Chronograph Wizardry - The A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split
A collector’s perspective on Lange’s newest high-complication chronograph fresh from SIHH 2018.
If you are at all horologically inclined, you will know that SIHH was this past week. The fair saw brands both large and small unveil their latest and greatest novelties for 2018. As a collector of Lange, I wanted to take a deeper look at their biggest release for the year: The Triple Split.
Masters of the Chronograph
In 2004, Lange set the bar for complicated chronographs when they launched the much-revered Double Split. The Double Split was an expansion on the concept of the split seconds chronograph. All other split-second chronographs are capable of measuring two concurrent events with the chronograph’s seconds hands. The revolutionary aspect of the Lange’s Double Split was that it not only measured two concurrent events in seconds, but also up to 30 minutes as well by adding a split function to the minute subdial. That might sound somewhat trivial, but in reality, it demonstrated Lange’s mastery of the chronograph. In the years since, no other brand has produced the same complication as the Double Split.
This year, Lange took the opportunity to put even more distance between themselves and their competition and released the Triple Split. As the name implies the Triple Split adds one more layer of complexity on top of the double split, adding a split function to the hours subdial. This mechanically allows the wearer to track concurrent events in 12-hour intervals. Without a doubt, this is the most complex chronograph ever made.
Lange plans to release the Triple split in white gold with a dark grey dial in an edition of 100 pieces priced at $147,000 USD. The watch is 43.2mm in diameter and 15.6mm in height, but our purpose here today is to go a little deeper than your normal tech specs.
A Collector’s Viewpoint
Traditionally, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet are considered to be the holy trinity of watchmaking. There is no doubt that these are great manufactures with storied histories, countless innovations, and iconic designs to their name. However, today they do not stand alone at the pinnacle of high end watchmaking. Lange is a name that is regularly mentioned as one of the leading manufactures and for good reason. Unwavering adherence to their ever-elegant design language, an extraordinarily high level of finishing, and even value are characteristics that Lange is known for.
The Triple Split does not deviate from this equation. From the front, the dial is deceptively simple, looking very much like the Double Split. There is very little clutter on the dial, with the subdials and many hands harmoniously coexisting. As with most A. Lange & Söhne watches, the focus is on clean delivery and functionality. Wiser horological pundits than me have called Lange “teutonic” which is a word that fits the Triple Split quite well. It bears an almost austere and quietly imposing look, owing to its larger size.
From behind, the Triple Split is far from austere. The movement expresses extreme depth and complexity, flaunting the high levels of finishing on each of the Triple Split’s 567 parts. The Double Split’s movement has often been described as a city under glass and the Triple Split carries on that torch with an even more complicated movement. This, friends, is a movement that watch nerd dreams are made of. Perhaps even more impressive is that Lange has managed to engineer the Triple Split to fit within case dimensions nearly identical to the Double Split. In fact, the Triple Split clocks in only 0.3mm taller than the Double Split.
When it comes to the price there is no denying that the Triple Split is an enormously expensive watch. Its size and height are similar to the Double Split and in that regard it cannot be called a particularly practical watch either. However, when compared to its competitors’ less complicated split seconds chronographs, the Triple Split begins to feel more like a good value.
Having never worn the Triple Split it is hard to say if it wears well, but as an admirer of A. Lange & Söhne’s work, it is undeniably a triumph of a chronograph. From a collectability standpoint, the Triple Split is a watch that likely already has a waitlist of collectors hoping to own one of the hundred pieces to be producing. From a personal standpoint, the Triple Split ranks high up on my list of favorite releases this year and is definitely one that I am looking forward to seeing in the metal.