The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph is far from being a new watch. Indeed, even if it was updated in 2015 with a new dial that actually goes back to (almost) the original design of this watch, it is a well-known and well-established member of the collection. New animations were introduced at the SIHH 2018 and the 1815 Chronograph is now available in pink gold. A good enough reason to take a look back at this superb chronograph – and its stunning movement.
What exactly is the 1815 Chronograph? To put it in down-to-earth terms, it is the “entry-level” chronograph in A. Lange & Söhne’s collection and an almost “accessible” watch considering what you get for your money. I know I will sound provocative by talking this way about a €50k watch – and I’m doing this deliberately – but the reality is that this watch has an incredible quality/price ratio. Yes, it is a huge amount of money for a watch, but what a watch it is. However, let’s go back to more rational topics: the new A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph in pink gold.
As part of A. Lange & Sôhne’s SIHH 2018 collection there were several authentic novelties, including the mightier than mighty Triple Split or the reasonable Saxonia Outsize Date. More discreet, as it can’t be considered a truly new model but an animation of an existing piece, was the 1815 Chronograph, which adds rose gold options to the existing white gold models (with a black dial or with a white/blue dial, as a boutique edition). The 1815 Chronograph has been gradually updated to become a complete and homogeneous sub-collection.
As a reminder, the 1815 Chronograph existed in various styles. Launched in 2004 a with small sub-counters and an inner flange printed with a pulsometer scale (with this design), it was updated in the early 2010s with a cleaner dial (no more inner flange), larger sub-counters and an improved movement (longer power reserve) – with this design. Yet, in 2015 the brand from Saxony started to redesign the watch and launched a Boutique-only edition, with a white gold case, and a white and blue dial and, more importantly, the return of the inner flange with a pulsometer scale. This watch was the teaser for the evolution of the entire collection, which received a black dial/white gold version in 2017 (standard collection) and is now enlarged with pink gold options.
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph has made a full return to basics. Two new models have been introduced at the SIHH 2018, one with a black dial, one with an “argenté” (silvery-white) dial – as presented here. Both feature an 18k pink gold case to complete the collection along with the white gold versions. No other modifications appear on these 2018 editions. What is there to love about the 1815 Chronograph? Isn’t it a poor man’s version (relatively speaking, of course) of the legendary Datograph? I tend to disagree for various reasons.
Some will say that the 1815 Chronograph certainly is a simpler version of the chronograph by A. Lange & Söhne. I say it is a purer vision. Both watches share the same base movement, with the difference that the Datograph has an extra power reserve indicator and a large date. However, that’s not where both watches really differ. The 1815 Chrono is more subtle and more “essential”, void of any additional complication, as well as being smaller – 39.5mm diameter versus 41mm for the Datograph – and slimmer – 1.5mm less. It is a chronograph first and foremost, without anything disturbing the basic concept.
Because of that, the 1815 Chronograph is one of the most recommendable options in Lange’s collection. It is extremely balanced, well-positioned and offers incredible pleasure for the money (below €50k when the Datograph will set you back over €70k in pink gold). In addition to that, compare this price to various competitors, including the Patek 5170, another chronograph-only watch, with a price above €70k. In this particular market segment, the 1815 Chronograph is almost unbeatable.
The new pink gold versions of the 1815 Chronograph offered at the SIHH 2018 bring a warmer and more luxurious appeal. We have chosen to show you the black dial version, which is admittedly the most striking of the two. The solid silver dial, whose black colour is obtained by a galvanisation process, is rich, deep and provides instant legibility with white numerals and tracks. The case is still very reasonable in size and weight, making it a perfect daily companion that will look good with a suit or with casual attire.
The back reveals an incredible movement – Calibre L951.5 – which has almost no competition in terms of visual complexity. Few simple chronograph (by that I mean chronograph-only) movements have such a level of detail, such depth, such richness. Because of its rather conservative technical approach, with its column-wheel and horizontal clutch, the movement of the 1815 Chronograph has multiple levels and a satisfying tangle of levers, gears, springs and wheels to activate the chronograph function.
In terms of decoration, Calibre L951.5 is an artistic feat, with all 306 parts finished by hand: polished angles on the bridges, thin Glashütte stripes, blued screws, straight grained and bevelled chronograph levers, several screwed gold chatons, sharp angles and a hand-engraved balanced cock. No matter where you look, each part is a true satisfaction. Again, competition can only come close, but can’t surpass it.
This new A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph in pink gold will form part of the collection as of April 2018 and will be priced at EUR 49,000. More details on www.alange-soehne.com.