The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual (Somehow) Just Got Even Better
While everybody is oooing and ahhhing over the most surprising new releases at SIHH, one of the luxury watch industry's most important tradeshows, it's an update on an old favorite that has me giddy.
The Datograph Perpetual is an absolute powerhouse of a watch, combining the best of A. Lange & Söhne's manufacturing and design in one package. The changes aren't anything radical, but by refining the things that made the original so desirable and getting rid of everything unnecessary, Lange has made this new edition the handsomest yet.
It's been three years since Lange replaced the basic Datograph with the Datograph Up/Down, flattening out the case a bit, adding that little power reserve indicator, and removing the confusing Roman numerals from the dial. The Datograph Perpetual has had both the larger 41mm case and the power reserve indicator since it was first introduced in 2006, but it was still saddled with those unfortunate Roman numerals. In the new version, they're replaced by straight batons all around and the bezel shape has changed just enough to make the overall profile feel more refined.
The new Datograph Perpetual has an 18k white gold case with a dark gray dial made of silver. The subregisters for the perpetual calendar and chronograph functions are a lighter silver that matches nicely with the hands and markers. The lack of Roman numerals means more gray shows through, which, while it might not sound all that drastic, gives the dial a much roomier feel. Until now, only the rose gold version with a white dial was available without Roman numerals. It's the little things in watches that make all the difference.
There's no argument for this being an everyman's watch. It's totally insane. But if you're looking for something that combines true complication, top-tier movement finishing (the caliber L952.1 is a work of art), and modern styling, this will certainly tick all those boxes. Most highly complicated watches feel as if they're begging to be paired with a bespoke pinstripe suit and a well-worn Chesterfield. A Rick Owens leather jacket and Vitra sofa are a better fit here.
My only real complaint about the new Datograph Perpetual is the casual reference to André Gide in its press release, somehow needed by this German luxury watch brand to justify its color choices. Someone obviously skipped that assignment at university, but we won't hold it against them. It doesn't make the watch itself any less impressive.
The Datograph Perpetual in white gold with gray dial is priced at €119,000 (approximately $138,400).