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A. Lange & Söhne - Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite”

The A. Lange & Söhne timepieces with the attribute “Pour le Mérite” have represented the technological avant-garde of the Saxon watchmaker since 1994, when the glorious brand was brought back to life after the enterprise confiscation followed to the 1948 Soviet occupation.

Each of the four “Pour le Mérite” models launched so far is endowed with a fusée-and-chain mechanism which ensures constant torque and superb rate accuracy.

In the Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite”, this extremely rare complication is discernible only on the movement side. The dial is intentionally left simple to remark the nature of precise timekeeping instrument of the watch.

Originally introduced in 2009 in platinum and pink gold, the Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite” is now available also in a limited 218-watch edition where the 40.5 mm x 10.5 mm white gold case frames a black silver dial with white Roman numerals and rhodiumed gold hands.

Small Arabic numerals in red for 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes add a touch of colour to the essential black-and-white design.

In the heart of the manufacture calibre L044.1, the 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 fusée-and-chain mechanism guarantees constant torque and thus stability of the amplitude of the balance across the entire power-reserve range. 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, the 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 millimetres thick and 156 millimetres 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 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 watch-maker must fit into the tight 8.6-millimetre inside diameter of the fusée.

All this remains concealed beneath the black dial. But the most important parts of the fusée-and-chain device are clearly visible through the sapphire-crystal caseback thanks to large openings in the three-quarter plate.

All movement parts are finished at the highest standards, even including straight graining of the upper side of the chain, which is also crafted in-house.

The engravings on the balance cock as well as on the escape-wheel and fourth-wheel cock are hand made by the same artisan, a detail which sets each individual timepiece apart from all others.

The number of watches of this Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite” limited edition (ref. 260.028) has a special meaning. In fact, the current number of global points of sale at which A. Lange & Söhne timepieces are available is 218.

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