When the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication was first announced at SIHH 2013 it got the entire watch industry’s attention – as you would expect an extremely complex, 50mm diameter, $2.6 million watch to do – though only a handful of people were able to actually see the watch in person. While most “concept watches” are made in one or two examples and never available commercially, Lange decided to do something different here. There will be two prototypes held onto by the manufacture and six numbered pieces available for sale. That they’re available for a whopping 1.92 million Euro (over $2.6 million at time of publishing) and are nearly unwearable in size is certainly something to keep in mind though. For a point of comparison, this watch is literally double the price of the Sky Moon Tourbillon, which at $1.2 million is the most expensive watch ever offered by Patek Philippe. And sure, with a 50mm diameter and over 20mm thick rose gold case (the movement itself is 40mm across), I guess the watch is in theory wearable, but I actually own vintage desk clocks that are substantially smaller. Again, something to keep in mind, but definitely not the most important thing about this watch. Not even close.
To call the Grand Complication an achievement might sound a little hyperbolic, but bear with me for a moment. I don’t mean an achievement just in the sense that the watch is impressive – though, sure, it is impressive. I also mean achievement in the sense that this watch is less about the actual piece and more about what it represents about A. Lange & Söhne’s last twenty years and where the manufacture wants to go in the future. It’s a sign-post and a calling card as much as it is a finished product. The term Grand Complication is used in a number of ways, but traditionally means that a watch has complications from three families: calendars, timing, and chiming. In this case we get a perpetual calendar with moonphase, a split-seconds chronograph with flying seconds, and a grande and petite sonnerie with minute repeater. Certainly fits the bill for the traditional definition. As someone who loves watches, it is difficult not to be excited by the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication. It is one of today’s greatest manufactures flexing its muscles in a way that is clearly more than just an effort to show off. Lange understands that collectors are expecting more of manufactures and want to see that watch makers are taking the more difficult path to get to unique and interesting takes on both new and old complications. The Grand Complication doesn’t only speak to what A. Lange & Söhne is doing and plans to do in the future – it speaks to what lovers of high-end watchmaking want to see from the manufactures they enjoy. The A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is limited to six pieces worldwide, with a price of 1.9 milliion Euro ($2.6 million at time of publishing).