The layout of the dial also remains the same – meaning that it can sometimes be difficult to read the calendar. As all the indications are located inside the subdials, the Datograph Perpetual gains in purity what it loses in legibility. The addition of a QP doesn’t really change the face of the Datograph, as no extra window or sub-counter is added. The outsize date remains located at 12 o’clock, the moon-phases are indicated at 6 o’clock (replacing the power reserve of the Datograph), the months are integrated into the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, and the day is on the small-seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. Only two subtle additions have been added; a day-night indication on top of the small-seconds subdial, and a leap-year subdial below the 30-minute counter. The main issue with this design is that the integration of subdials into other subdials makes them difficult to read. On the other hand, the Datograph Perpetual keeps the iconic look of the classical Datograph as well as its purity.
Lange’s Caliber L952.1 is in all ways identical to the old movement used in the Datograph (not the Up/Down), except for the QP module on the top, meaning that through the case-back, it looks just as brilliant and superb. However, it also raises an issue: its low power reserve of 36 hours. Many won’t mind this, however, as it will force them to wind it every day and thus to enjoy a mechanical link with their timepiece. However, a longer power reserve is more comfortable on a daily basis. A. Lange & Söhne has been responsive on this issue, as it has improved the Datograph Up/Down with a 60-hour power reserve.
In any case, none of this affects the beauty of this movement, with its complicated layout: multiple apparent gears and levers, screwed gold chatons, and the warm color of the untreated German silver and blued screws, which contribute to making it one of the most beautiful movements in the industry. It is composed of 556 parts, all finished by hand and assembled twice. A pure feast.
To conclude, we have to admit that the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Grey Dial White Gold is an appealing timepiece imbued with charm, albeit one full of contradictions. It is clearly not as pure and iconic as the Datograph Up/Down, but on the other hand it increases the level of exclusivity by adding a perpetual calendar. Its movement has a very low power reserve but we can’t help ourselves from spending hours looking at it. The dial is not the easiest to read (especially the subdials), but on the other hand it is extremely balanced and looks gorgeous on the wrist, particularly in this gray combination.
The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual, in white gold with gray dial, is priced at 119,000 euros.