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Upping the ante

A Lange & Sohne's Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, which unites three key complications, is said to be a horological work of art.

2016 Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon.
The Double Split has added a new dimension to the stopwatch principle.
The 1815 Chronograph.
1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar. This model also features a moonphase display and power reserve indicator.
2013 Grand Complication is Lange's most complicated creation.
2005 Tourbograph "Pour le Merite". It is the second Lange watch to be bestowed this designation.
2012 Als Datograph Up/Down. Power reserve is extended from 36 to 60 hours in this chronograph.
1999 Datograph. This chronograph sets a new yardstick for stopwatches made for the wrist.

A Lange & Sohne unveiled seven new models this year, including the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds, Saxon MoonPhase and Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar. All have been well received.

But the one that got the most attention is the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, which unites three key complications: a flyback chronograph with a precisely "jumping" minute counter; a perpetual calendar with jumping displays; and a tourbillon with a patented stop-second mechanism.

The biggest challenge in making a multiple-complication timepiece like this is to make the different highly complex mechanisms in it work together in perfect harmony - to ensure the watch runs smoothly. The Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is said to be such a horological work of art.

Launched 17 years ago, the Datograph (minus the perpetual calendar and tourbillon) has become the symbol of Lange's quest for innovation. This high-end chronograph with outsize date, precision "jumping" minute counter and flyback mechanism combines the finest aspects of tradition and innovation while maintaining the highest technical and artistic value that are the hallmarks of all Lange watches. The hand-wound Datograph is one of the best chronographs made, much sought after by collectors.

Lange, which crafted its first single-pusher chronograph in 1868, has continued to leverage its expertise in this domain and has developed no fewer than eight groundbreaking models with stopwatch functions since the brand made its comeback in 1990. The following is what Lange considers to be its milestones in chronograph design:

1999 -The Datograph. This chronograph, which sets a new yardstick for stopwatches made for the wrist, is fitted with a classic-column wheel that assures all chronograph functions are reliably controlled. The jumping minute counter on the watch's dial always delivers a precise reading of the stopped times. And the Datograph's flyback feature allows instantaneous consecutive measurements of event durations.

2004 -The Double Split. This added a new dimension to the stopwatch principle. It scored a first by enabling measurements of events lasting up to 30 minutes. The movement is Lange's first to be fitted with a balance spring developed in-house.

2004 -The 1815 Chronograph. Paying homage to Lange's founder, the design of the timepiece reflects the pocket watches crafted by FA Lange. It is powered by the Datograph movement minus the outsize-date display.

2005 -The Tourbograph "Pour le Merite". This is the second Lange watch to be bestowed the "Pour le Merite" designation, a hallmark given to only extraordinary Lange complications like the fusee-and-chain transmission. In this timepiece, Lange's highly complicated L903.0 movement is the first to combine a split-second chronograph with a one-minute tourbillon as well as a fusee-and-chain transmission. That is, two of probably the most elaborate mechanisms for improved rate stability and rate accuracy are integrated into a single watch.

2006 -Datograph Perpetual. This signalled the birth of Lange's formidable twosome: its flyback chronograph, and perpetual calendar. Apart from the day of the week, the month, the four-year/leap-year cycle and the moonphases, the timepiece also indicates the day/night transition.

2012 -Datograph Up/Down. Power reserve is extended from 36 to 60 hours in this chronograph which, apart from an updating of the movement, also has a power-reserve indicator and a proprietary manufacture oscillator.

2013 - 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar. Lange's split-second chronograph and perpetual calendar come together in this model, which also features a moonphase display and power reserve indicator.

2013 -Grand Complication. Lange's most complicated creation. It features seven complications: a split-second chronograph with a minute counter and flying seconds; a chiming mechanism with a grand and small strike; a minute repeater; and a perpetual calendar with a moonphase display.

2016 -Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. The Datograph Perpetual grows more complicated with a tourbillon added to the flyback chronograph-perpetual calendar duo, which made its debut a decade ago. The gravity-defying addition features a patented stop-seconds mechanism.