When it comes to unadulterated, pure breed manual-winding chronographs, models that are given solely to capturing elapsed occasions and not furnished with any other paraphernalia, A. Lange & Söhne’s 1815 Chronograph is up there in the pantheon of flawlessness. The model we are exploring for our three-part Battle of the High-End Chronograph arrangement is the 2018 pink gold with black dial variant , similar to the Boutique Edition of 2015 with its pulsometer scale. Like all the current variations on the 1815 chronograph theme ( white gold black dial , Boutique Edition), this watch is outfitted with what is conceivably the most beautiful hand-twisted development on the market today.
In quest for purity
Hand-twisted chronographs with in-house developments and no additional complications are not as prevalent as you would might suspect. Far more complicated to create than a tourbillon, many watch manufacturers have relied upon reevaluated developments, including Patek Philippe’s famous – and now suspended – ref. 5070 . With regards to unadulterated chronographs, Lange’s 1815 Chronograph is up there in the pantheon of flawlessness. Many attribute Lange’s spectacular Datograph flyback chronograph , presented in 1999, as the chronograph that reignited the passion for in-house chronograph developments, but since of its additional complications – large date and force hold indicator – it doesn’t qualify as a competitor in our battle of unadulterated, unadulterated chronographs.
Editor’s note: this survey of the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph is part 2 of a progression of 3 articles where we compare two of the best top of the line, hand-wound chronograph watches at present on the market. Two watches with the same idea, however two unique flavors. The third article, which will be distributed after our two separate reviews, will pit them side-by-side.
The 1815 Chronograph has gone through various esthetic developments during its 15-year lifespan and alongside the Datograph is viewed as a grail watch. The two watches share the same noteworthy chronograph caliber, yet the fact that the Datograph has the hallmark Lange large date complication on board means that it is thicker around the waist. The slimmer profile and smaller case size of the 1815 Chronograph situate it in a somewhat unique category, more like a dress watch for men who don’t mind attracting attention to their wrists.
With a diameter of 39.5mm and a case stature of 11mm, the 1815 Chronograph boasts practically wonderful vital statistics. It’s anything but a ultra-thin model in any way shape or form and actually sits higher on the wrist because of the edge on the caseback for the sapphire crystal. The lavish 18k pink gold case, with its beautifully cleaned and brushed completions, appears to ascend to fulfill your gaze and need your attention. The perfection of operating this flyback chronograph is, in Frank Geelen’s words, ‘majestic’! And I have to agree that activating the strong gold rectangular pushers is an encounter you will not fail to remember. In fact, you’ll be hard-squeezed to discover another chronograph with such smooth, responsive pushers. The pusher at 2 o’clock activates the chronograph clear seconds hand indicating time with a goal of one-fifth of a second. The beauty of a flyback work is that it allows instant successive timings: when the pusher at 4 o’clock is squeezed, the chronograph’s seconds and moment counter hands bounce back to nothing and immediately restart another measurement.
A marriage made in heaven
The marriage of the ebony dial and extravagant pink gold case is one made in heaven. Elegant, striking, sophisticated and unabashedly rich, the contrast between the case and dial is genuinely spectacular. More extravagant than the rose gold and silver dial form, this model is certainly not for wallflowers.
The initial introductions when seeing the dial are ones of balance and neatness. Like other 1815 watches, the symmetrical layout, Arabic numerals and railway-track scales are all components intended to summon Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s elegant 19th-century pocket watches.
The dial is made from strong silver and the inky black tone is the consequence of a galvanisation interaction allowing the white numerals and tracks to stand out. The 2015 Boutique Edition in white gold once again introduced the pulsometer scale, a charming vintage contort that was originally utilized – and still can be – by specialists to measure a patient’s heart rate. Placed on a raised flange that adds profundity to the composition, the pulsometer works by starting the chronograph, tallying 30 heartbeats and then halting the chrono and reading the elapsed time against the scale graduated from 40 to 200 to indicate the heart rate per minute.
The two snailed sub-dials, situated somewhat underneath the equator of the dial – subsidiary seconds on the left and the hopping minute counter on the correct that advances in 1-minute augmentations when the chrono is running – underline the balanced composition of the watch and its classic birthplaces. Historically, the unequivocally bouncing moment counter was a feature often found in pocket watches recording each full transformation of the chronograph seconds hand making it easier to read elapsed time when the chronograph is stopped.
The pink gold hands match the case and there isn’t a trace of lume. While this certainly elevates the watch to a more formal dress esthetic, some may have favored a differentiated shade of hand for the chronograph function.
Miniature Mechanical Metropolis
If you thought the face of this watch was spectacular, simply wait until you turn it over. Fitted with caliber L951.5 – almost the exact same development utilized in the Datograph without the outsize date and force hold indicator – the development is a work of horological art. Lavishly got done with all the hallmark hints of Lange’s developments – hand-engraved balance cockerel, gold chatons, cleaned angles on the bridges, blued screws and Glashütte stripes on the extensions – the composition is as graceful as it is complex. The absence of the traditional three-quarter plate allows an unhampered perspective on the miniature ensemble of the 306-in number orchestra. The utilization of untreated German silver on the scaffolds will eventually deliver a warm, golden patina.
Calibre L951.5 is a section wheel chronograph with a horizontal grip and because of its conservative architecture, you can admire the numerous levels and fascinating interplay of switches, gears, springs and wheels that animate the flyback chronograph capacities and the accurately bouncing moment counter. The development beats at a stately 18,000 semi-oscillations each hour and has a solid 60-hour power reserve.
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph, with reference number 414.031 in pink gold, is introduced on a hand-sewed black alligator leather strap with a pink gold pin clasp. Retail cost of the watch is EUR 51,000 (incl. VAT). For more information, please visit alange-soehne.com .