A. Lange & Söhne Datograph: Ahead of the Game
The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph is among the world's best in-house chronographs. This luxury watch is also available with a perpetual calendar and tourbillon. The Triple Split is limited to a run of 100 pieces and measures intervals of up to 12 hours.
5 Reasons to Buy a Datograph
- Limited run of 100 watches: the Triple Split
- Available with a perpetual calendar and tourbillon
- Flyback chronograph with outsize date display and in-house caliber
- Power reserve of up to 60 hours
- Gold or platinum case
The Datograph: A. Lange & Söhne's Star Chronograph
The Datograph from the German manufacturer A. Lange & Söhne quickly developed into an icon. Its name hints at its special features: "Dato" is a reference to its outsize date display, a characteristic feature of many Lange watches that is reminiscent of the Dresden Semperoper's famous five-minute clock. The clock has a numeric display which can be read easily from a far distance. The "graph" in the name comes from the word chronograph. The Datograph is part of the Saxonia collection and premiered in 1999. A. Lange & Söhne released the Saxonia together with the Arkade, Tourbillon "Pour le Mérite," and Lange 1 in 1994.
One highlight of the timepiece is its flyback mechanism. On a regular chronograph, you have to first stop timing before you can set the hand back to zero and restart. However, on the Datograph, all you need to do is press a push-piece once. When you let go, the chronograph second hand begins timing anew.
The case of the Datograph is made exclusively of platinum or 18-karat gold and ranges in size from 39 to 43.2 mm in diameter. The dial comes in black, gray, or silver and features two or three subdials depending on the model. As usual, an outsize date sits at 12 o'clock. A tachymeter scale, which you can use to measure speed over a certain distance, runs around the edge of the dial. Applied indices serve as hour markers, though older models have Roman numerals at 2, 6, and 10 o'clock.
Detailed Price Information
|Model (case material)||Price||Caliber||Features|
|Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon (platinum)||307,000 USD||L952.2||Tourbillon, perpetual calendar
|Triple Split (white gold)||159,000 USD||L132.1||Triple rattrapante chronograph|
|Double Split (platinum)||114,000 USD||L001.1||Double rattrapante chronograph|
|Datograph Perpetual (white gold)||91,000 USD||L952.1||Perpetual calendar|
|Datograph UP/DOWN (platinum)||68,000 USD||L951.6||Outsize date, power reserve indicator|
|Datograph (platinum)||43,000 USD||L951.1||Outsize date|
|Datograph (pink gold)||37,500 USD||L951.1||Outsize date|
|1815 Chronograph (white gold)||36,500 USD||L951.5||Pulsometer|
How much does a Datograph cost?
A. Lange & Söhne belongs to an exclusive group of luxury watch manufacturers capable of building their own chronographs. You can get a well-maintained platinum model for around 43,000 USD. If you're looking for a pink gold case, you can find pre-owned watches for about 37,500 USD. This chronograph usually comes with a brown or black crocodile leather strap.
The manual L951.1 caliber powers the Datograph with no power reserve indicator. Lange completely redeveloped this movement, which has a 36-hour power reserve. One special feature is the way in which the minute counter's hand jumps exactly from one minute to the next so you can read exactly how many minutes have gone by when timing. Hands on the minute and hour counters are in constant motion on many chronographs. Lange has patented the jumping minute counter as well as the mechanics behind the outsize date display. The outsize date is made up of two discs, and rapid date correction is possible by pushing a rectangular push-piece located between 9 and 10 o'clock.
The 1815 collection contains a possible alternative to the Datograph. This collection's flyback chronographs have an entirely different design, dominated by Arabic numerals and a pulsometer scale. Its caliber, the L951.5, is also manually wound and is composed of 306 pieces. This movement provides timepieces with a small seconds dial, minute counter, and 60-hour power reserve. You can purchase an 1815 chronograph in white or pink gold for 36,500 USD.
