When looking at this new 1815 Chronograph watch, I almost hear the whistle and steam pouring out of a large locomotive as it screeches to a halt in a train station from a forgotten era. There was a time when travel was reserved as a gentleman’s pursuit, and so was the act of wearing a timepiece, whether on the wrist, or in the pocket. Much like today, the act of wearing or carrying a timepiece was as much about personal style as it was about portraying a particular image. A. Lange & Söhne has always tried to capture this imagery in the design and feel of its 1815 watch collection. With a distinct nod to the past, this newest version of the 1815 Chronograph is a further-refined modern piece of history from one of the world’s most talented watchmakers.
“Lange” (as collectors refer to the brand) is a German manufacturer of watch movements that are particularly loved by the preservationists of classically styled watches. The level of effort the brand puts into the production of each watch movement borders on the absurd, until you carefully inspect one of the pieces and discover the meticulously finished movement through the sapphire caseback window. For watch lovers, such an act is akin to a rite of passage before you can truly claim to know and appreciate high-end horology.
What makes the 1815 Chronograph stand out is its simplicity. Arabic numerals on the dial combined with a “railroad” style minute track make for a vintage gauge-like feel that makes it incredible easy to read. This simplicity is such a welcomed break from the watches that may be classic in their aesthetics, but simply aren’t suitable for comfortable daily wear and use because of their complexity. This 1815 watch is probably Lange’s most legible chronograph, while the dial design is also perfectly balanced. The large blue steel hands point purposefully, and the 30-minute chronograph and subsidiary seconds dial are the epitome of clear. The real luxuries of this watch are its user-friendly visual appeal and reliable dependability.
Mechanically, the movement is related to the coveted and highly complex A. Lange & Söhne Datograph—though expressed here in a more basic form. Inside the 1815 Chronograph is the Lange calibre L951.5 manually wound movement with a column-wheel based flyback (does not need to be stopped before it is restarted) chronograph, made in house. It has 306 parts and a 60-hour power reserve. The 39.5mm-wide watchcase is available in either 18-karat pink or white gold. Each comes with a solid silver dial, and is matched to a red-brown or black hand-stitched crocodile strap with a matching signed gold buckle. The case design is further stylized through the use of contrasting polishes. The sides of the case display a brushed finish, while the rest employs a fine mirror polish that suits the gold nicely.
You could fast forward 100 years into the future, or slip 100 years into the past, and the 1815 Chronograph timepiece would be perfectly in style. Truly a timeless look, and fully satisfying if it is the only luxury watch you’ll ever own. Priced at $43,000. www.alange-soehne.com.
- 39.5mm case in either pink or white gold
- 30-minute flyback chronograph subdial counter
- Hand-stitched crocodile strap
- Beautiful solid silver dial
- Rear of watch has sapphire crystal over intricately decorated manually wound movement
- Seconds hand for chronograph
Ariel Adams is the Haute Living Watch Editor and also publishes the luxury watch review site aBlogtoRead.com.