A. Lange & Soehne presents the Richard Lange "Pour le Merite" in white gold
October 11, 2016: Launching a limited edition of the Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite”, A. Lange & Söhne revives the uncompromisingly precise timekeeping instrument. The new version in white gold with a black dial was debuted recently. Its fusée-and- chain transmission ensures constant torque and superb rate accuracy.
The white-gold case of the new edition has a diameter of 40.5 mm. White Roman numerals and the rhodiumed gold hands contrast well against the black silver dial. Small Arabic numerals in red for 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes add handsome nuances of colour to the underlying black-and-white design. A hand-stitched black alligator leather strap with solid white-gold buckle underscores style.
The salient technical hallmark of all “Pour le Mérite” models since 1994, is a fusée-and- chain transmission that defined new benchmarks in precision watchmaking. Wrapped around the mainspring barrel, the chain delivers the power of the mainspring to the wheel train via the cone-shaped fusée. This keeps the torque constant. When the watch is fully wound, the chain pulls at the smaller circumference of the fusée, i.e. at the shorter lever. Conversely, when the tension of the mainspring is nearly depleted, the chain pulls at the larger circumference of the fusée, the longer lever.
The 636-part chain can support a weight of over two kilograms. But to fully exploit the positive effect of the fusée-and- chain device, product developers added a technical refinement: two separate mechanisms block the winding system before fully wound and fully unwound states. Both prevent the chain – which is only 0.25 mm thick and 156 mm long – from being overstressed.
The fusée-and-chain transmission causes the fusée to rotate in one direction during the winding process and in the opposite direction when the watch is running. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure that the watch continues to run even when it is being wound. An elaborate planetary gearing inside the fusée maintains the flow of power from the fusée to the movement during the winding phase. It is composed of 38 tiny parts which the watchmaker must fit into the tight 8.6-millimetre inside diameter of the fusée.
In the heart of the manufacture calibre L044.1, a freely oscillating Lange hairspring powers the large screw balance at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour. With four solid-gold poising screws, its moment of inertia can be adjusted precisely to the torque delivered by the fusée. The splendid finissage of all movement parts even includes straight graining of the upper side of the chain, which is also crafted in-house. Manifesting artisanship at its finest, the engravings on the balance cock as well as on the escape-wheel and fourth-wheel cock give each of the 218 watches the status of a unique work of art. The number of watches of this edition has a special meaning. The current number of global points of sale at which A. Lange & Söhne timepieces are available is 218!