Hands on the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication, the most complicated and exclusive timepiece ever built by the Saxon master watchmakers.

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication.

This is my audio-visual story to present you one of the most spectacular wristwatches ever made. Please enjoy the photos, the HD-video and the recording of the sound of the striking mechanism.

During your career as a watch journalist you get to see a lot of amazing watches. Over the years you somehow get used to it and for the brands it gets more and more difficult to impress you.

Guys, yesterday I was impressed!

I only once before saw the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication live; this was last January at the SIHH in Geneva.

Now almost a year later I rediscovered the Grand Complication again. What a privilege to do this together with Anthony de Haas, Head of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne! The Grand Complication is one of Anthony´s ticking babies, so believe me no one else could have been a better colloquist for me.

So after sifting my material this is what I can offer you:

You can discover the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication from A to Z.

And this is what you have to do:

Take some time and listen to our conversation, while using my photographs to discover all the details Anthony and I talked about. Then listen to the second sound-file to discover the striking mechanism of the Grand Complication and then watch the short HD-video to see the monopusher type chronograph operating with its rattrapante function and jumping seconds (seconde foudroyante).

You are not fully convinced yet? So let me tease you: Beneath the lucidly configured enamel dial, the horological opus made in Saxony/Germany with the calibre designation L1902 incorporates scores of lavishly finished parts, bringing to life the most elaborate complications which the art of haute horlogerie has to offer: Chiming mechanism with grand (grande sonnerie) and small strike (petite sonnerie), minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph with minute counter and jumping seconds as well as a perpetual calendar with moon phase display.

 

 

 

 

Anthony de Haas, Head of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne showing The Grand Complication
Anthony de Haas, Head of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne showing the Grand Complication

 

 

The chronograph of the is a monopusher type (chronographe monopoussoir) with a rattrapante function and jumping seconds (seconde foudroyante). This rare supplementary function makes it possible to freeze stopped times to fifths of a second. A blued-steel hand on the lower subsidiary dial performs five jumps to complete each revolution along its five-second scale while the chronograph is running. Thus, the hand precisely emulates the balance frequency of 2.5 Hz.

The HD-video shows how to use the chronograph. First Anthony started the chronograph, then he stopped the split-second hand, then the reset of the split-second hand followed and finally the reset of the chronograph to zero. At “6 o´clock” you see the jumping seconds…

 

 

By scrolling through the my photographs you can discover all the details Anthony and I talked about … To enlarge my photos click on them once and the again …

 

