For the 175th anniversary of Ferdinand Adolph Lange founding the company that bears his name – and indeed the Saxon watchmaking industry at large – A Lange & Sohne presents three 1815 models suffixed ‘Homage to F A Lange.’ All three models are in honey gold, the brand’s proprietary wear-resistant gold alloy, which is rarely seen due to the difficulty it imposes on the manufacturing process. This material has only been proposed in eight limited editions since its introduction ten years ago. The three releases are hugely varied in complexity, with the essence of simplicity offered by the 1815 Thin Honeygold (RM139,000, limited to 175 pieces). 1815 is the hallmark of A Lange & Sohne at its most classical, and it does not get much more classical than this: a manually-wound two-hander with the white enameled dial, understated at 38mm in diameter and supremely elegant at just 6.3mm thick. This makes it the first ultra-thin in the 1815 line-up – and it is the first two-hander as well.
Tipping the scales at the other end is the 1815 Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold (€500,000, limited to 50 pieces). Similar to the Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour Le Merite’ from 2017, it combines several sophisticated complications: a tourbillon with fusee-and-chain transmission, a split-seconds chronograph, and a perpetual calendar. The look is much different, however, with the new release sporting a more contemporary-looking dial plated with black rhodium; the dial material proper is honey gold, and the numerals and markers are in fact carved in relief and left bare to make an exact match with the 43mm case. It is a demanding process to machine the dial in this way – the extraordinary level of detail is one reason, and that the dial is assembled out of five parts is another – but it results in an unmatchable sense of depth.
It is, however, the middle-ground 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold (RM547,000, limited to 100 pieces) that will be of the most interest to die-hard collectors: it sports an all-new calibre and it is, in fact, the first time A Lange & Sohne is offering the split-seconds chronograph as the solitary complication. The brand is of course well-known for accomplishments such as the Double Split and Triple Split, but this humble-by-comparison rattrapante is truer to the classics. It is surprisingly wearable for a rattrapante, with its 41.2 mm case a relatively slim 12.6 mm thick. This watch is also A Lange & Sohne at its handsome best: the black dial is a modern contrast to the gold tones of the case, hands and numerals, and the decision to place the subdials at 12 and 6 o’clock seems to highlight the precise execution of the tachymeter scale and logo lettering. The transparent caseback reveals the true highlight of any A Lange & Sohne chronograph: the exquisitely finished movement, replete with granular bridges, straight-grained levers, and polished chamfers – and, of course, the hand-engraved balance cock and chronograph bridge, presented here with a black rhodium coating.