Rectangular watches probably do not come to mind when you think about A. Lange & Sohne, but the Cabaret, a rectangular timepiece with Art Deco influences, was actually first introduced by the brand in 1997. The Cabaret Tourbillon, launched in 2008, marked an important milestone not just for Lange but for horology. It was the first ever watch wristwatch with a hacking tourbillon, which means that the tourbillon stops when the crown is pulled out. This allows time to be set with to-the-second accuracy.
Following an absence of several years, the Cabaret Tourbillon now makes a comeback in a Handwerkskunst (German for craftsmanship) version. Watches in Lange’s Handwerkskunst series are characterised by exceptional artistic finishes and flourishes, and considering how well-finished its “regular” watches are as it is, that’s saying a lot.
An immediate standout feature here is the central portion of the solid white-gold dial, which features an intricate lozenge-shaped repeating motif that is engraved by hand. The motif echoes the shape of the gold hour markers, and is also repeated on the two cocks of the movement. The engraved section features a thin border decorated with tremblage, which is essentially a very refined hammered finish created by an artisan using a small pointed burin.
In true Lange “do it even if people can’t see it because it makes the watch better” fashion, the dial is coated with semi-transparent enamel. This creates a greater sense of depth and highlights the different shades of grey and silver. Another touch that finissage connoisseurs will appreciate is the black polishing applied to the top of the tourbillon bridge, which is matte-finished at the bottom for contrast.
Literally cutting no corners, the form (non-circular) movement Calibre L042.1 follows the shape of the platinum case, which measures 39.2 by 29.5mm. Naturally, like the original, the tourbillon features Lange’s lever mechanism that allows it to come to a complete stop, and instantly restart when the crown is pushed in again. Thanks to the presence of twin mainspring barrels, the new watch also has a pretty lengthy power reserve of 120 hours.
And of course, the movement is beautifully finished. The three-quarter plate features a matte granular surface that subtly complements other decorations such as the circular graining on the visible wheels, the black-rhodiumed engravings and inscriptions, and of course, the rubies, blued screws and gold chatons that are a Lange signature. As one would expect of a timepiece with such a high level of hand-finishing, only 30 pieces will be produced.