While the central tenets of mechanical watchmaking have existed for centuries, a small handful of companies continue to show how this historic craft can be revolutionised while staying true to its artisanal roots. In 2008, more than 200 years after the invention of the tourbillon, A Lange & Söhne did just that with its Cabaret Tourbillon.
This innovative timepiece enabled the oscillating balance inside the rotating cage to be stopped to set the watch to the precise second, enabled by pulling the crown to trigger its complex lever mechanism. This incredible engineering feat now returns in the new Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst, presented in a sophisticated lozenge design in platinum, limited to 30 pieces.
The dial is a testament to the artistry of the manufacture. The inner area, home to A Lange & Söhne signature out-sized date, has been intricately hand engraved, bringing depth to the design. This is enhanced further with a semi-transparent enamel layer applied to the dial, showcasing its shades of grey to stunning three-dimensional effect. Balancing out the look are two subsidiary counters, indicating the small seconds and power reserve, in complementary rhodium-coloured gold.
The tourbillon takes pride of place in an aperture at 6 o’clock, while the manual-wind calibre L042.1 can be fully appreciated through the transparent case back. Here, just as much attention has been paid to aesthetics and finishing as the technically advanced watchmaking. The lozenge motif of the dial is echoed with the black-rhodiumed engravings on the tourbillon. Meanwhile, the alluring grey hues are reflected in the train-wheel bridge, presented in untreated German silver with a granular look that draws from historic pocket watches.
The complex movement, measuring in at a slim 22.3 by 32.6mm, is a tour-de-force of advanced watchmaking, comprising 370 parts, including 84 integrated into the tourbillon. Compared to its 2008 counterpart, this timepiece features a new indexless oscillation system with a Lange balance spring, and is equipped with a twin mainspring barrel delivering a power reserve of 120 hours. The watch is fittingly finished with an engraving on the case back, indicating the rarity of this piece of modern horology history.