Perfection, obviously, isn’t something you get in any sort of physical object; it’s an ideal. Since you have to make compromises, inevitably, due to constraints of time and money, the trick is to make as few compromises as possible. Both these watches measure up to that yardstick beautifully. But that doesn’t make them a two-watch collection. What does, however, is that both are also at first glance one thing, and at second glance another. Both appear, at first, to be watches that stand outside any particular time or place – but both are very much of a specific time, and a specific place. It’s impossible to imagine the Lange coming from any place but Germany, and while the clues that the Seiko is a product of Japan are a bit more subtle than a German silver three-quarter plate and rather baroquely engraved balance cock, the incredible geometric precision and blindingly flawless mirror finish of the hands and dial furniture is at least a strong hint.
And, taken as a whole, they both give away their contemporary origins, but in different places – the Seiko, on the dial, and the Lange, in the movement. Both the dial of the Seiko and the movement of the Lange, in essence, imply the presence of a connoisseur – or at least, someone who knows watches – and moreover, of a nostalgic connoisseur. This is not to the detriment of either watch, by the way; they’re both on a continuum with what their makers have been doing, between the two of them, for over 200 years. That they both speak to the nostalgic connoisseur is, in fact what gives them their interest; certainly, much more interest than either would have if they were simply extremely well made watches. To take an analogy from the movies, that Lawrence of Arabia is an illustration of Lawrence’s desert campaign, doesn’t make it a bad movie. (Certainly, the real campaign was very probably one hell of a lot less fun the film, and indisputably longer and more uncomfortable).
Watchmaking isn’t an art, but sometimes the effect of a watch – or in this case, two watches – rises to the level of art, and that’s what makes these two timepieces a fascinating Two Watch Collection.
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