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From Everything.Sucks

A. Lange & Söhne is a trademark of Lange Uhren GmbH, a German manufacturer of luxury and prestige watches. The company was originally founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in Glashütte, Germany in 1845. The original A. Lange & Söhne was nationalized and ceased to exist in 1948, following the occupation by the Soviet Union after World War II. The current A. Lange & Söhne trademark was re-registered when Lange Uhren GmbH was founded in 1990 by Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange. The A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual "Pour le Mérite": movement, Lange caliber L133. 1, hand-wound with 36 hour power reserve, adjusted to 5 positions; 32mm x 10.9mm. 684 components counting the chain as a single part; number of chain links, 636; 36-hour power reserve.

According to a piece published in September 2013 by Oscar Rickett for VICE Vladimir Putin officially only pulls in about $180,000 a year, which—shamefully—is less than what David Cameron, prime minister of "a small island to which no one pays any attention," makes. However, Putin's watch collection alone is valued at over $700,000, meaning those alleged ownership stakes in multiple oil and gas companies must be serving Vlad pretty well. The sweetest watch in his collection is this $500,000 number from A. Lange & Söhne, described by the company as a "peerless masterpiece," just like its celebrated Russian owner. Made of crocodile leather, sapphire glass, and platinum, an A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph may be his most expensive timepiece, valued at half a million dollars. The message behind these watches is pretty obvious: in a country that reintroduced the term "oligarchy" to the wider world, Putin needs to remind his people that he is in charge; that if Russia is a mafia state, he is its capo di tutti capi. He uses his watches as props in this pantomime, just as the Russian opposition uses them as a symbol of his corruption—the Russian United Democratic Party made this short video, which at 1:02 shows Putin throwing one of his expensive timepieces into wet cement. There it sits, waiting to be swallowed and eventually driven over. At other points in the video, Putin's shown deciding—seemingly on a whim—to give watches to strangers. In the same way, the Russian tsars gave Faberge eggs to their family members to indicate their power and wealth, Putin hands out watches. (By the way, Faberge eggs are still ridiculous status symbols for Russia's ruling class. The more things change, etc.)

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