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FrontRunners: Medal Ceremony

James D. Malcolmson

By naming the watch after the Prussian medal for outstanding artistic and scientific accomplishments, A. Lange & Sohne (310.980.5264, www.lange-uhren.com) established lofty expectations in 1994 for its Pour le Mérite tourbillon, the centerpiece of the company’s first modern collection. The latest version of the watch, the Pour le Mérite Tourbograph, advances the original’s technical feats by combining a tourbillon and a rattrapante (split seconds) chronograph. A. Lange & Söhne introduced the timepiece last December to mark the 160th anniversary of its founding. The launch also coincided with the 15th anniversary of the company’s reestablishment, following its shutdown in the years during and decades after World War II. Lange initially will limit production of the Tourbograph to 51 platinum pieces, one of which will be kept in the company museum.

The new watch and the original share an idiosyncratic fusée-and-chain transmission system, which employs a chain comprising more than 600 parts to connect the mainspring barrel to the fusée, a graduated spool-like component around which the chain is wound. The ingenious mechanism, devised by company founder Adolph Lange in the mid-19th century, compensates for rate errors as the mainspring winds down.

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