740.036 A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon

It was a question, less than a decade ago, if the very top end of A. Lange & Söhne could ever seriously challenge the apex complicated models of Patek Philippe. The comparison is useless, the two manufactures approach watchmaking with such distinct philosophies. But, if there were any remaining doubt, surely this ref. 740.036 puts it to the grave and then incinerates it. I’ve often called the Datograph calibre L951.6 the finest chronograph movement made at scale. By contrast, this is arguably the finest very complicated movement made not in any scale, 100 examples to be precise. Look, when Alp over at Langepedia calls a watch his ‘one ring’, referring to Gollum in LOTR, you should pay attention. He knows things, as far as I’m concerned he’s the Galdalf here and this is the Lange to rule them all.


You won’t find a tourbillon perpetual calendar chronograph at Patek Philippe, Lange understood they had go further rather than what existed in Switzerland. Have a look at a 5270, study closely; that is the archetype. No informational display here reads remotely traditionally, and yet the dial is totally uncluttered. It’s not just a different approach, but a balanced one. Cue negative space tropes. I particularly love how elegantly the power reserve carries on from the arc of the tachymetre. It reads as a Datograph first, complicated perpetual calendar second, true to Lange history. The Dato Perpetual Tourbillon came out in 2016 and felt like a declaration of not just ability, but victory lap for the Datograph and its offspring as a whole.


The movement is simply a marvel, as you will expect. But most importantly, to my sensibility, the tourbillon is not dial-side. This makes the 740.056 (and 740.046) infinitely more attractive than a Pour le Mérite and just about anything comparable. That’s half the appeal of Laurent Ferrier’s entire brand for me, very few watchmakers do the hidden tourbillon any longer. Allow me a motoring analog. On a podcast, designer of the Mclaren F1 Gordon Murray revealed that during development, the created a test mule BMW M5 wagon . . .with the 6.1L V12. That’s the hidden tourbillon: discreet, but ungodly levels of R&D lurking beneath. How is that not sexier? And remember this is Lange. So they’ve assembled those 729 German silver components twice. Speaking of R&D, you see that pusher at 10? That’s not a split seconds, but something else. Because this is a manually-wound perpetual calendar, its wearer may need to set it often. That pusher advances all calendar functions by one day, totally in-step. Those fantastic Germans carry on the long-lived tradition over there of actually considering how an object is used, in detail. Oh, and the tourbillon’s jewel is a diamond, not ruby. I’m starting to understand how Smeagol fell out of society and became possessed.


It was introduced in 2016 as this ref. 740.036 black dial in platinum, followed a few years later by the stylish 2019 ref. 740.056 salmon dial in white gold. The former more heavily references Lange genealogy like the Zeitwerk Striking Time, unique Tourbillon Pour le Mérite, and Darth. The latter, salmon, feels a bit more vintage Swiss-leaning. Both are perfect and both were made in 100 examples only. And handful of both have surfaced since the 20-teens, all just slightly below MSRP still. They started around 250K US in 2019ish but are inching back closer to 300K today. As a line in the sand where A. Lange & Söhne had finally objectively reached beyond Switzerland, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these double in the next decade.

This is example is lightly worn, nothing more. It comes with its full set from a well-regarded London retailers.