The Datograph UP/DOWN with a Power Reserve Display
A. Lange & Söhne released the Datograph UP/DOWN in 2012. UP/DOWN (AUF/AB in German) is how Lange traditionally refers to their power reserve indicators. "UP" signifies that the watch is wound, while "DOWN" means it is out of energy. The timepiece has a diameter of 41 mm, and the outsize date display grew by 4% to adapt to the larger case. The design has remained almost unchanged since the first generation of Datograph timepieces. The most noticeable change is the circular power reserve indicator at 6 o'clock.
The manual caliber L951.6 ticks away inside the Datograph UP/DOWN. A. Lange & Söhne extended the movement's power reserve by 24 hours. Now, the watch can run for 60 hours before it needs to be rewound. They also redesigned the oscillation system: It was the first Datograph to feature a balance wheel with an in-house balance spring.The caliber L951.6 is made up of 451 parts. Like the L951.1, every individual component receives intricate finishing, as seen in the exquisite, hand-engraved balance cock. A sapphire glass case back offers a view of this delicate movement, which is among the most beautiful of its kind. The Datograph with a power reserve display is also available in gold or platinum. Both versions cost around 68,500 USD in very good to mint condition.
A Limited Edition Masterpiece with a Tourbillon
The manual caliber L952.2 features a patented balance stop. Together with a spring located on the balance wheel, this balance stop allows you to set the time to the exact second. In total, the caliber is made up of 729 individual pieces. Lange houses this movement in a 41.5-mm platinum case.
The Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon uses two subdials for its perpetual calendar. The left subdial serves as the small seconds dial and displays the current day with a small, extra hand. The subdial on the right does triple duty as a minute counter, month display, and leap year indicator. The moon phase display is located at 6 o'clock and will only deviate by one day in 122.6 years time. You can set the perpetual calendar and moon phase display using three push-pieces. The push-piece at 10 o'clock corrects all displays at once. This means, even if the watch doesn't run for a day or so, you can correct everything quickly and easily. The tachymeter scale and "AUF/AB" power reserve display are located on the edge of the dial. The Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is limited to a run of 100 pieces and costs around 307,000 USD.
If you're on the market for a chronograph with a perpetual calendar and can do without a tourbillon, the Datograph Perpetual may be just what you're looking for. Its movement, the L952.1, is composed of 556 parts, allowing for the somewhat smaller, 41-mm case. White gold models with a gray dial are especially elegant and sell for about 91,000 USD. The pink gold Datograph Perpetual sits in a similar price range.
The Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon unites three grand complications in one timepiece:
- A perpetual calendar
- A flyback chronograph
- A tourbillon
Double and Triple Rattrapante Functions
A. Lange & Söhne introduced the Double Split in 2004. It was the first mechanical chronograph to feature a double rattrapante mechanism. This split-seconds chronograph can measure intervals not only on the second counter, but also on the minute counter. Most rattrapante chronographs are limited to 60-second intervals, but the Double Split can measure intervals of up to 30 minutes. This is all thanks to the L001.1 caliber and its 465 components. Where most Lange watches feature an outsize date display, the Double Split has a power reserve indicator in its stead. You can choose from models with Roman numeral hour markers or indices. Prices for this 43.2-mm platinum or pink gold timepiece come in at over 114,000 USD.
The storied Glashütte-based manufacturer outdid themselves with the 2018 release of the Triple Split. This chronograph has an additional rattrapante hour counter, allowing for measurements of up to 12 hours. For example, you can use the Triple Split to time multi-hour sporting events such as the Tour de France. The power reserve display has shifted to 6 o'clock to make room for the hour counter at 12. Despite its many hands, the gray dial still feels clean and tidy. The movement L132.1 was redeveloped specifically for the Triple Split. A. Lange & Söhne even managed to combine the 567 parts in such a way that retains the case dimensions of the Double Split. This white gold watch is limited to a run of 100 pieces and costs around 159,000 USD.
Reunification and the Reestablishment of a Manufacturer
Walter Lange breathed life back into Lange Uhren GmbH on December 7th, 1990. His great-grandfather Ferdinand Adolph Lange had founded the watch manufacturer A. Lange & Cie. exactly 145 years before. After the Second World War, all watch manufacturers in Glashütte were nationalized. They merged to become the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe, and A. Lange & Söhne ceased to exist until 1990. German reunification in 1990 brought with it the chance to rebuild the company.