A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret Tourbillon
The Cabaret Tourbillon is a luxury watch by A. Lange & Söhne. It extends the Cabaret series with its rectangular case and form movement not just by a model with tourbillon, but it also provides the world's first tourbillon calibre with hacking seconds.
The benefits of hacking seconds
1997 the A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret gained much attention with its elegant rectangular shape that evoked the luxury, beauty and perfection of the Art Déco epoch. Eleven years after its conception, the Cabaret Tourbillon by A. Lange & Söhne sets the scene for a world premiere, which main character is the balance wheel in the bogie. With the new Calibre Lange L042.1 it is in fact possible for the first time, to tame the "whirlwind" - the literal translation of tourbillon - with one second stop.
But first things first: Behind the patented invention of the carriage escapement from 1801 hides a brilliant idea. It was tailored to pocket watches which were always carried upright in the same position in the pocket. By letting the precision-determining parts - balance wheel and escapement - turn in a cage frame around the fixed seconds wheel, the position error, caused by the influence of gravity on the never perfectly balanced balance wheel, can be compensated, leading to improved accuracy. Although the need for response correction no longer stands in the foreground with today's wristwatches worn in constantly changing positions, the tourbillon in its intricate complexity has lost nothing of its original fascination.
However, one question remained: if the tourbillon stands for highest accuracy, why is no device so far invented that allows such a watch instantly to stop to adjust it precisely. These question unanswered in the 200-year history of the tourbillon has challenged the designers at Lange - and can eventually find a solution. The possibility of stopping the entire mechanical tourbillon cage in the full movement was ruled out. Because of this rather simple solution, the balance wheel would commute and eventually lose its energy. It would have to run again, get an external pulse. No satisfactory solution so.
To retain the potential energy of the balance spring during the braking process, only the direct, instantaneously brake of the balance wheel rotating in the cage came into question. This was the only way to assure that the balance wheel immediately begins to oscillate on its own again, after releasing the "brake".
How to stop a tourbillon?
But how to stop the oscillating balance wheel of a tourbillon escapement in a rotating cage, especially if every 20 seconds one of the three pillars of the cage is in the way? Till then all specialists who studied the tourbillon escapement so far had surrendered to this problem - and leave it to the designers of Lange to find, more than two centuries after the invention of the tourbillon, an answer: Pulling the crown releases a complex lever movement that puts on a stop lever with two V-shaped spring arms on the external balance wheel and thus stops the balance wheel instantly.
This procedure is complicated by the fact that the V-shaped brake spring could meet with one arm of the three posts of the tourbillon cage. For this reason, the fine stop spring in steel is mounted movably with its two arms on a rotation point of the brake lever. That is, in this case, an arm is resting on the cage pillars, while the other descends to the outside of the balance wheel and stop it just as reliably as if both arms would meet the balance wheel.
The asymmetric curve shape of the two spring ends was determined after long trials. It was exactly formed in a way to develop an optimum pressure in all positions of the brake spring relative to the balance wheel. In addition, the ends of the brake spring are bent so that they can not get caught when stopping and releasing the balance wheel. It's not just a smart complication, aesthetically staged at the dial side of the Cabaret Tourbillon, but also a useful innovation in best Lange tradition. Because the patented invention finally makes it also possible to measure accurately the improved performance of the tourbillon.
Double barrel for a power reserve of five days
The Cabaret Tourbillon can come up with even more features: The double barrel of the newly developed manual winding movement Lange L042.1, when fully wound, delivers the impressive power reserve of five days or 120 hours. A power reserve indicator at 4 o'clock reminds the owner when it is time to feed new energy to his masterpiece.
Below the 12, the famous Lange big date forms a visual equilibrium to the tourbillon, which is visible in a recess of the dial. The form movement is manufactured and finished to the highest Lange quality standards, and is a true feast for the eyes: on the fine decorated three-quarter plate in untreated German silver spread six screwed gold chatons. Three more are on the hand-engraved intermediate-wheel and tourbillon cocks as well as on tourbillon bridge with a black polish on the dial side. The pins of the balance staff are held by two diamond endstones. A rectangular case 29.5 x 39.2 mm large in platinum or red gold offers the perfect setting for the world premiere of the first tourbillon with hacking seconds.
Text partly by A. Lange & Söhne