The rattrapante chronograph, also known as split-seconds or Doppel chronograph, is often regarded as one of the most sophisticated horological complications, and a must-have in high-end watch collections. As a top-tier watchmaker, A. Lange & Söhne isn’t only familiar with the complication, it somehow masters it, with a double-rattrapante – the Double Split – and even a triple-rattrapante – the Triple Split (respectively able to split the seconds and minutes, or the seconds, minutes and hours). Two years ago, the Saxon manufacture came with its first stand-alone split-seconds chronograph, the 1815 Rattrapante Honey Gold. And sometimes, less is more, this watch being one of the absolute best of the brand. This watch fully focused on the eponymous complication returns this year in a classic limited edition, the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Platinum.
A. Lange & Söhne and the Chronograph
The chronograph complication and the rattrapante function are deeply linked to the recent history of A. Lange & Söhne. It all started in 1999, with the introduction of the Datograph, a watch that will become a reference for the industry, being one of the very first in-house produced high-end chronograph movements. A precursor that has hardly been beaten since. Since then, we’ve seen multiple variations around the chronograph at ALS, with or without additional complication, within the Saxonia or 1815 collections. This includes the following watches:
- 1999 – Datograph (flyback chronograph, outsize date)
- 2004 – Double Split (double rattrapante, flyback, power reserve)
- 2004 – 1815 Chronograph (the simplest of them all, as a classic flyback chronograph-only)
- 2005 – Tourbograph (fusée-chain transmission, tourbillon, rattrapante chronograph, power reserve)
- 2006 – Datograph Perpetual (flyback chronograph, perpetual calendar with outsize date, moonphase)
- 2012 – Datograph Up/Down (evolution of the classic Datograph, now with power reserve)
- 2013 – 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar (rattrapante chronograph, perpetual calendar, moonphase, power reserve)
- 2013 – Grand Complication (rattrapante, chiming with grande sonnerie, repeater, perpetual calendar with moonphase)
- 2016 – Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon (flyback chronograph, tourbillon, perpetual calendar with outsize date and moonphase, day-night, power reserve)
- 2017 – Tourbograph Perpetual (fusée-chain transmission, tourbillon, rattrapante chronograph, perpetual calendar, moonphase)
- 2018 – Triple Split (triple rattrapante, flyback, power reserve)
- 2020 – 1815 Rattrapante (rattrapante chronograph)
The 1815 Rattrapante platinum, A Masterclass in classicism
In 2020, A. Lange & Söhne came with a brand new watch, the 1815 Rattrapante, as part of the Homage to F.A. Lange collection, celebrating 175 years of watchmaking in Glashütte. Launched next to the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold and the 1815 Thin Honeygold, this watch marked the brand’s first incursion in the coveted and classic hand-wound, high-end, rattrapante-only market, a missing watch in the brand’s portfolio, and a category somehow dominated until then by Patek Philippe and the 5370P Split-Seconds Chronograph. The whole idea of the 1815 Rattrapante was to offer a watch entirely devoted to the eponymous complication. An ultra-focused, minimalistic yet ultra-refined watch with classic codes in mind.
The 1815 Rattrapante was first launched in a limited run of 100 watches, made of 18 Honeygold with a black dial… a delightful combination that didn’t take long to sell out. It now comes back in a more consensual, more discreet combination of colours and materials, with this Platinum version, once again a limited edition – 200 pieces in this case.
Visually-speaking, this new edition of the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante respects all the codes of the brand, with an all-silver colour scheme, only punctuated by discreet blued accents. As such, it is housed in a noble 950 platinum case, resulting in a watch with great lustre and a typical grey-blueish colour. The case is everything you’d expect from an ALS watch, with a succession of polished and fine satin-finished areas. The robust domed bezel is paired with equally pronounced lugs, with the signature recessed part at the connection with the case.
The 1815 Rattrapante is a relatively compact watch, at least looking at the range of chronographs by Lange. With a 41.2mm diameter and a 12.6mm height, it has more presence than an 1815 Chronograph, yet it retains balanced proportions and feels easier to wear than a Datograph or a Double Split. The case is flanked by a large crown, helpful to wind the manual movement, and a pair of well-integrated rectangular pushers – and of course, the necessary pusher at 10 o’clock to split the chronograph function.
As an ode to discretion, this 1815 Rattrapante Platinum Limited Edition is worn on a black alligator strap, closed by a platinum prong buckle – I’m sure future owners will find a way to make it a bit more lively with a nice taupe or blue strap… Comfort of the wrist is that of a relatively heavy watch, which will be quite hard to forget.
In addition to this new platinum case, the latest edition of Lange’s rattrapante-only watch comes with an equally toned-down, discreet dial, in the purest tradition of the brand. It is here made of solid silver with a matte, slightly iridescent argenté finish, perfectly contrasting with the black printed numerals and tracks. Time is read thanks to blued steel hands, with the exception of the rattrapante seconds hand, which is rhodium-plated. Small touches of red can be found at each quarter on the railroad minute track. The display consists of central hours and minutes, a small seconds at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute counter for the chronograph at 12 o’clock – this vertical layout being the specificity of this watch in the collection. The angled inner flange is printed with a tachymeter scale. The prominent Arabic numerals of the 1815 collection are, of course, present in this new model.
The Manufacture calibre L101.2
The movement side of this 1815 Rattrapante Platinum is as flamboyant as the habillage is discreet – which is often the case with ALS watches, and one of the reasons why we truly love them. And as with most chronograph movements by Lange, this split-seconds calibre is visually impressive, technically complex and a real feast for the eyes of connoisseurs – thanks to the use of a classic architecture with column wheel and horizontal coupling (something modern vertical clutch movements can’t rival…)
The movement is basically the same as found in the limited edition of 2020, yet with a different decoration. The Honeygold edition features a movement with frosted bridges and floral motifs engraved on the balance cock and chronograph bridge. The movement of this new platinum edition feels more classic, with traditional straight stripes and a classic motif for the hand-engraved balance cock and chronograph bridge. The bridges and plates are, of course, still made of untreated German silver, and all the parts are executed in an impressive haute horlogerie way – which includes chronograph parts with straight graining and polished bevels, as well as 4 screwed gold chatons and traits tirés everywhere.
This movement, in addition to being a classic chronograph, also allows splitting of the seconds, with its so-called rattrapante function. It expands the functionality of a classic chronograph by allowing the measurement of a random number of lap times within a minute. The watch has two superposed chronograph hands, the centre chronograph hand and the centre rattrapante hand. Both hands start together when the pusher at 2 o’clock is actuated. The centre rattrapante hand can now be stopped independently of the centre chronograph hand with the pusher at 10 o’clock and then re-synchronised with it.
The rest of the specifications of the calibre L101.2 within the 1815 Rattrapante Platinum are classic: screwed balance with in-house hairspring beating at a 3Hz frequency, precision-adjusted in five positions, double assembly of the movement, hand-wound architecture with a single barrel and a 58-hour power reserve.
Availability & Price
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Platinum (reference 425.025) is a limited edition of 200 individually numbered pieces, available exclusively from the brand’s official boutiques. Price is upon request (as a comparison, the Honeygold version was priced at EUR 130,000. This platinum version should be in the same range).
For more details, please visit www.alange-soehne.com.