Ten years ago, in 2013, A. Lange & Söhne unveiled the extraordinary 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar alongside the Grand Complication watch, which featured an array of impressive functions. While the Grand Complication garnered significant attention due to its size and price, the smaller and slightly less complicated (and more accessible, relatively speaking) 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar received widespread acclaim – and some polarizing views. A. Lange & Söhne has now introduced a new limited edition of the stunning 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar timepiece, featuring a beautiful salmon dial… But being a Lange, this means solid pink gold and not a simple galvanic treatment.
This time the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar is presented in a familiar three-piece construction case crafted of 18-carat white gold. The highly polished bezel with the brushed caseband and caseback, create a refined, contrasting and sophisticated appearance. The case dimensions have remained unchanged since 2013, measuring 41.9mm in diameter and 14.7mm in thickness. The clever bezel design diminishes any perception of the watch being overly chunky, while the overall proportions are pleasing. Considering the mechanisms housed within, the watch’s size is well-balanced and should not be subject to criticism.
The timepiece features three bevelled push-pieces for the split-seconds chronograph function and four recessed pushers for date, day of week, month and moon phase adjustments. The pusher at 2 o’clock starts and stops the chronograph, the pusher at 10 o’clock activates the rattrapante hand, and the pusher at 4 o’clock resets the hands without flyback. Positioned at 3 o’clock, the fluted crown for winding the watch and setting the time is embellished with the ALS logo.
The dial presents a traditional design reminiscent of early pocket watches or notable models like the IWC Da Vinci IW3754 and Blancpain 4286 from the 1990s and the more recent Habring2 Perpetual-Doppel. While Patek Philippe’s reference 5004 offered a different interpretation, the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar purposefully adheres to the classic pocket watch aesthetic.
The choice of solid 18k pink gold for the dial is familiar to Lange, as the brand has previously used this material to craft dials for the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon and Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. The 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar now joins the privileged list of Lange timepieces showcasing the elegant combination of a salmon dial and a white gold case.
The dial of this Lange 1815 is a stunning layered structure. The main dial features black Arabic numerals, with the outer layer displaying a railway minute track adorned with characteristic three-dot marks on each quarter and blue indications at 15, 30, and 45 minutes. The lower layer houses month, date, and chronograph minute counter-indications at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock, respectively. Further down, the power reserve, leap year, and moon phase indications are located at 12, 3, and 6 o’clock. The central stacked-up hands for hours, minutes and rattrapante chronograph functions provide a mesmerizing sight, particularly when not overlapping and viewed from different angles. Crafted from rhodiumed steel for the chronograph hand and blued steel for the hour, minute, and rattrapante hands, they further provide the unimpeachable Lange dial with a depth only few can match.
Speaking of depth. Turn the watch over and admire the manually wound calibre L101.1 of the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar unobstructed. Upon its initial release in 2013, some noted that the movement lacked the same depth as other Lange chronographs, such as the Datograph or the Triple Split. However, this was a deliberate design choice to maintain a thinner profile, and the movement remains a delight to behold.
The L101.1 is a traditionally designed movement, hand assembled and decorated, comprising an impressive 631 components, with 211 dedicated to the perpetual calendar and 206 to the chronograph rattrapante. It beats 21,600vph and delivers 42 hours of power reserve when fully wound. To ensure the utmost precision and quality, all calibres undergo two rounds of assembly. Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, explains, “With three classic complications, the manufacture calibre L101.1 is one of our most complex movements. Each one in itself already constitutes a technical feat; when combined, they represent a far greater challenge.“
The L101.1 resolved many challenges, and shaping levers and bridges was just one of the solutions. Still, there are also things like the positioning of column wheels and using a tiny spring instead of a cam for the reset function – something influenced by Richard Habring’s IWC project and later incorporated into his Perpetual-Doppel timepiece.
The movement decoration is immaculate, showcasing the distinctive signature Lange finishing techniques. Features such as screwed gold chatons, blued screws, an elaborate whiplash precision index adjuster, and the hand-engraved balance cock exemplify the exquisite craftsmanship synonymous with A. Lange & Söhne.
The new edition of the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar is worn on a dark brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap closed with the deployant buckle in 18-carat white gold. Production is limited to 100 pieces, sold exclusively through A. Lange & Söhne boutiques. Price is “upon request”; earlier and still available boutique exclusive models in platinum or pink gold with silver dials retailed for EUR 160,000 and 180,000 a couple of years ago, so you can expect over 200k for this edition. For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com.
A personal note
P.S. When introducing this new 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, it was hard not to mention the Patek Philippe reference 5004, powered by the CH27, based on the Lemania 2310 ébauche. The 5004, introduced in 1996, had a short life of only fifteen years, and Patek only made about a dozen annually. As it was not an easy timepiece to produce and get things right, in 2011, the company sent the 5004 to retirement with a bash of 50 farewell pieces in stainless steel. Reference 5004 measured a modest 36.50mm x 15mm and was an evolution of Patek perpetual calendar reference 3970 with an added split-seconds chronograph module. The Reference 5402, in a more significant 40mm case, with a slightly different dial layout and major improvements to the split-seconds mechanism, joined the PP assortment in 2012, a year before Lange revealed its combination of complications. Comparing 5004/5402 with the traditional 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar will be a purposeless exercise, as the timepieces are dramatically different in many ways. Still, not bringing it up felt wrong if only to demonstrate the rarity and exclusivity and prompt you to research the complicated matters of the perpetual calendar with split-seconds chronograph wristwatches further.