The fine art of chronography
In the past years, few types of watches have attracted more attention than the chronograph. The landmark "time writer" developed by "A. Lange & Söhne" has undoubtedly added considerable momentum to this popularity trend. Five years after the introduction of the sensational DATOGRAPH, the elegant chronograph version of the "1815" joins Lange's line-up of time-measuring instruments.
At "A. Lange & Söhne" in the Saxon town of Glashütte, the "watch in the watch" has always been a key facet of the manufactory's heritage. Technically sophisticated pocket watches with stop functions were crafted there as early as 1868, and they were masterpieces that defined the benchmark in chronograph design. The engineers and watchmakers in Glashütte breathed new life into this legacy when they stunned the world of horology with the widely acclaimed fanfare debut of the DATOGRAPH in 1999. This remarkable timepiece incorporates technical know-how that has long become extinct elsewhere. But that's only half the story. True to their motto "progress and tradition", they also elevated the classic chronograph principle to new heights. Their calibre L951 emerged as a new chronograph movement unlike any other ever seen by the world of watchmaking since the grand complications of the pocket watch era: With a complex ratchet-wheel mechanism of classic design, the flyback function, and a precisely jumping minute counter. The result is a magnificent piece of craftsmanship, a model of aesthetic appeal, and the epitome of functionality as befits an "A. Lange & Söhne" signature timepiece. Not to mention the fact that all these features are accommodated in a movement with a diameter of merely 30 millimetres.
This unique chronograph movement designated calibre L951.0 without the outsize date has now become the Lange watch that, like no other, is reminiscent of the style of venerable pocket watches: The Lange 1815 CHRONOGRAPH. This chef-d'oeuvre in white or pink gold makes every aficionado's heart beat faster and not merely because of the practical pulsimeter scale on the outmost circle of the dial, a feature that unconditionally qualifies the new chronograph as a working instrument for medical practitioners.
It measures individual laps and cumulative times in the range from one-fifth of a second to 30 minutes. The precisely jumping minute counter totally eliminates measurement uncertainties that can arise with conventional chronographs. Thanks to the rare flyback function, the two chronograph hands for seconds and minutes can instantaneously be reset to zero and a new measurement instantly started simply by releasing the push button again.
The chronograph function in no way interferes with the normal display of time by the clearly arranged dial with its Arabic numerals and the "chemin de fer"-style minute scale. Forming a balanced alliance with the contrast-coloured 30-minute counter dial between 3 and 5 o'clock, the subsidiary seconds dial is on the opposite side.
Several patents are associated with the Lange chronograph movement. Most of the technical features can be admired through the sapphire-crystal caseback. This includes the stepped pinion with the synthetic ruby sliding head for the precisely jumping minute counter; the minute-counter switching lever with jewel bearings on both sides; the separate, additional fourth wheel bridge; the adjustable chrono coupling lever in the centre of the fourth wheel; the shock-resistant screw balance, calibrated to 18,000 vibrations per hour like the old pocket watches; the Nivarox 1 balance spring with a curved overcoil; the balance cock with an artistic free-hand engraving; the whiplash precision index adjuster or the classic ratchet wheel, also known as a column wheel, for triggering and stopping the chronograph functions.
This timepiece embodies an enormous investment in technical expertise, but anything less would fail to do justice to the objective "of crafting the world's finest watches again" as Walter Lange, the great grandson of company founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange phrased it exactly ten years ago when the first Lange watches of the revival were presented to the public. The fine art of chronography has a name again: "A. Lange & Söhne".