Richard Lange "Pour le Merite"

Wow. What a piece. Thankfully, after last year's Cabaret, Lange & Soehne have decided to redeem themselves. Even if it is limited and most are already allocated, whit this Richard lange they have done quite an impressive work of art. Striping the watch to the bare essential (Hours, minutes and seconds) and concentrate on what is really the achievement. The "fusée-and-chain transmission". The predecessor like the "Turbograph" did not play too much emphasis on the FCT complication once you had the watch in hand. Yes, you got a lot of schematics and pictures but little interaction with the complication since you could not see the chain. Now you can very well see the chain from behind. Observing it while winding is really something... The downside to this little work of art will undoubtedly be the price. Expect it to be close to the 100k mark in Euros and well over that in dollars.

Physically the Richard Lange "Pour le Merite" feels well proportioned. Personally I would have added one millimeter to the case and maybe the traditional German 12 in red, but you can't have it all. When holding this Richard Lange you do get a sense of quality and care that is very present when you hold, a Dufour, Voutilainen or Greubel Forsey. It is almost mystical to hold them. Even if the movement is not as spectacular as the Double-Split (still unparalleled in the industry) this Lange has more magic. An unequivocal sign that this one will hurt your valet big time! Either run far, far away or entrust your wife with the key to your cash safe (not sure if that is too smart either...).

At this point I must thank Lange for not doing yet another senseless Tourbillon. I sincerely hope that one of the casualties of the crisis is the Tourbillon in general. Honestly, 90% of the Tourbillon out there are garbage. If you don't believe me, see the prices you get for them in the second hand market. There are exceptions (RM and the Concepts by AP) but the general rule is that you will loose quiet a bundle if one day you decide to part with it. The dumbest complication to transit from the pocket watch to our wrists has been milked to the max in order to justify prices in the 200 Thousand range. The down side to this behavior is that the industry has complicated their own future. With that greedy strategy they have led people to understand that expensive watches MUST and only CAN be a Tourbillon. The result is that many other more elaborate, interesting and useful complications are a hard sale. Now, when you quote a price somewhere above 100 thousand you get the automatic; "Is it a TOURBILLON?" If the answer is no, then you are looked at as if you where retarded. Can't blame the industry for doing their marketing, yet doing it right is another mater. Every monkey out there knows that such thing as a Tourbillon exists. They know that it's expensive yet they have no clue as to what it does, why it does what it does, why it is so hard to make and why it has come to be in the first place.

A. Lange & Söhne...

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