There are two sides to immaculacy. Obviously, it is forever unattainable. Then again, some people spare no effort to gradually approach it step by little step. That, in a nutshell, is the Lange way. The watchmakers in Saxony have but one goal: the perfect timepiece. All processes and procedures are aligned with the ambition to again push the limits of feasibility just a bit beyond where they seem to be. One of the consequences is that at A. Lange & Söhne, every movement is assembled twice. It makes no difference whether it is a simple three-hand calibre or a complication. And there are convincing reasons to do that.
One of them is related to a special design feature – the three-quarter plate introduced by Ferdinand A. Lange in 1864. On the one hand, it enhances precision by stabilising the entire wheel train beneath a single bridge. On the other, it makes assembly more difficult because even an experienced watchmaker has to mount and remove it several times in succession until each individual arbor has just the right endshake.
The other reason relates to the material of which the plate is made. At Lange, all plates and bridges are made of German silver. It is responsible for the rigidity of the movement and in the course of time develops a warm, golden patina that protects its surface. That is why the material is left „untreated“. Unfortunately, it has a disadvantage: a very sensitive surface. Every fingerprint can leave a lasting blemish and tools like screwdrivers may cause scratches.
This is why at A. Lange & Söhne many hours are invested in assembling each movement with utmost virtuosity. Afterwards, the interactions of all mechanical parts are adjusted to the highest degree of perfection. But then, the movement is taken apart again. Now, all parts are painstakingly cleaned, and many of them are lavishly decorated and polished. Even parts that later remain unseen are enhanced in this way. The jig screws used to assemble the raw movement are now replaced with new, thermally blued screws. When the three-quarter plate has been decorated with the characteristic Glashütte ribbing and the last gold chaton has been mirror polished, the movement is reassembled for the second and last time and carefully lubricated at over 50 oil sinks and bearing points with up to eight different greases and oils.