Impeccably designed and carefully crafted, the 1815 RATTRAPANTE HONEYGOLD “Homage to F. A. Lange” unveiled at Watches & Wonders Shanghai 2020 is a watch that takes you back in time with its classic design and functionality.
The gorgeous combination of the HONEYGOLD case and black dial in solid silver really elevates this watch to a whole new dimension of elegance. HONEYGOLD is officially one of my favorite materials ever manufactured and here it adds the right amount of warmth to this 41.2mm masterpiece. Thanks to special admixtures and special thermal treatment, the metal is harder and thus more scratch-resistant than other gold alloys with a fineness of 18 carats. It was used for the first time in 2010 for the three watches of the “165 Years – Homage to F. A. Lange” anniversary edition. So far, only eight limited editions of watches cased in this exceptional gold alloy with its warm glow have been unveiled.
The 1815 RATTRAPANTE HONEYGOLD is the first watch from A. Lange & Söhne which places the classic complications of
timekeeping – chronograph and rattrapante – in the spotlight in their pure forms. A. Lange & Söhne’s sixth split-seconds chronograph ranks among the most elaborate devices in precision watchmaking.
“A split chronograph is one of the most underestimated complications. Here at Lange we have done the double-split and the triple split which to me are completely different types of watches. They are both rattrapante’s but very different. The 1815 RATTRAPANTE HONEYGOLD is a classic. No isolated system, no instantaneous jumping minutes counter but what you have here is a very wearable rattrapante with a height of 12.6mm which may sound like a lot but sits very well on the wrist!”, Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne.
The “Rattrapante” function is controlled on this watch with the pusher at ten o’clock. The superposed chronograph and rattrapante sweep-seconds hands here make it possible during a running time measurement to ascertain any number of lap times within the course of a minute. The chronograph sweep-seconds hand, the lower hand, consists of pink-gold-plated steel. It entrails the superposed rattrapante – also called split-seconds – hand made of rhodiumed steel. When the pusher at two o’clock is actuated both hands start together. The rattrapante sweep-seconds hand can be stopped independently of the chronograph sweep-seconds hand and then resynchronised with it.
However, if it is actuated during an ongoing measurement, the rattrapante sweep-seconds hand stops and displays the lap time while the chronograph sweep-seconds hand keeps running. A second actuation of the pusher causes the rattrapante sweep-seconds hand to catch up and then synchronise with the chronograph sweep-seconds hand. This lap-time measurement procedure can be repeated as many times as needed.
This complex chronograph/rattrapante mechanism is located on the movement side of A. Lange & Söhne’s new L101.2 manually wound calibre. The control of elapsed or lap-time measurements is handled highly precisely in the classic manner with two column wheels. Like the rattrapante clamp that blocks the rattrapante hand in the lap-time display mode, it is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.
This allows the precise switching processes to be observed in detail. When fully wound, the mainspring barrel delivers a power reserve of 58 hours. In connection with the screw balance, also manufactured in-house, the freely oscillating Lange balance spring guarantees excellent rate accuracy at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour (3 hertz).
Another feat worth mentioning here is the special movement finissage of the 1815 RATTRAPANTE HONEYGOLD “Homage to F. A. Lange”. The raised German-silver frame parts are endowed with granular surfaces. Among other features, they had gold poising screws, screwed gold chatons to secure the bearing jewels and a hand-engraved balance cock. All upper sides of the moving parts of the rattrapante chronograph, such as levers, springs, and jumpers, are decorated with straight graining while the chamfers are polished. Chamfer polishing acute interior angles is a particular challenge and requires a certain degree of perfection which is achievable only by experienced finishers with sharp special tools. Great caution is needed during the assembly of the granular frame parts since the sensitive surfaces do not tolerate even the most minute scratches. All of the fine lines of the free-hand engravings on the balance cock and the chronograph bridge as well as the inscriptions on the bridges are black-rhodiumed. The dark hue of the galvanically applied coating adds plasticity to the engravings. The contemporary evolution of traditional finissage techniques reflects the manufactory’s ambition to never stand still.
The newly developed 1815 RATTRAPANTE HONEYGOLD is one of three models of an exceptional anniversary collection. This particular 1815 RATTRAPANTE HONEYGOLD limited to 100 watches is exclusively available in A. Lange & Söhne boutiques. I do wonder though whether Lange will look at introducing this as part of their core collection eventually.