The VIP guests of Robb Report Singapore’s Car of the Year 2017 were invited to experience first hand exactly how difficult it is to produce a mechanical timepiece. Engineering and manufacturing aside, storied Glashutte stalwart A.Lange & Sohne set up a watchmaker’s workbench in the fair that illustrated just how difficult assembling a detailed timepiece is.
The gauntlet that attendees were put through – if they chose to take on the challenges – started with having to remove a balance screw, which is less than a millimetre in radius, from the balance wheel of an A.Lange & Sohne watch. Within traditional mechanical timepieces, a balance wheel is fed a constant supply of energy that makes it rotate back and forth to keep time. This component has to be precisely balanced by weighting its hoop evenly with tiny balance screws.
Those who attempted this daunting task had to grasp and unscrew these balance screws using calipers. They shared that this feat required immense patience and accuracy. These apprentice watchmakers were also invited to polish A.Lange & Sohne’s plate components upon diamond dust surfaces – this, too, proved to require much skill and experience, as most guests failed to achieve a mirror finish of industry standards.
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The brand’s recently unveiled A.Lange & Sohne 1815 Flyback Chronograph was also showcased at the fair, whose vintage details such as a train track-style pulsometer garnered much attention. A brand that only produces watches in precious materials today, A.Lange & Sohne used to make watches in stainless steel that would serve as replacement watches when owners were having their Lange watches serviced. After the company stopped producing stainless steel watches, these pieces began to surface in the auction market valued at very high prices. Some of Robb Report Singapore’s Car of the Year 2017’s guests, however, showed up at the fair wearing these rare steel A.Lange & Sohne timepieces.
Watchmaking shenanigans aside, Wednesday proved to be another busy day of gratifying test drives. The Maserati Levante enjoyed several compliments on this day, including some from Billy Tan, who preferred it to the Maserati Ghibli. “It’s very agile for an SUV and has good power for a diesel car,” shared Tan. “A nice and quiet drive that has a good finish,” he added.