18kt rose gold case with a brown leather strap. Fixed bezel. Silver dial with gold-toned hands and Roman numeral hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim. Dial Type: Analog. Manual wind movement. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Transparent case back. Case diameter: 40.5 mm. Case thickness: 10.5 mm. Round case shape. Tang clasp. Functions: hour, minute, second. Luxury watch style. A Lange and Sonhe Richard Lange Silver Dial Manual Wind Mens Watch 232.032.
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A. Lange & Söhne - Facelift for the Datograph
WORLDTEMPUS - 20 December 2011
Gathering an intimate group together in Dresden earlier this month, A. Lange & Söhne celebrated the rebirth of what is quite possibly one of the most coveted collector chronographs on the market today.
It makes sense to grandly celebrate what would appear to the untrained eye to be only small changes to this classic timepiece. Introduced in 1999, the Datograph is now only eleven years old, though it is certainly hard for a collector to imagine the horological landscape without it these days. Seen as one of the most perfect integrated chronographs with column wheel control on the market thanks to its aesthetic mechanics and harmonious displays, it was originally released in a 39 mm case diameter. It also incorporates something nary another chronograph does: a precisely jumping minute counter as well as a flyback function. Though CEO Wilhelm Schmid quoted Voltaire on this celebratory evening in Dresden's Albertinum - "The quest for perfection is the enemy of good" - it is obvious that perfection is actually what the Saxon watchmakers are often out to accomplish. Not only have they enlarged the platinum case from 39 to 41 mm (13.1 mm in height) while keeping the entire appearance proportional, but they have made some rather good technical changes on the inside too.
Great power The most obvious change that an enthusiast will see at a glance is the addition of the power reserve display at 6 o'clock (the "auf und ab," or "up and down" indication is a Glashutte specialty). The power reserve is always a great addition to the dial of a hand-wound watch, but in this case it also proves the cleverness of the sensible changes: while the original Datograph had 36 hours of power reserve, the Datograph Auf/Ab boasts a full 60 hours.
This jump in energy can be attributed in great part to the fact that new Caliber L951.6 - Lange's 41st caliber in its young 21-year reborn history - includes the use of an enlarged spring barrel as well as a large in-house balance wheel and an in-house hairspring. The latter two components are much more efficient with energy and also add to rate stability. Peering through the sapphire crystal case back of this superb timer is to take a trip through a fantasy world of very finely finished watch components. The array of colors, which include ruby red bearing jewels, cornflower blue steel screws, natural German silver plates and bridges and the gold color of the various alloys of some wheels, chatons and - of course - the large balance wheel with its weighted screws for fine adjustment, is nothing short of a feast for the eyes.