A. Lange & Söhne is one of the masters of the chronograph. The chrono is likely Lange’s signature complication, popularized by the brand’s groundbreaking Datograph (more on this later). Following the Datograph, Lange launched a double split and triple split, each exceptionally complicated. Surprisingly, however, Lange never made a split seconds model alone, with one exception, the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold, reference 425.050 Homage to F.A Lange, launched in 2020 in a limited edition of only 100 pieces total. Within the Lange collection, the 425.050 is a true rare bird, in more ways than one.
In 1999, just 5 years after the inaugural Lange collection, the brand launched its first chronograph, the Datograph. Pivotal in the development of the in-house watchmaking movement of the previous decades, the Datograph changed the landscape of the entire watch industry. Then, in 2004, Lange shocked the world once more with the release of the Double Split. While split-seconds chronos were already few and far between, Lange managed to split both the seconds and the minutes.
Alongside the Double Split, Lange presented the 1815 chronograph with its more casual design. Finally, in 2018, Lange went even further with the Triple Split (seconds, minutes, hours). While each of these models was independently incredible, Lange never created a true split-seconds chrono. The double and triple splits were both more complicated, but the split-seconds chronograph is a staple of high horology achievement. In 2020, Lange answered with the limited edition we are covering today, the 1815 Rattrapante 425.050 Homage to F.A Lange.
As we’ve highlighted, the Lange 1815 Rattrapante 425.050 is a watch unlike any other from Lange. While this is certainly true from a technical standpoint, the same is true with regards to aesthetics. Lange’s proprietary Honeygold, with a hardness surpassing platinum, finds its way to the 425.050. Lange has reserved the material only for limited editions of highly exclusive pieces. Here, to complement the Honeygold case, Lange has colored the solid silver dial black, with gilt markers subtly exuding a vintage aura. Twin registers at 6 and 12 o’clock provide the running seconds and 30 minute chronograph counters respectively.
To match the Honeygold of the case, Lange has fashioned the pin buckle from the same material and outfitted the piece with a strap with a mocha brown colorway. The piece comes in at just over 41mm by 12.6mm thick. As far as split-seconds chronographs go, this is pretty darn good.
A subtle detail that often goes unnoticed (and is also uncharacteristic of A. Lange & Söhne) is that the bezel is slightly stepped. Typically (in the case of the 1815 chronograph and the Datograph), A. Lange & Söhne opt for a domed bezel. Here, the bezel is domed and then stepped, before transitioning into the lug and middle assemblies of the timepiece. In classic styling for the 1815 collection, this piece is topped off with classic Arabic numerals. The subsidiary dials are now arranged vertically and snailed, as opposed to the standard 1815 chronograph which horizontally displays the registers. The watch as a whole looks quite unique for Lange; even though many of the details on their own are classic Lange, when combined in this package, they seem original and novel.
The brilliant caliber L101.2 powers the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante 425.050. We have covered the uniqueness of the design of this piece, but the same can be said for the movement. There are certainly the reminders of Lange movement architecture, with the engraved balance cock and overall layout, for example.
Interestingly, however, in place of the Glashutte stripes typically characteristic of Lange watches, in this case, Lange has opted for a blasted finish. It’s not clear why specifically this was done, but it adds to the distinctiveness of this timepiece and further elevates it as an outlier in the collections.
The look of a split seconds caliber can be mystifying, and this piece is no exception. As with any Lange, the caseback will likely be the epicenter of attention for any collector or onlooker experiencing this timepiece.
Versus the Competition
The most direct competitor to this piece beyond the Lange family is the Patek Philippe 5370. We have covered this piece extensively in the past, but the 5370 serves as a modern Patek Philippe split-seconds offering. While not limited in number like the Lange, very few examples exist, and the complexity of the 5370 cannot be understated. The piece is outfitted with an enamel dial and encased in platinum, both adding to the exclusivity of the timepiece. Patek reserves each of these features for rare and special timepieces, yet here, both are present. The 5370 is a more elegant dress piece, where the Lange 1815 Rattrapante is a bit more casual. Patek has used a coaxial split activation on the crown, while Lange has added an additional pusher for the splitting mechanism.
Next up is the standard 1815 Chronograph. The 1815 collection houses the 1815 Rattrapante 425.050 that we are covering today. While the Rattrapante is certainly a more complicated extension of the 1815 design language, the standard version is a great option for those looking for an ordinary flyback manually-wound chronograph. The aesthetics are similar, but the piece is smaller and thinner, which will be more comfortable for day to day wear. Of course, those buying the more complex 1815 Rattrapante are less concerned with everyday wear, and are likely wishing to add a limited Lange to their collection, but for many, the 1815 chronograph will be an excellent more affordable alternative to consider.
The collector that purchases the 1815 Rattrapante Homage to F.A Lange reference 425.050 is looking for an exceptionally rare Lange timepiece. We have extensively highlighted the distinctive elements of this watch’s execution, from its visual aesthetics on the dial and case side, to the special finishing appointments on the movement. These attributes will all be highly attractive to a connoisseur of Lange material, who understands the rarity this configuration affords.
Any limited edition from Lange carries a level of gravitas that is undeniable. With the secondary market for Lange timepieces on the rise, it is unlikely that these watches will remain accessible in the near future. We have continued to witness more and more attention surrounding Lange, and preowned prices are beginning to reflect this. One could expect to see the collectability of these true limited editions to become an even stronger selling point in the coming years. For collectors that view their timepieces as investments, the opportunity to get ahead of the curve will be undeniable. This is simply not a watch you are likely to see two of (or even one), even when collecting seriously.
A master of the chronograph, Lange has always been admired for the movement finishing of its beautiful manually-wound chronographs. The 1815 Rattrapante serves as a reminder of this legacy, summarizing the brand’s watchmaking philosophy, in spite of its seemingly rebellious departures from conventional Lange styling. This piece is unlike any other Lange, and that’s exactly why we love it.