Catching Up with the New A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante
This limited edition platinum split-seconds chronograph represents the peak of the German watchmaker’s prowess.
German brand A. Lange & Söhne is one of the best watchmakers in the world. Every timepiece that leaves the Glashütte-based manufacture represents the pinnacle of horological artistry and craftsmanship.
Its latest introduction, the 1815 Rattrapante, encapsulates everything at which A. Lange & Söhne excels. The word Rattrapante may come from the French verb “rattraper,” which means to “catch up,” but this timepiece proves that the manufacture is (once again) leading the way.
Of course, A. Lange & Söhne is very good at complications. And the rattrapante (a.k.a. split-second chronograph) is one of the brand’s most sophisticated mechanisms.
Why? Because the stopwatch function requires an extra seconds hand over the regular seconds hand. This chronograph seconds hand can then be stopped independently of the first, allowing its wearer to record multiple time intervals simultaneously.
And it’s this ability to provide aggregate timing (up to 30 minutes) and a split-time function with comparative time measurements (up to 60 seconds) that makes a rattrapante-equipped A. Lange & Söhne model such a versatile tool watch for timing everything from horse races to car rallies.
The function is also a rarity in the field of mechanical split-seconds chronographs because it requires an elaborate production process. A. Lange & Söhne, which only produces between 5,000 and 6,000 watches per year, is limiting this run to 200 pieces, making it a bit of a unicorn.
As an extension of its 1815 collection, this platinum piece is powered by the same finely tuned and beautifully finished, manually wound L101.2 Calibre, which is also found in the immensely popular 1815 Rattrapante HoneyGold “Homage to F. A. Lange” from 2020.
That 100-piece limited edition was the brand’s first stand-alone rattrapante chronograph and a massive hit with both collectors of rattrapantes (a very niche group) and the larger army of Lange lovers. And, of course, it is now completely sold out.
A. Lange & Söhne is also very good at design, so it would be folly to think that the 1815 Rattrapante is more than an “Homage to F. A. Lange” in new clothes. Think of it this way: If the glow of the honey gold case from the “Homage to F. A. Lange” was a warm tribute to Lange’s past, the brightness of the highly polished platinum case of the 1815 Rattrapante speaks to the brand’s future.
The brand is the master of making mechanical complications look minimalist. Everything about the display of the 1815 feels logical. Subtle touches include having the sunk sub-dials for the chronograph minutes and the running seconds set on the vertical axis and an elevated outside track. The silvered dial is a perfect match for the platinum case, which measures 41.2mm wide and 12.6mm thick, making it feel balanced on all but the smallest of wrists.
Then there’s the extremely elegant typography and traditionally blued hands. If anything, these details feel more rationally expressed here than against the black dial of the “Homage to F. A. Lange.” Even though these elements represent the best of traditional watchmaking, they feel more modern in this iteration.
If I could write a review only in emojis, it would be filled with chef’s kisses.