Review of Lange Datograph

Part 4

By Peter Chong, November 1999

Movement finish

As is typical of Lange watches, the finish is impeccable. Shown left is the detail of the balance cock, showing the balance wheel, and the balance spring.

Labelled 1, is the overcoil curve. Note that as the name implies, the hairspring coils over itself. Invented by Breguet, this allows the coil to breathe regularly. However, in small escapements, the overcoil has a tendency to catch itself, causing the watch to gain wildly (up to minutes within an hour). I understand from my discussion with the Watchmakers at the factory, the Breguet overcoil is more diffult to regulate than a flat one.

Labelled 2 shows the anglage work. Note the even-ness of the anglage throughout the bridge’s edge.

Labelled 3 is the hand engraved balance cock. Sitting on the cock is the stainless steel swan neck fine microadjustment.

Note also the position of the lever which is always centered on the balance cock. In order to achieve this, after full regulation and adjustment is made by moving the lever, miniscule washers are placed in pairs between the screws and the balance, so as to bring the lever back to the center. This makes the screw compensation balance essential for regulation. In a simpler laser poised smooth balance wheel, the screws are not essential, because regulation can always be corrected by moving the lever, which adjusts the length of the balance spring. In a typical watch, the position of the lever is of no consequence. In a Lange, tradition and aestetics demand that it remains centered.

Movement finish is one of the hallmarks of Lange watches, and a lot of time and energy is spent to ensure that a perfect finish is approached as closely as is possible. For a look at how this is done, take a tour of the factory with me.

Concluding remarks

This is the most remarkable watch unveiled in the Basel 1999. It was the talk of the show. I think this watch makes another mark for Lange Uhren, as the most prominent watchmaker of the decade. The finish is absolutely without peer. The movement design shows complete mastery of the tradition and classical horology.

Definitely highly recommended! I leave you with some pictures of the Lange Datograph, together with its Basel 99 sister: the very beautiful 1815 Moonphase.

Gallery Enjoy!

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This page is created by Peter Chong on November 15, 1999.Copyright © 1999 Peter Chong