For the average automatic or hand-wound watch, a force hold longer than 3 days is already very comfortable. However, a few watches can do more… seven days? Easy. More than 10 days? It exists. In any case, what if your watch was able to run for an entire month, without the requirement for you to wind it? Clearly, this would be massive – and it would be the same sort of useless necessity that is offered by a Bugatti Chiron and its 1,500bhp engine… Such an amazing watch exists and it’s called the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31. And while it’s anything but a legitimate curiosity, the as of late presented white gold/gray dial rendition is the occasion for us to glance back at this landmark, and to all the issues that go along!
The length of the force save on a watch can be seen at first as simply one more number. However, it has to be regarded as something a smidgen more important than that. While on automatic watches, the length of the force hold probably won’t be so important from the get go (as when the watch is worn, it ought to be completely twisted the vast majority of the time), it possibly makes sense on the off chance that you wear this watch consistently. What on the off chance that you have more than one watch? The need to twist regularly them will be required. And this is considerably more genuine with regards to hand-wound watches because you know… hand-wound means returning to this useless (yet pleasant) wake-up routine! Therefore, having a watch with more than 72 hours of force hold is a considerable advantage, for a straightforward reason. Imagine you have a dress watch for the week. You unstrap it on Friday night, wear a plunge watch for the end of the week, and then strap it back on Monday morning. 72 hours are consequently enough to guarantee that your watch is as yet running, and to avoid readjusting the time (and the calendar indications if there are some).
Then, obviously, brands have chosen to accomplish more than just 2 or 3 days of force hold. For instance, IWC presently has 7-day power hold watches and with Panerai you can even get a 8-day power save. This really starts to be very some force put away in a development. Nonetheless, the inquiry is: is it important? Actually no, not in excess of a 800bhp supercar. At a certain point, we don’t talk about utility anymore, yet about achievement, about stretching the boundaries of what is possible… And that’s what A. Lange & Söhne did with the massively ground-breaking Lange 31.
When it originally appeared in 2007, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 was the wristwatch with the longest force hold available on the market, and the principal watch to have 31 days/744 hours of energy put away in a solitary development. Although some others later achieved a massive 50 days/1,200 hours power hold (Hublot with their MP-05 LaFerrari) this was simply because the development was stacked with 11 mainspring barrels. On account of the Lange 31, everything comes straightforwardly from a single barrel, although with two mainsprings – and what mainsprings we are talking about… However, such force also infers various issues. Once you’ve put away such energy, the watch should have the option to utilize it and to convey it to the escapement, in a linear way. This is the place where the situation becomes properly complex.
First: storage… How to store 744 hours (or 31 days) of energy in a solitary barrel, without having a development estimated for a work area clock? Miniaturization has always been one of the main fields of research in watchmaking, and regardless of whether the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 is a rather massive watch, it remains wearable on the wrist. All this energy is put away by two mainsprings that each measure no under 185 centimeters uncoiled (approximately the length of an average Joe). In a standard automatic watch, with an approximate 40h force save, the single mainspring of the development is around 25cm-30cm long… Here, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 has a total of 370cm of spring. However, the length isn’t the solitary issue, as the strength of these springs (mainly guided by their thickness) is a lot of better than standard mainsprings, all of which allow the Lange 31 to convey its energy for 31 days.
This was the easiest part. Much the same as it isn’t that hard to deliver a 1,000bhp motor, things become more complex if this motor has to fit inside light supercar. The same issue appears here. While A. Lange & Söhne could certainly offer much more capacity to the watch, such long mainsprings infer a massive barrel – and when seen from the back, the barrel surely involves the greater part of the available space in the already large development (37.3mm wide and 9.6mm thick). This 31-day power save was probably guided by a compromise between the actual achievement and the requirement for the watch to be wearable.
Another issue suggested by these massive mainsprings appears when the watch should be wound. In fact, the springs are solid to the point that a standard twisting framework by the crown would not suffice… The incredible mainsprings are tensioned with a separate key which embeds in a square attachment in an opening of the sapphire crystal back. Its technical features incorporate an integrated backstop ratchet for smooth and easy twisting as well as a force limiter that forestalls unintentional overwinding of the springs.
The last issue suggested by solid springs is very notable by the greater part of the watchmakers, and arrangements exist. In a watch, the more drawn out and the more grounded a mainspring is, the more extended the force hold will be. Alright, this is easy to understand. However, such long springs have a massive drawback: a longer and more grounded mainspring carries inevitably a more grounded force to the development (and if this force is excessively high, it can essentially break the haggles of the gear train). Besides, it also suggests a less stable conveyance of the force over the length of the force hold. The force will in general fall drastically at the finish of the winding capacity, meaning that the escapement will have a lower amplitude, affecting straightforwardly the chronometric performance of the watch. And if this issue is already very complex to address in a 7-day power save watch, at that point it becomes considerably more so on account of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31.
The answer for achieving a linear force to the escapement all through the range of the force save is a constant-power escapement. This gadget, a triangular cam attached to the fourth-wheel arbour and a remontoir spring situated between the twin mainspring barrel and the going train (visible on our photographs above the balance wheel), conveys a constant amount of energy to the escapement like clockwork. Thus, the balance always oscillates with the same ideal amplitude. The outcome is better accuracy from the first than the thirty-first day when a limiter mechanism stops the movement.
What about the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 itself? Nobody can reject that it is clearly not the most elegant and restrained A. Lange & Söhne. To be sure, because of the massive development that is placed inside this watch, the case measures no less than 45.9mm in diameter and 15.9mm in stature (meaning the largest diameter in the ALS assortment, apart from the ultra-selective Grande Complication). Accordingly, it’s nothing unexpected while strapping this watch on the wrist, it is very massive. However, thanks to short and bended drags, it remains a wearable piece, which has to be viewed as a statement. For 2017, the watch got another style, with a white gold case and a dark gray dial – which other than the time, also indicates the date and the force reserve.
The completing of the whole watch is in the vein of Lange’s creation: wonderful. The 3/4 plate of the development, in German silver, is wonderfully decorated, the chicken extension is hand-engraved, rubies are embedded in screwed gold chatons… Even the case, the hands and the records are deserving of being examined under a loupe.
Altogether, the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 has to be viewed as “an practice in style“, a watch made for performances, to demonstrate that boundaries can be broken and that cutoff points can be surpassed. Certainly not the best daily-beater created by A. Lange & Söhne, it remains a watch that just demonstrates that watchmaking is also about improving and more. And for that, the Lange 31 has to be regarded. Price: 142,300 Euro – restricted to 100 pieces. alange-soehne.com .
Technical Specifications – A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31
- Case: 45.9mm diameter x 15.9mm stature – 18k white gold case, cleaned and brushed – sapphire crystal on the two sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Caliber L034.1, in-house created and delivered – hand-wound, explicit device to wind the development – 3Hz recurrence, constant power gadget – 31-day/744-hour power hold – 37.3mm x 9.6mm – hours, minutes, small second, power save, curiously large date
- Strap: Dark earthy colored alligator strap, white gold collapsing clasp
- Reference: 130-039, restricted to 100 pieces
- Price: 142,300 Euro