Having said that, the new Richard Lange PLM in white gold is actually a slightly toned-down version of the original Richard Lange PLM introduced in 2009, quite untimely as that was when the global financial crisis began to take a toll on the market appetite for ultra-luxury wristwatches.
The original 250 pieces were available in rose gold and platinum, featuring an enamel dial and priced at not-so-subtle USD113,500 - pretty steep for a time-only watch, even for all its beauty and the fusée-and-chain. Not exactly the best proposition in the face of the global financial turmoil. This time around, the exact same watch, in 40.5mm, is made available in white gold, except with a silver dial finished in glossy black as opposed to enamel. Perhaps to collectors' joy, one small change in the dial material translates into a renewed retail price of USD82,500. Not to say it's cheap (really, it's a relative concept) or anything, but it does stand as the ultimate time-only, haute horlogerie serially produced watch and at this price point, there really is little meaningful competition to speak of.
The Fusée-and-Chain Mechanism
To wind up the barrel, one would in fact turn the fusee, which brings all the chain over to wrap around it and in the process of doing so, turning the barrel (the chain is connected to the barrel; you move the chain, the barrel moves with it, too) and wind up the mainspring. That's the first step.
Once the mainspring is wound up, it gradually releases the stored energy and pulls the chain back to the barrel from the fusee from top to bottom. The pull of the mainspring is the strongest at the beginning and is applied to the small end of the fusee, so the stronger torque on the fusee is reduced by the smaller lever arm of the fusee radius.
As the mainspring unwinding continues, the weaker pull of the mainspring is applied to the larger radius of the bottom of the fusee. The greater turning moment provided by the larger radius at the fusee compensates for the weaker force of the spring, keeping the drive torque constant, until the mainspring eventually runs out.
As you can tell, it is mechanism that needs to be meticulously put together and one could only imagine the amount of effort that went into producing one of these truly novel creations. But hey, it's all for the love of horology, no?
If you're keen to understand a bit more about the mechanism and to see what it's like for a watchmaker to actually work on it, please treat yourself to the excellent video below from IBG Worldwide where you'd see the Zenith Academy George-Favre in action: