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This 1815 Chronograph combines the same, exceptional base chronograph movement as the mythical Datograph, with a more pared-back design. A rare first generation iteration of the piece, it boasts a modern design and a distinctive dial.
The Rebirth of A. Lange & Söhne
The name Lange has been tied to watchmaking and the Saxony area of Germany for centuries. In the 1800s, Ferdinand Aldoph Lange – which is where the “A” in A. Lange & Söhne comes from – began his watchmaking journey under the tutelage of a master watchmaker, Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. Passed from father to son, the Lange name flourished, before encountering considerable obstacles during the 20th century. The brand got caught up in the turmoil caused by World War One, the financial crash of 1929, World War Two and was finally placed under the rule of the Soviet Union. The company was nationalised for the next 45 years, essentially spelling the end of the A. Lange & Söhne name.
Years later, in 1990, the brand was resuscitated by the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, Walter, and watch industry veteran, Günter Blümlein. Blümlein, a Nuremberg native who grew up in post-War Germany, had previously overseen the resurgence of IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. This started the four-year journey that Lange and Blümlein would go on with their small team to bring the company back from the ashes, with the release of their first four models on the 24th October 1994. These innovative models, all of them possessing their own distinctive visual language, are comprised of the Arkade, Saxonia, Tourbillon Pour le Mérite and the Lange 1.
Reshaping the Chronograph Landscape
In 1999, A. Lange & Söhne introduced the Datograph, powered by the calibre L951.1. The movement challenged the status quo that had been in place for decades, where high-end manufactures such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet used movements provided by external suppliers. The newly developed calibre combined impressive mechanics with a remarkable aesthetic construction. It was praised by none other than Philippe Dufour, who owns a Datograph himself, and wears it on a frequent basis. As the Swiss watchmaker put it,
“Take ten movements out of the current range of any contemporary brand, put them next to a Lange movement, and comment honestly on what you see. That is the best way to judge — by examining the truth.”
However, when it was first launched, the Datograph was not to everyone's taste. Some collectors clamoured for a more restrained and thinner version of the design, which prompted the German manufacture to release the 1815 Chronograph in 2004. It was powered by the calibre L951.0, which is essentially a stripped-down version of the Datograph movement, where the big date mechanism has been removed. Apart from this, the calibre boasts the same technical and aesthetic characteristics as its older sibling.
The First Series of the 1815 Chronograph was was produced for a brief 4 year period, between 2004 and 2008. These pieces are distinguished by their intricate dials, which are constructed on four layers, with a chapter ring and a pulsometer placed in the periphery. In many ways, the first generation 1815 Chronograph is the most reminiscent of the original Datograph design, from 1999.
This reference 401.026 features features an intricate and characterful dial, which is subtly layered over four levels. The dial itself is made from solid silver, with the sub-dials just a slightly deeper shade of silver compared to the rest of the dial, providing a subtle contrast. The outermost section bears the A. Lange and Söhne name, in addition to a pulsometer, with this segment sloping inwards at an angle to the rest of the dial. A railroad track runs around the main section of the dial, layered under a repeating “m”- shaped hashmark pattern. Moving towards the centre, we see that the hours are printed in black Arabic numerals for improved legibility, with the 60-second and 30-minute sub-dials placed just below the 9 and 3 o’clock index markers respectively.
The subdials - which are smaller and more heavily contrasted than those from later generations - display the running seconds and the minutes of the chronograph function. Meanwhile, the blued steel hands bring a welcome touch of contrast to the design. Measuring 39 mm by 10.8mm, the case is made out of white gold, which leans into the classic aesthetic of the piece. The case features the brand’s distinctive notched lugs, which are mirror polished and bevelled separately, then attached to the case. The pushers follow the lines of the case, with subtle bevels used on the edges.
This 1815 Chronograph makes use of the L915.0 movement, which is very similar to the Datograph’s L915.1 movement, except for the absence of the date complication. The architecture of A. Lange and Söhne movements are perhaps their most distinctive feature, with a three-dimensional aspect that is truly unique. It features a column wheel, lateral clutch and flyback chronograph movement. Every bridge is ribbed, polished and chamfered, with a hand-engraved balance cock bringing an additional flourish.
The minute hand of the chronograph jumps in one-minute increments rather than moving continuously, which allows for accurate reading of the timing function. The “flyback” chronograph function also allows the stopwatch to be instantaneously restarted for continuous timing, without having to stop, reset, and restart the chronograph. It is comprised of 320 parts and has an approximate power reserve of 36 hours.
This A. Lange and Söhne Ref. 401.026 comes with its original outer box, inner box, leather folio, Guarantee (confirming sale in 2005 at Chronométrie Beyer) and a separate Proof of Origin document (from January 2021) confirming the authenticity of the watch. It was serviced by A. Lange and Söhne in January 2022, when the movement was serviced and the case refurbished, and it is accompanied by the relevant servicing paperwork.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this A. Lange and Söhne Ref. 401.026 will be subject to 20% VAT.
A. Lange and Söhne
1815 Chronograph "First Gen"
Hours, minutes, chronograph functions, pulsometer
Taupe saffiano strap, A. Lange and Söhne alligator strap, white gold A. Lange and Söhne buckle
This A. Lange and Söhne Ref. 401.026 is in excellent condition. It was serviced by the manufacture in January 2022 (where it underwent a movement service and case refurbishment) and was only unsealed for the purpose of photography. The watch comes with remainder of its warranty from the manufacture, alongside a lifetime guarantee of authenticity from A Collected Man.
We stand by the quality of all of our pre-owned watches and mechanical objects. If something goes wrong, we’ll always strive to remedy the situation in a timely manner and to the best of our ability. The satisfaction and trust of our clients is of the highest importance, to everyone at A Collected Man.
All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough, non-invasive mechanical inspections and have been serviced, if appropriate, to ensure that they meet our highest standards of timekeeping and functionality.
Our pre-owned watches, unless stated otherwise, are covered by either a full or a limited twenty-four month warranty. This excludes any damage sustained due to improper use or accident. Due to their age, some pre-owned watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when new.
Any of our pre-owned watches which have been serviced by their respective manufacturer, will carry the manufacturer’s servicing guarantee. This is separate and supersedes, the standard warranty offered by A Collected Man. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. You can write to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, for further clarification.
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