Celebrating the Art of Chronograph: A. Lange & Söhne Launches Datograph Up/Down at Watches and Wonders 2024

It was 30 years ago that the Glashütte-based luxury watchmaker presented the first four timepieces since it had been re-founded – each with a bespoke movement that had been specially developed in-house, the Lange 1, the Arkade, the Saxonia, and the high-end complication Tourbillon Pour le Mérite, which featured a rare fusée-and-chain mechanism. The next chapter in this unparalleled success story of the renaissance of traditional Saxon fine watchmaking was marked by the legendary Datograph, a chronograph introduced five years later that was also developed under the aegis of Günter Blümlein (1943 – 2001), the seasoned industry expert that helped Walter Lange (1924 – 2017) to re-establish Germany’s most prestigious watch brand in the aftermath of Germany’s reunification in 1990.

This statement piece gave new impetus to the world of precision watchmaking as one of the first chronograph movements developed from scratch in decades after the quartz crisis had halted the world of fine watchmaking. With its classic column-wheel mechanism, precisely jumping minute counter (it jumps to the next increment at the exact moment when the chrono seconds hand reaches the 60th second on the 60-second counter), flyback function and outsize date, with the latter being the first on a mechanical chronograph model, the Lange watchmakers set the bar high right from the start. It goes without saying that the technical complexity of the hand-wound movement was highlighted by the superb quality of finishing Glashütte’s most prestigious watch brand is famous for.

Introduced at Baselworld in 1999, it was enthusiastically received by watch lovers, the press, and the trade. As a side note, the Datograph was the first in a line up of currently 13 Lange chronographs, demonstrating its technical prowess and ambitions to break new horological grounds. In 2012, the firm added a power reserve indicator and endowed it with an extended power reserve of 60 hours, hence the name Datograph Up/Down.

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Datograph Up/Down, A. Lange & Söhne this year unveils a new version of this outstanding chronograph at Watches and Wonders 2024. In addition to the platinum/black and pink-gold/black case-dial combinations, it is now also offered in white gold with a blue dial, with the case dimensions – 41.0mm x 13.1mm remaining the same.

The harmonious layout, distinguished by precise geometrical calculations, is a hallmark of the Datograph Up/Down. The outsize date window at 12 o’clock marks the vertex of an equilateral triangle. The subsidiary dials for the small seconds at 9 o’clock and the precision jumping minute counter at 3 o’clock are located below the horizontal centerline of the dial, forming the base of a triangle. In the latest execution, these two subsidiary dials have a rhodium hue and contrast beautifully with the dark blue background. The same rings true for the luminescent hands, baton hour markers the tachymeter scale on the rehaut.

The Datograph Up/Down is powered by the manually wound caliber L951.6, which comprises of 451 parts, is assembled twice and meticulously finished in typical Lange fashion. Thanks to the technical sophistication, complex architecture, and the superior degree of finishing, it sets benchmarks both in engineering and aesthetic appeal. Particular attention is paid to the internal angles of movement parts, such as the clutch rocker of the chronograph mechanism. This level of perfection requires remarkable skill and experience. Other traditional elements include the bridges in untreated German silver, the hand-engraved balance cock with whiplash spring, and the four screwed gold chatons.

The classic column-wheel chronograph with a freely oscillating balance spring and a balance with eccentric poising weights beats at a frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour (2.5 hertz) and allows time measurements with an accuracy of one-fifth of a second. The sapphire crystal case back reveals essential parts of the chronograph mechanism, with the minute counter mechanism and the column wheel that controls the start and stop sequences on full display.

“To date, designing and crafting top-class chronographs ranks among the greatest challenges in precision watchmaking. As early as 25 years ago, our engineers created a masterpiece with the Datograph that marries highly sophisticated functions with a well-balanced dial configuration. This singular combination of true engineering finesse and expressive design has made the Datograph an emblem of our philosophy to continue to explore new avenues and serves as an incentive for future developments.” 

Anthony de Haas, Director Product Development.

Pricing for the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down is available upon request.

To learn more, visit A. Lange & Söhne, here.

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