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. Monopusher type chronograph; Start/stop pusher
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. Monopusher type chronograph; Start/stop pusher
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. Monopusher type chronograph; rattrapante pusher
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. Monopusher type chronograph; rattrapante pusher
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The winding crown. Turning the crown clockwise tensions the springs for the going train and the chronograph. The chiming mechanism barrel is wound in the opposite direction.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The winding crown. Turning the crown clockwise tensions the springs for the going train and the chronograph. The chiming mechanism barrel is wound in the opposite direction.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The winding crown.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The winding crown.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The white enamel dial.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The white enamel dial.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. When the slide in the case flank is actuated, the minute repeater indicates the time on demand with two gongs: The hours sound with low-pitched tones, the quarter-hours with double-tone strikes, and the minutes with high-pitched tones.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. When the slide in the case flank is actuated, the minute repeater indicates the time on demand with two gongs: The hours sound with low-pitched tones, the quarter-hours with double-tone strikes, and the minutes with high-pitched tones.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication.  Selector for the grand strike (grande sonnerie) or small strike (petite sonnerie) modes.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. Selector for the grand strike (grande sonnerie) or small strike (petite sonnerie) modes.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication; The exclusive collectors' item in the 50-millimetre pink gold case comes in a limited edition of six watches.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The exclusive collectors’ item in the 50-millimetre pink gold case comes in a limited edition of six watches.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The heart of the exclusive manually wound movement is a balance that beats with a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The heart of the exclusive manually wound movement is a balance that beats with a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. As a tribute to Ferdinand A. Lange, who established Saxony's watchmaking heritage, the watch incorporates a Glashütte lever escapement based on one of his early inventions.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. As a tribute to Ferdinand A. Lange, who established Saxony’s watchmaking heritage, the watch incorporates a Glashütte lever escapement based on one of his early inventions.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. Its lever and escape wheel are made of hardened 18-carat gold. The lever is designed to be in perfect equilibrium. A slight camber of the covered pallets prevents any adhesion with the escape wheel.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. Its lever and escape wheel are made of hardened 18-carat gold. The lever is designed to be in perfect equilibrium. A slight camber of the covered pallets prevents any adhesion with the escape wheel.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The oscillator is paired with a balance spring crafted in-house. When the mainspring is fully wound, it delivers a power reserve of 30 hours.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The oscillator is paired with a balance spring crafted in-house. When the mainspring is fully wound, it delivers a power reserve of 30 hours.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. All parts of the complex manual winding movement are manufactured and lavishly finished by hand to the strictest Lange quality criteria.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. All parts of the complex manual winding movement are manufactured and lavishly finished by hand to the strictest Lange quality criteria.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange's master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange's master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange's master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange's master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. A limited edition of only six pieces.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. A limited edition of only six pieces.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. This one is still a Prototype
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. This one is still a Prototype
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange's master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange's master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange's master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. At several points, Lange’s master watchmakers took the amount of work invested in finissage to unprecedented levels: For example, all chronograph levers are black-polished.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The face that conceals the complex movement of the watch is a multi-part white enamel dial with Arabic numerals, a railway-track minute scale, and the four characteristic, symmetrically arranged subsidiary dials.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The face that conceals the complex movement of the watch is a multi-part white enamel dial with Arabic numerals, a railway-track minute scale, and the four characteristic, symmetrically arranged subsidiary dials.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. A suite of time-consuming process steps is needed for each of the five dial elements to assure the flawless appearance of the composite dial.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. A suite of time-consuming process steps is needed for each of the five dial elements to assure the flawless appearance of the composite dial.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The calendar indications are positioned at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock. The subdial on the left indicates the date,
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The calendar indications are positioned at 3, 9 and 12 o’clock. The subdial on the left indicates the date,
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The upper half of the jumping seconds dial exposes the blue-enamelled, solid-gold moon disc that precisely tracks the synodic lunation of the earth's companion.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The upper half of the jumping seconds dial exposes the blue-enamelled, solid-gold moon disc that precisely tracks the synodic lunation of the earth’s companion.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The upper half of the jumping seconds dial exposes the blue-enamelled, solid-gold moon disc that precisely tracks the synodic lunation of the earth's companion.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The upper half of the jumping seconds dial exposes the blue-enamelled, solid-gold moon disc that precisely tracks the synodic lunation of the earth’s companion.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The upper half of the jumping seconds dial exposes the blue-enamelled, solid-gold moon disc that precisely tracks the synodic lunation of the earth's companion.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The upper half of the jumping seconds dial exposes the blue-enamelled, solid-gold moon disc that precisely tracks the synodic lunation of the earth’s companion.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The perpetual calendar mechanism emulates the Gregorian calendar. Not only does it know how many days each month has in the course of a year, it is also aware of the fact that February has 29 days in leap years.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The perpetual calendar mechanism emulates the Gregorian calendar. Not only does it know how many days each month has in the course of a year, it is also aware of the fact that February has 29 days in leap years.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The mechanism first needs to be corrected by one day in the year 2100. This is because of special rule in the Gregorian calendar which stipulates that the leap year is omitted if the year is divisible by 100.
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. The mechanism first needs to be corrected by one day in the year 2100. This is because of special rule in the Gregorian calendar which stipulates that the leap year is omitted if the year is divisible by 100.
Anthony de Haas, Head of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne wearing The Grand Complication
Anthony de Haas, Head of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne wearing the Grand Complication
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. That´s a huge watch!
A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. That´s a huge watch!

 

 

 

 

 

More from Alexander Linz
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter – this is the 500 pieces GIGN Edition Limitée
500 pieces of the unique Oris wristwatch with a mechanical altimeter/barometer are...
Read More
11 replies on “Hands on the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication, the most complicated and exclusive timepiece ever built by the Saxon master watchmakers.”
  1. says: James Wurzburger

    A watch that is an absolute masterpiece. And, a great report from Alexander along with stunning photos.

  2. says: Alexander Herzog

    What a phantastic piece of watchmaking art. I am courious about the answer of Patek Philippe im May, if so !

  3. says: Martin

    Many thanks to Anthony and his team to remember us the fine art of watchmaking. It s just perfect.
    The big brother Nbr. 42500 is still a little bit more complicated, so what s next? A different way to chime AM/PM? Im sure you can do it!
    “Bedankt”

  4. says: Edwin Tschopp

    Super watch, no doubt. 777 miles out of my small budget. But why cutted numerals (3, 6, 9)? Better would be IMHO no 3, 6, 9 at all.

  5. says: Thomas

    Absolute genius and still keeps a certain simplicity – just stunning.
    Thanks Alex for the wonderful pictures.

  6. says: Debashish

    I think A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is one of the greatest watches to be created till date! This ALS watch seems to be from some other Galaxy, it is simply stupendous!

    Thank you for bringing this truly outstanding timepiece to us!

    1. says: Charles Rizzuto

      Dear Alexander, this timepiece is indeed a marriage of art and technology. The 1/5th of a second foudroyante is new to me. The general course is the 1/8th of a second @4Hz. I believe the English Masters initially perfected this complication, with the late Massimo Macaluso of Girard-Perregaux & Jean Richard adding to this complication.I do believe that the English Masters had attempted to construct a 1/10th second foudroyante; but that was soon abandoned. Can you tell me if the 1/5th second was only possible due to the fact that the watch is a winding mechanical and not an automatic; since pure mechanical watches generally function at a lesser vph. Again, thanks for sharing this beautiful timepiece. Sincerely, Charles Rizzuto

      1. The balance is oscillating at 18.000 A/h this equals a precision of 1/5th of a second and this is what you can read from the Foudroyante sub dial. The 18.000 A/h are a good choice in such a classical watch; less is just more here …

Comments are closed.