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Anniversary of a groundbreaking chronograph

Since 1999, chronographs have been among the A. Lange & Söhne flagships. The prelude to this tradition was the multiple award-winning DATOGRAPH – with its singular combination of technical finesse, elaborate artisanal artistry and characteristic dial design, it is a benchmark in the art of short-time measurement to date, and a symbol of the innovative powers of the manufacture. A retrospective of the history of this prodigious timepiece.

Shortly before the transition to the new millennium, the DATOGRAPH launched at the Basel tradeshow by A. Lange & Söhne gave watchmaking new impetus.

This masterpiece, developed under the auspices of Günter Blümlein, the visionary entrepreneur and strategist, was the first A. Lange & Söhne chronograph after the renaissance of the brand in 1990.

With its flyback function, classic column-wheel transmission, precisely jumping minute counter and the typical Lange outsize date, the DATOGRAPH showcases refined functionality: it is an impressive example of Walter Lange’s guiding principle “to build watches that are among the world’s best”.

The manually wound calibre L951.1 ‒ consisting of 405 parts, assembled twice and finished in typical Lange fashion ‒ powers the DATOGRAPH. Thanks to its technical intricacy, complex architecture and the superior degree of finissage, it is a standard of excellence in engineering and aesthetic appeal.

Since the re-establishment, the manufacture has set its own benchmarks with currently more than 70 movements developed and crafted in-house. Right from the start, in 1999, the DATOGRAPH was a particularly lucid expression of this aspiration.

The Lange engineers succeeded in endowing the watch with a one-of-a-kind face: the typical Lange outsize date, and the two light-coloured subsidiary dials that were moved downwards slightly, form an equilateral triangle; they contrast crisply with the black dial. The characteristic appearance corresponds with Günter Blümlein’s vision: “From the beginning, it was important for us to create watches whose sleek, classic appearance is an expression of supreme modernity.”

Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development elaborates: “With its combination of functionality and design, perfectly balanced down to the smallest details, the DATOGRAPH holds its ground as a reference for a consummate chronograph, even 25 years after its debut. When looking at the dial, and in particular through the sapphire-crystal caseback that showcases the micromechanical orchestration of all significant sequences and functions in all their beauty, it quickly becomes apparent why the DATOGRAPH is not only the dream come true of many watch aficionados but also of watchmakers.”

A diverse portfolio of high-end manufacture chronographs

Since the widely acclaimed premiere of the DATOGRAPH, the watch manufacture has consistently expanded its expertise in the field of chronograph construction and, to date, has developed a total of 13 trail-blazing models with a chronograph function.

With the DOUBLE SPLIT launched in 2004, A. Lange & Söhne built a chronograph equipped with a double rattrapante ‒ a first in the history of precision watchmaking. Hence, the watch is endowed with a chrono seconds hand and a rattrapante seconds hand as well as two minute counters, thus extending the range of intermediate measurements from 60 seconds to 30 minutes.

The TRIPLE SPLIT, which made its debut in 2018, represents the current pinnacle in the development of the sophisticated rattrapante function. Thanks to the addition of a third hand pair, the span of intermediate measurements can be extended to a maximum of twelve hours. Presently, both timepieces are still unique in the realm of precision watchmaking.

Launched in 2023, the ODYSSEUS CHRONOGRAPH is the result of a different innovative concept devised by the manufacture. It is endowed with the first self-winding chronograph movement by Lange. Its groundbreaking, dynamic function that resets the chronograph hands to zero once again exemplifies that A. Lange & Söhne follows its very own path in advancing fine watchmaking.

The presentation of further DATOGRAPH models during the past 25 years is testimony to this ambition as well. Horological highlights include the DATOGRAPH PERPETUAL launched in 2006 ‒ it combines a flyback chronograph with a perpetual calendar. In 2012, A. Lange & Söhne raised the technical performance to a new level: the DATOGRAPH UP/DOWN impresses with an increased power reserve of 60 hours, a power-reserve indicator at 6 o’clock and an oscillation system developed in-house.

Two new members of the family

At Watches and Wonders 2024, A. Lange & Söhne introduces two new members of the DATOGRAPH family. Twelve years after its launch, the DATOGRAPH UP/DOWN is now available in a third version: alongside the platinum and pink-gold models with a black dial, the watch now appears in a new guise, featuring a white-gold case with a blue dial, limited to 125 pieces. Owing to the exclusive and distinctive hue, this timepiece stands out with its striking appearance.

The DATOGRAPH PERPETUAL TOURBILLON HONEYGOLD “Lumen” also exhibits three eponymous complications in the dark – the outsize date, chronograph and the perpetual calendar. This is assured by the semi-transparent dial and the luminous coating, allowing the displays and functions to glow. Consisting of 684 parts and assembled twice, the evolved manufacture calibre L952.4 beats at the heart of the watch encased in 18-carat honey gold (HONEYGOLD®).

Explore further

Watches and Wonders 2024
Watches and Wonders 2024
Discover the A. Lange & Söhne Watches and Wonders 2024 novelties: the DATOGRAPH UP/DOWN and the DATOGRAPH PERPETUAL TOURBILLON HONEYGOLD “Lumen”.
The aesthetics of the triangle
The aesthetics of the triangle
While thinking in circles is conventional in watchmaking, we factor in the particular design principle based on the triangle when we develop watches.
Manufacture movements
Manufacture movements
Every A. Lange & Söhne timepiece is equipped with a manufacture movement. To be more precise: all calibres are developed, crafted, finished and assembled in our manufacture in Glashütte. Because it is our clear commitment to exclusively use our own movements.

How can we be of service?

Whether you are in search of a specific model, have questions out of interest or need a service request for your timepiece – we are delighted to help you. We are at your service by phone, email or in one of our boutiques.

The A. Lange & Söhne salon in Zurich