You may remember I wrote about the Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time. One of the revolutionary things about that was the jumping minute and hour windows which fitted in with the style of Lange’s Outsize date windows too. If you’re now looking for an Outsize date window on this watch then I’ll make it easier instead by telling you now that there isn’t one. Instead, Lange’s put all their jumping know how (which is a lot) into that minute counter there. When a minute elapses and the chronograph is running it’ll jump the hand to the next minute indicator instead of the hand slowly making it’s way around the dial like a snail with no plans.
This watch is 0.01mm larger in diameter than the Patek Philippe is. What that means is nothing as you can’t really tell the difference. However, perspective also comes into play here, if you visualise the Patek as the smaller and daintier piece compared to the big bruising German then that’s what it’ll appear like.
I’d never thought I’d say what I’m about to say, but the Lange is more reserved than the Patek Philippe. The dial is much cleaner and crisper than the Patek’s which features slightly squished numbers with a heartbeat counter style setup around the outside and the words “Gradue pour 15 pulsations” which literally means graduated for 15 pulsations. The 1815 on the other hand has more space to it and the contrasting blue hands make it a doddle to read the time from. Then there’s the colour of the dials. I’ll be honest when I say that I’m not a fan of the sepia style colouring going on with the Patek Philippe. It gives off a very old feeling which for me personally isn’t very inspiring. The Lange seems to be a bit more modern. This owes to the fact that Lange had a break of just under 50 years which is the reason it never had a super tiny dress watch or a quartz phase, It missed out on that business but in the eyes of some got very lucky too.
So as these titans duke it out in the final battle of the year the Lange is winning with it’s column wheel chronograph with jumping minutes hand and flyback function compared to the Patek’s more simple column wheel chronograph. But we come to the dreaded decider. As we’ve seen, this can topple the strongest of giants. The price.
Oh dear me indeed here. There’s a price gap of almost £20,000 (roughly €25,000) here and guess which one is more expensive. Yes indeed, A.Lange & Söhne is known for their extremely expensive watches even by the upper luxury market. So when the Patek came in at £56,000 (near enough €72,000) it was a surprise indeed as the Lange is £35,500 (€45,400).
This begs the question, what does the Patek have that the Lange doesn’t? It has Patek Philippe’s history and backing in the complicated watches category. On the other hand Lange had been going a long time before they were shut down by the Russians in 1945. The Patek also has a beautiful movement on display through the sapphire crystal caseback. But so does the Lange. So it must be the overall quality of the watch then? We must also consider that the only reason A.Lange isn’t one of the holy trinity of watches is that Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe were there first. There’ve been many fine watches from Lange too.
It’s sad to say that the Patek lost this fight. It’s an amazing watch nonetheless. It deserves praise for the effort that went into it and for being a super popular model. If money were no object to anyone in this world then the price category in this series would be irrelevant. Sadly, it’s not and I cannot see why there’s such a big difference when the Lange has two extra features. Personal views aside, the A.Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph is the one to go for. For more info, please visit patek.com & alange-soehne.com
Stay tuned as there’s a load more watches still floating around out there just waiting to compete.
WristReview Wishes You A Happy New Year 2015
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Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Editor
First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father two years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.