The annual calendar is a complication that enjoys an ever increasing popularity. Unlike a perpetual calendar, an annual calendar requires adjusting the date once a year, at the end of February. For many watch collectors, this yearly tradition is to prefer over a regular full calendar which needs adjusting every month that doesn’t have 31 days. By being a little less complex, and slightly less prestigious, annual calendars usually carry a wallet-friendlier price tag than their perpetual siblings. They are however becoming more and more a segment of their own, as many brands start to include an annual calendar in their collections. Lange & Söhne has had annual calendars in the past, yet with the new 1815 Annual Calendar, they clearly move forward in this direction.
The first thing that strikes you is what a balanced design the 1815 Annual Calendar is. Most brands feel the need to do something quirky to have their annual calendars stand out between the full calendars and the perpetual calendars. Not Lange & Söhne, they obviously feel that making it beautiful will make it stand out enough. Right they are! Few watches are as balanced as this 1815 Annual Calendar. We are not only talking about its symmetrical dial but also how every part of this watch seems to complement the others. Lange & Söhne opted for a 40mm case, which keeps the watch discreet, yet also keeps even the sub dial showing both day, and date, still readable without that you have to stare at the watch for a prolonged time.
For the 1815 Annual Calendar, Lange & Söhne created a new movement. Caliber L051.3 is crafted in true Glashutte-tradition, with its three-quarter plate and engraved balance cock. It is one of those movements that you don’t want to be automatic, and are happy that the annual calendar complication is not placed on the back of the movement (which wouldn’t make sense anyway). Its clean look truly complements the dial side of the watch, again contributing to the balance in design and execution that you find in the 1815 Annual Calendar. Even the text on the dial is spaced out to perfection, the words annual calendar on the right subdial balancing the day indication on the left.
Although the movement looks traditional, this didn’t stop the watchmakers of Lange & Söhne to add some refinements that work particularly well with this type of complication. The movement has a power reserve of 72 hours, which is generous, especially when you consider that Lange & Söhne packs this, as well as the annual calendar complication, in a movement that is only 5.7 mm thick. The next refinement is the pusher placed at 2 o’clock, which can be used to adjust the date. While on most watches this pusher will only be used once a year, it is one of the details that contributes to making the 1815 Annual Calendar one of the best watches of its kind.