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Masterpieces on a Journey to AsiaPour le Mérite: Four legendary watches

First unveiled at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, the RICHARD LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite” now joins its equally illustrious predecessors: LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite” (1994), TOURBOGRAPH “Pour le Mérite” (2005) and RICHARD LANGE “Pour le Mérite” (2009). Watch connoisseurs in Singapore will have the chance to get up close and personal with this distinguished quartet from 13 July to 19 July 2011 at L’Atelier at ION Orchard, a luxury watch boutique which is managed by Singapore’s foremost watch retailer, The Hour Glass.

The title “Pour le Mérite” was first instituted by King Frederick William IV of Prussia in 1842 at the instigation of the famous explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Today, the title continues to be bestowed upon great scientists and artists, and their creations. Needless to say: Only the most exceptional A. Lange & Söhne complications that boast unparalleled handcrafted precision, mechanical innovation and artistic values have been conferred this esteemed suffix.

The defining feature of an A. Lange & Söhne “Pour le Mérite” timepiece is its fusée-and-chain transmission system, which ensures constant force to the movement regardless of its winding state and power reserve. The system also features a planetary gearing that assures uninterrupted and constant transmission of energy even when the watch is being wound. Historically found in rare 19th and early 20th century pocket and marine chronometers by A. Lange & Söhne, the fusée-and-chain system can be traced to a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, which dates back to the beginning of the 16th century.

Since its first “Pour le Mérite” timepiece, A. Lange & Söhne has featured the fusée-and-chain transmission on its own (as in the RICHARD LANGE “Pour le Mérite”), as well as with other complications (as in the TOURBOGRAPH “Pour le Mérite” with one-minute tourbillon and rattrapante chronograph, and the LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite” with a tourbillon mechanism). In this year’s RICHARD LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite”, the system is paired with a tourbillon and a patented stop-seconds mechanism.

The star of the exhibition, the RICHARD LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite” has its roots in a regulator pocket watch created by the watchmaker Johann Heinrich Seyffert (1751-1817) from Saxony. The original watch dial features three intersecting circles for the time indications and a fusée-and-chain mechanism in its movement – all winning attributes that have been incorporated into the RICHARD LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite”. Just as astounding visually, the RICHARD LANGE TOURBILLON “Pour le Mérite” sports an ingenious switching mechanism, which allows the watch to expose its tourbillon cage via a round cut-out window, and cover the exposed segment at the appropriate time segment as the hour hand traverses over the temporary aperture.

To further immerse visitors in the “Pour le Mérite” experience, the exhibition also features a Lange master watchmaker demonstrating the virtues of the fusée-and-chain transmission system. For those who are keen to delve even deeper into the timepieces, A. Lange & Söhne presents the newly published “Pour le Mérite” book, an impressive tome authored by the founder of the Lange Owners Group, Peter Chong, which charts the inner-workings and impact of the celebrated timepieces.