The tourbillon is an interesting mechanism. It was developed to neutralize the effects of gravity on a pocketwatch – staying in one position all day, tucked in a pocket, meant that gravity could take a toll on the watch and thus the timekeeping. Now that most watches are on the wrist instead of in the pocket, the tourbillon isn’t as critical a need as it used to be. But it sure is a wonderful thing to see in action, rotating and spinning, and it makes for a good conversation starter. Especially when your watch is from A. Lange & Söhne.
The Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst from A. Lange & Söhne is a beauty indeed. They take the “handwerkskunst” part of the watch name seriously, and the watchmaking artistry is evident all throughout this timepiece.
When the Cabaret Tourbillon was first introduced in 2008, A. Lange & Söhne achieved the milestone of being able to instantly stop the balance inside the rotating cage and restart it just by pushing the crown. The Cabaret was the only rectangular watch model in the A. Lange & Söhne storehouse and it became the basis for the Cabaret Tourbillon. The Handwerkskunst series places a special premium on artisanal expression and for the Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst the focus is the lozenge shape or pattern.
The dial of the Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is in solid white gold crafted in the manufactory and it is a thing of beauty. The color palette is elegant, and lozenge pattern in the center is intricate. The outsize date is framed, in a way, by the lozenge pattern. The master engravers need focused time to work on the pattern because even the slightest deviation would be noticeable. The lozenge shape is used as another design element in the hour markers, except for the 3, 9, and 12 Roman numerals.
There are two subdials here, for the small seconds and the power reserve indicator. The tourbillon aperture at the 6 o’clock has parts that deviate from the grey/white gold color palette, but they add to the elegance instead of taking away from it. The two diamond endstones on the tourbillon are a nice touch too. The rectangular case measures 29.5 by 39.2 millmeters and is in platinum. The watch has a black leather strap with gray stitching and a platinum deployant buckle.
The Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is not just pretty to look at though, it has the technical chops to satisfy the discerning horologist. As a special edition of the world’s first mechanical wristwatch with stop seconds for the tourbillon, the Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst has a lot to live up to. The calibre L042.1 is manually wound and Lange-manufactured. The twin mainspring barrel has a power reserve of 120 hours. Of the 370 parts, 84 are in the filigreed tourbillon, which weighs a quarter of a gram. The crown plays a special role in this watch – pulling it will trigger a lever that pivots a spring onto a balance wheel rim. The balance stops instantaneously and the spring controls the pressure exerted on the balance, making sure it is just enough no matter the position of the cage. This design preserves potential energy, thus allowing the balance to restart immediately when the spring is retracted as the crown is pushed home again.
The A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst is a limited edition of just 30 watches, with a limitation engraving on the case back.