After about 7 years being heavy down the horological bunny hole I had sampled all of the usual and a few of the less usual suspects.
From that very first Rolex, followed a tumultuous descent into classic Rolex along with a whirlwind of references came and went. Some missteps were sold on throughout the ever-rising wave of all things Rolex along with the successes were retained and admired Gollum-like as precious possessions to be shared on the forums with additional like-minded fetishists.
As prices of vintage Rolex climbed from’heady’ into’absurd’, the penalty for making a wrong move or even just hoping to flip got more and more uncomfortable. I began to appear elsewhere, figuring that for the same price as an old Sub, one could obtain a truly Haute Horlogerie piece.
For a very long time, I had a soft spot for A Lange & Sohne watches. Originally, it was the Lange 1 that caught my attention in rose gold, brown crocodile strap. It did. But on one of these visits, the sales associate introduced an 1815 Chronograph I had never looked at this version and I guess I probably anticipated that motion would be comparable in look since the Lange 1. Although finely completed, the Lange 1 motion is largely covered with the traditional 3/4 plate that prevents the majority of the motion being seen, with the exception of the signature engraved balance cock.
The 1815 was a complete different story, the perspective through the display case back was just amazing. I had one other chronograph now using a sapphire case back — showing a fairly pedestrian ETA 7750.
The view of this 1815 chronograph movement was like nothing I had seen before. The thickness, the colours, the various finishing methods — all these simply mesmerised me. Obviously, on discovering the cost I thanked the partner for their time and led off to dream but with no actual intention that I’d ever own one. Maybe a pre-owned Lange 1 in a push, but maybe not the 1815 Chronograph.
During the next few months and years I continued to try many brands and models, but I kept feeling I was missing something really’next level’.
The 1815 stayed on my head, I couldn’t escape the siren call and knew that I would eventually have to give in.
I had been torn between the first dial model from 2004 with the pulsation scale along with the (at the time) newer model with no pulsation scale — in gold. I can’t believe I spent so much time deliberating between both as now I don’t have any doubt which I prefer.
Being based in the middle of nowhere in South East Asia marginally compounded the difficulty as I had been a 2-hour flight from anywhere to even see a decent watch and even further from someplace I could view the specific models I was thinking.
In the long run, fate intervened and the specific piece I was looking for turned on Chrono24, recorded by a trader in the states only days prior to a planned holiday to the in-laws. This might not be any coincidence — only by divine providence may this have happened.
So it was with this God given sign which I wired the money throughout the ether and received a FedEx package from the mail at my in-laws a few days after Christmas. It had, by now, been a few years since I had last seen the piece in the metallic and I was met with the same visceral feeling when admiring the motion as that very first time.
This, despite having every movement macro shot accessible online. Playing around with the watch in various light never gets dull. I’ve to buy myself a loupe due to a fear that some of my other bits will probably be spoiled forever on discovering hitherto unknown’flaws’.
That was several years ago and this bit remains a regular in my rotation, frequently it’s the only one I take on holiday. A number of the other watches will probably bore me after a few weeks without modification, but not that one. There is always something to admire based on the light or if appearing from front or rear. The thickness of this dial is practically as mesmerising as the rear, with so many unique levels and contours which all catch the light in various ways. The start, stop, reset buttons function simpler than any mechanical chronograph I’ve tried.
One matter which did need to be changed up almost straight away was the black crocodile strap. Although undoubtedly great quality, it was far too formal for me to wear daily. Fine in a suit but that is not my customary get-up. I have experimented with a brownish shell cordovan which was fine but a little overly supple for the burden of the gold case.
I have depended on a dark blue calf skin strap with silver stitching to coincide with the blued hands and white gold case. It seems to work pretty well and I have not felt the necessity to change it despite placing’new shoes’ onto other pieces frequently to maintain them feeling fresh.
Since I purchased the opinion, A. Lange & Sohne have redesigned the watch for the next time and it is now once again available with all the pulsation dial. 1 omission stays, nevertheless, and that’s the blued handson.
The change to white gold hands rather than the wonderful contrasting blued hands leaves me no two minds of which I prefer. The dial of the new versions is undoubtedly well balanced, perhaps more’harmonious’ but to my attention, it seems to have less personality than the first.
Like many WIS (View Idiot Savant), a true’keeper’ watch is hard to find as my tastes change over time and as I find out more. But with this particular piece, I can’t see it leaving. It would be debilitating to trade down and I really don’t see how I could actually move up from this bit so for all these reasons I think this will always be part of my group.
Also, one of my daughters really likes it and already has decided she wants it when she is older. She is now seven so I guess I’ll still have it for quite a while.