A. Lange & Söhne Unveils the Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen

by Mario C

The hits keep coming for Watches and Wonders 2024, as the German master craftsmen of A. Lange & Söhne unveiled a brilliant new version of the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon.

Ah, Lange. Pardoning the pun, for the time I’ve known about this brand, they’ve produced nothing but smash hits, which is crazy given their nearly two centuries’ worth of heritage. They’re a consistent face in my rapidly changing Mount Rushmore of watch brands, as I can’t think of any time in my life as a watch enthusiast when I’ve thought negatively about any of their collections. Comparing the lineup, however, one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest as my grail of grails – the Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen. But seeing this new piece unveiled for Watches and Wonders almost makes me want to change my mind.

A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen

Introduced in 2016, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is one of the most elegant yet mechanically intimidating devices ever built for a wrist. Combining the three complications of its namesake – the flyback chronograph/outsize date, perpetual calendar, and tourbillon -, it represents the pinnacle of modern watchmaking and micromechanical engineering. This year, this horological juggernaut has been given a well-deserved rework, and for lack of professional terms, it looks freaking amazing.

A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen – Lume shot

This year’s edition, limited to just 50 references at request, has been encased in A. Lange & Söhne’s signature 18k Honeygold, a lustrous and warm hue of gold reserved only for the brand. On top of that – and what nearly influenced me to change my mind – is the inclusion of a translucent sapphire dial and a healthy dosage of lume on almost every facet of the timepiece. Hands, date window, subdials, you name it – everything has been coated in lume, which at night gives the timepiece an appearance like no other. In that respect, it had become similar to my GOAT, the Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen, but I would still go with my original pick. Although I doubt I will afford either of these any time soon – even my kidney isn’t that valuable.

A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen – Close-up dial details showing date wheels

Of course, what’s important to note is exactly what makes this piece great. Big surprise – it’s the movement. The manufacture calibre L952.4, a manual wind movement made specifically for this year’s reference, was assembled in the same vein as the former L952.2, but with changes I’ll get into momentarily.

A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen – Close-up dial details

An incredibly unique complication among its peers, the Datograph, at first glance, is a regular chronograph complication, with subdials at 8 and 4 o’clock for a signature aesthetic. However, there are features both in and out that separate it from the standard chronograph – first, the outsize date window at the top of the timepiece, constructed of two discs that permit such a large display. Second, the flyback chronograph mechanism allows the user to dynamically record timed events where hitting the reset button flies the chronograph hand back to the beginning without having to stop the chronograph function. It also includes a tachymeter, but for me, a pulsometer would be more appropriate – I would love to see how fast someone’s heart would be beating if they were wearing one of these out at night.

A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen – Open case back showing stunning manual Wind Manufacture Cal. L952.4 movement

The other two complications, the perpetual calendar and tourbillon, are familiar sights for the enterprising watch fan but are done to such a high level that they’re still worth their flowers. The perpetual calendar is built into the chronograph subdials, somehow without compromising the thickness of the watch, also benefiting from a 6 o’clock moon phase indicator serving to enhance the elegance of the timepiece. You might notice that the tourbillon isn’t present, but all you have to do is look through the transparent case back, and you’ll find it ticking away, doing the job it was always built to do. When you’re A. Lange & Söhne, you don’t have to cut out the watch and brag about a tourbillon – the rest of the piece speaks for itself, and the tourbillon is an added plus.

A.Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen – Incredible detail of Manual Wind Manufacture Cal. L952.4 movement

The L952.4 beats at the same 2.5Hz (18,000bph) and has the same 50-hour power reserve as the L952.2, with one change—the power reserve indicator has been removed in favour of the luminous tachymeter scale. But honestly, with the amount of complications you’re getting in such an insane package, was anything of value lost? I would argue that the benefit of an even cooler presentation far outweighs the loss of the power reserve indicator.

Final Thoughts

Where to begin? To manufacture such a ridiculously elegant yet ruthlessly complicated piece is what makes a watch brand the stuff of legends, and A. Lange & Söhne does it every single day. The level of horology at which they operate is scarcely believable, and the fact that they are still able to make the absurd-sounding luminous dial both unique and elegant is yet another feather in the cap of the Richemont brand. While these 50 pieces won’t wait for my numbers to come up in the lottery, I’m content with admiring them from afar, and knowing that haute horlogerie is alive, kicking, and in the safe hands of A. Lange & Söhne.

Reference:  740.055FE

Specification

  • Case: 41.5mm case diameter, 14.6mm thickness
  • Case Material: 18k Honeygold®
  • Dial: Translucent sapphire, lumed interior
  • Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Water resistance: 30m (3 Bar)
  • Movement: Manual Wind Manufacture Cal. L952.4 movement including a tourbillon, perpetual calendar (day/outsize date/month/leap year indicator), moon phase, day/night indicator
  • Movement Frequency: 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour
  • Power reserve: 50 hours
  • Bracelet: Dark brown alligator leather with 18k HONEYGOLD® deployant buckle

Australian Recommended Retail Price: Price Upon Request

Availability: Limited Edition of 50 timepieces. Available to order through A. LANGE & SÖHNE boutiques. To enquire, please head to alange-soehne.com

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