SIHH 2018: A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split Watch (Live Pictures)

By Harlan Chapman-Green

This year German watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne is in top form once again with the new ‘Triple Split’ watch, the first watch of its kind. If you’ll remember back to last year, everyone thought that Lange’s 1815 Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour le Mérite’ watch would be the top piece at the show. ‘Pour le Mèrite’ watches are scarce and exceedingly well made. They are the pinnacle of watchmaking, in fact. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen as Vacheron Constantin revealed it’s One Inch Punch piece, the Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600. This year, Lange’s back, and it’s pulling no punches.

The complicated watches of A. Lange & Söhne are always high talking points around the forums, so you can imagine the reactions given when they unveiled this, the Triple Split. “What is this Split you mention?”, Good question. You see, the split seconds watch is a fantastically useful complication, the problem is that the uses of it are quite precise.

What is a Split Seconds watch?

A split-seconds watch has two central seconds hands which superimposed on the dial, that is until the user operates the split seconds function. When that happens, one of the hands will stop where it is while the other keeps going. This action allows you to literally ‘split the seconds’ and see the difference between two events such as two sprinters finishing a race. The thing is if the difference between the events is more than sixty seconds the hand will come back around. You’d need some tally system which would get confusing.

Lange’s Double Split watch which debuted in 2004 was the first watch to do more than that. It also recorded the minutes, which stopped when the wearer presses the split seconds pusher. That meant that the watch could time a difference of up to thirty minutes between two events, in case one of the runners was a little slower than the other.

If, of course, one of the runners is very much slower than the other then the Triple Split watch can handle it. This is because the Triple Split records not only the split seconds and minutes but also the hours, too. I don’t know any real use of it, but, we watch nerds don’t need empirical studies to justify our watches, we just put it there because we like it.

Is it practical?

Not particularly. To add to the complexity further the watch is also a flyback. That means while the hours, minutes and seconds are all running and held in a position, you can still reset them without the need to stop the watch first. Probably a good safety measure for the movement in any case, but you can see now why they are only making 100 of these things. At 43.2mm in diameter and 15.6mm thick, it’s marginally larger than the Double Split, which is fantastic considering the extra components inside it. It is $147,000 though, so, best stick with our pictures for now, eh?