The piece we’re checking out today is the A. Lange & Sohne 730.079F 1815 Tourbillon Enamel Dial. This very special edition of the 1815 Tourbillon was launched in 2018 in a small batch of only 100 pieces. The watch is definitely sharp looking, but let’s touch on that in a moment. First, a word on what makes the 1815 Tourbillon movement so interesting.
Originally released in 2014, the watch upon which this enamel dial variant is based came in a pink gold case. The number 1815 honors the birth year of the company’s founder, Ferdinand Adolph Lange. It was the first time Lange had released a watch featuring both a tourbillon, and a zero-reset mechanism.
Without getting as granular as what lever and gear does what, a zero-reset mechanism allows the wearer to stop, set, and restart the watch with one-second accuracy. You pull the crown and the movement stops, causing the seconds hand to jump to zero. You set the minute hand, synchronizing the time to an external reference and then restart the watch at the start of the minute. Anyone who has suffered through a love/hate relationship with a non-hacking vintage watch will especially appreciate this feature. But remember, this is a tourbillon, which means the tourbillon has to be stopped in order to make all this happen. Pretty slick, A. Lange & Sohne.
This impressive calibre is housed in an equally impressive package. The 39.5mm case is platinum. The case is thicker in this limited edition version allowing room for the enamel dial. A quick way to spot the difference between the standard and limited editions is the 12 at high noon—the enamel versions feature crisp red Arabic numerals.
As we have often talked about here at The Collective, dials like these aren’t easy to produce. Each one is hand made. The text and railroad-motif ring are all transfer painted using enamel paint. It takes seven or more of these firings to complete a dial. Of course, each firing increases the risk of fracturing, and once fractured an enamel dial cannot be salvaged. Donzé Cadrans SA, one of Switzerland’s premier enamel dial producers (owned by Ulysse Nardin since 2011) has said in the past that even with the most simple white enamel dial, typical production failure rate is somewhere between 40 and 60%.
Beyond the railway-track minute scale, the watch features plenty of other classic design elements that traditionalists will love; the blued steel sword hands stand in elegant contrast against the white enamel. The tourbillon at six o’clock also features a blued running seconds hand.
The sapphire case back allows a generous view of the movement. The fourth-wheel bridge is adorned with freehand engraving and a diamond endstone in a screwed gold chaton. Being a limited edition piece, each one is individually numbered on the back, letting you know exactly which of the 100 pieces you hold in your hand.
Secure this lovely watch to your wrist using the accompanying leather strap with its matching platinum deployant clasp and you’ve got yourself an elegant, understated dress watch that combines time-tested design elements with cutting-edge convenience. It’s simple in the way a time-only piece of this pedigree ought to be, and it wears that simplicity with grace. In other words, don’t sleep on this one, folks.