the population so it’s fair to say that the treasure has remained in a state of obscurity for many.
Recently, a Grand Complication prototype was released to appear in New York City giving enthusiasts and collectors an opportunity to view the watch in person instead of through the meager photographs that were released. We’re going to take a closer look at the Grand Complication and further discuss the details that add to its incredible value and just what makes it so very special in the horological community.
Limited release agreed upon
The A. Lange & Sohne Grand Complication is a concept watch and it is standard practice to craft one or two as prototypes without the generation of more examples in the collection. The manufacturers have made the decision to allow a limited release of six examples complete with series numbering for release to the public. The manufacturer will maintain possession of the two prototypes. The announcement of their intention to allow the sale of six Grand Complications has the community deep in thought as although the price tag will be high, so will the valuation to collectors.
When referring to the total price of the Grand Complication we can offer that the price has been in a fluctuation somewhere between 1.92 million in Euro and more than 2.6 million as the most current estimation. We’re not expecting the price to go down and believe that the latter will be a closer estimate of where the price will settle.
Description of the Grand Complication
To understand what grand complication really means is knowing that the term itself refers to the fact that the watch is crafted to include complications that include chiming, calendars and chiming. This model features a split seconds chronograph featuring flying seconds, a perpetual calendar which includes moon phase and the inclusion of petite and grande sonnerie minute repeater. The Grand Complication dots the description within traditional aspects which it upholds nicely.
A closer look
The case measures fifty millimeters in diameter with a twenty millimeter thickness crafted with rose gold. The movement is forty millimeters and if it were applicable, the watch would be wearable, although I can’t imagine having the durst to do so, particularly in a public setting.
Perpetual Calendar displays
This complication is finely tuned and is a departure from previous works by the company. A close examination reveals that the display features a subdial at twelve o clock which contains the months with four years’ worth along with the indicator for leap year.Off to the left is the week and tto the right is the date. The moonphase is locatedd downward at six o’clock and nestled within the flying seconds. With regard to legibility, it could be more highly readable but this rendering is legible enough for satisfaction.
The split seconds chronograph features a foudroyant at six o’clock and includes two hundred and forty eight components which make up approximately thirty percent of the movement. A mainspring powers the flying seconds with its own wheel system for a movement of five times per second with the thirty ooth wheel that is visible . Complicated mechanics are employed but at 4 Hz, it keeps excellent time with an accuracy of up to a fifth of a second.
Split second complication
The split pusher is located at ten o’clock instead of a housing within the crown. A departure from traditional Swiss watchmaking techniques, it is a trademark of A. Lange & Sohne following the Glashutte style. Their rendition features a separate column wheel for the split function and the chronograph.
Now, we’re moving away from Glashutte and getting back to more traditional Swiss innovations. Chiming occurs at quarter hour or may be adjusted to a Petite Sonnerie for limiting chiming only to the hour at the top of the our or for quarters on each quarter. It allows for two gong tones with minutes on demand. The mode control is located on the case. The sound is rich and well developed.
Dial and movement
The movement is the calibre L1902 and in itself it contains a total of eight hundred and seventy six individual components or which, sixty seven are jewels. It features a thirty hour power reserve with a a sonnerie barrel for twenty four hours for chimes and a chronograph barrel as the third barrel, all of which are wound from the crown.
The dial is a five piece that was a painstaking creation of fired enamel and minute subdials which were saw cut. An antiquated finish features red and back colors for a lovely finish.
A fine complex creation that has gone a bit off of the beaten path in some respects, but has masterfully brought the elements back together to fit carefully into a traditional Grand Complication. No time has been spared in the creation of the A. Lange & Sohne Grand Complication. Painstaking attention to perfecting each detail for perfection and accuracy up to a fifth of a second in a highly wearable yet much desired time piece that holds a value that warrants strict protection from the elements and prying eyes as well.
One of A. Lange & Sohne’s best efforts to date that has displaced Patek Philippe in positioning. Amazingly the manufacturer has made the decision to release six examples for sale while retaining two prototypes within the company. For the first time since it’s inception, the Grand Complication will be available for viewing in New York City to offer the opportunity for those who have not yet had the privilege of seeing it in person.