Hands-On: Angus Davies gets hands-on with the A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition
This detailed review of the A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition includes live images, specification and pricing.
There have been several occasions when my heart has skipped a beat. Those moments have included narrowly missing another car on a motorway, forgetting essential travel documents whilst driving to an airport, or seeing an object of such profound beauty that all important matters are momentarily forgotten.
The A. Lange & Soehne 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition is a timepiece which is very capable of causing my heart to skip a beat. Its pulchritudinous face is bewitching and deserves to be noticed. It exudes a notable degree of elegance whilst also proving incredibly practical.
Recently, I had the good fortune to wear this noble timepiece for a few stolen moments before returning it to its legal guardian.
Silver toned lancine-shaped hour and minute hands span a solid silver pond. The dial is softly spoken and adorned with dark blue detail. The central chronograph seconds hand, together with the hands on the two subdials, are formed of thermally blued steel. This interplay of silver and blue tones works well, providing a sublime marriage of hues.
The subdials sit in the southern portion of the dial. Contrary to expectations, the asymmetric positioning of the subdials delivers a harmonious aesthetic. Both the 30-minute chronograph register and the small seconds display are snailed, featuring a plethora of concentric circles which delightfully shimmer in light. The hand on the 30-minute chronograph register jumps, making the read-off of elapsed minutes particularly user-friendly.
Encircling the dial, on the inner flange, a pulsometer scale provides additional functionality. It seems that A. Lange & Söhne understands its clientele. After raising the observer’s heart rate to three-figure levels, the wearer of the watch can seek to calm their pulse while looking at the scale provided. The pulsometer scale is calibrated to 30 pulsations per minute.
Sat above the fulcrum of the dial, the words “Flyback Chronograph” reveal this is not ‘merely’ a chronograph. While the chronograph is operational, the wearer can press the pushpiece at 4 o’clock and in one process, stop, reset and restart the central chronograph seconds hand and minute counter.
I adore tourbillons, minute repeaters and perpetual calendars, however, my favourite complication is the chronograph. This may surprise some readers but I like the day to day utility of a chronograph. Moreover, I appreciate the opportunity to command the hands of a chronograph and interact with the movement in a way that is sadly lacking with many other complications.
As I will go on to explain, this is one of the finest chronographs I have encountered.
The 18-carat white gold case is composed of three parts, measures 39.5mm in diameter and has a case height of 11.0mm. It is often said that ‘appearances can be deceptive’ and certainly this timepiece looked bigger when affixed to the wrist. Ordinarily, I would favour a larger watch than this but placing the 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition on my arm, I felt its dimensions were perfect.
The push-pieces have an arc-like profile and prove comfortable to operate. The presence of a column-wheel delivers a high degree of smoothness and illustrates the no-compromise composition of this chronograph.
Situated adjacent 3 o’clock, the crown does not unduly protrude and proves simple to manipulate. The rear of the watch is fitted with a pane of sapphire crystal, granting sight of the beautifully appointed movement.
The Calibre L951.5 is a hand-wound movement containing 34 jewels. The balance oscillates to a frequency of 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz) and the power reserve is 60 hours. However, it is not these statistics which denote the Calibre L951.5 as special, but rather its glorious finishing and exacting creation.
A. Lange & Söhne has avoided fitting large bridges on the movement or a traditional three-quarter plate. Instead the column-wheel, levers, gear-train and balance are freely disclosed. I must confess this sates my personal predilection for seeing the movement components in flight. The balance cock is exquisitely engraved and features a swan-neck adjuster.
The balance is equipped with six masselottes, positioned in-board to mitigate turbulence and, in so doing, aid precision. It features the brand’s own hairspring, wonderfully illustrating the impressive vertical integration manifest with this maison.
Thermally blued screws, Glashütte ribbing and perlage vie with gold chatons and the 8-pillar column wheel to whet the appetite of any self-respecting horophile. This is a glorious example of exalted craftsmanship and fine design.
The A. Lange & Soehne 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition feels special. It may not be the most expensive timepiece from this prestigious company, but that is of little consequence; its excellence is manifest with each sweep of a hand and every press of a push-piece.
The non-boutique version of this watch eschews the pulsometer scale and is delivered in pink gold. Personally, I favour the white gold 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition and appreciate the addition of a pulsometer scale. The silver dial and dark blue dial detail confer an eye-catching vista.
Every element of this watch’s specification is beautifully considered. The movement is hewn from untreated German silver and the bridges are engraved with golden text. The wearer is able to watch the coupling engage with the column-wheel and marvel at the mechanical intercourse at play.
I make no excuses, I cannot hide my admiration for this exquisite chronograph. It is magnificent. Indeed, this is a paragon of fine German watchmaking which will undoubtedly cause any purist’s heart to slightly quicken, courtesy of its exacting standards of finish and no-compromise specification.
Model: A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph Boutique Edition
Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 39.5 mm; height 11.0 mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back
Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; fly-back chronograph.
Movement: Caliber L951.5; hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz); 34 jewels; power reserve = 60 hours
Strap: Alligator strap with 18-carat white gold pin buckle
Price: €49,000 – German price inclusive of taxes (RRP as at 29.10.2017)
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.