Flashback 2008: Inside A. Lange & Söhne, A PictorialBy Revolution
What goes into a Lange timepiece? Ingenuity, Patience, craftsmanship, precision, expertise… and a dedication to perfection. While dusting off DVDs (what on earth are these?!) of archived Revolution issues, we chanced upon these photographs taken by then Revolution photographer Josh Hu that we feel convey these very values, without words. They were taken during a team visit to the Lange manufactury in Glashütte, Germany, sometime in 2008. Much has changed since, we’re told; but not the essential, intangible values that lie beneath these images.
Decoration & Initial Assembly
Embellishment of movement parts are done by hand. Edges are chamfered; some plates, levers and wheels are grained; and some polished to a mirror shine. Small balance cocks are engraved by hand by master engravers. Then comes the initial assembly of the movement, to make sure that the mechanisms work, and minute adjustments made to perfect its screw balance.
Finishing & Reassembly
After calibration of the parts, the movement is taken apart again to remove any dust or debris that may have been accidentally introduced during the adjustment stage. All the parts that were not decorated prior to the first assembly are now given their finishing touches – surfaces are engraved, stippled, guillochéd, or black-polished. Such pride is taken in the finishing of these masterpieces that even the parts which won’t be visible after the movement has been completely assembled, are also decorated.
Completion & Testing
The finished parts of the movement are reassembled, and the rest of the watch – unit discs, pushers, dials and hands – are added. Over several weeks, the completed watch is then mounted in an orbital watch winder, which simulates wearing conditions. Each day, the watch is checked to ensure that all its mechanisms are functioning, and its rate accuracy measured. Fine adjustments are made such that the maximum rate deviation is between -3 to +7 seconds a day.