Overview, and a Little Journey of Personal Sentiments
But my initial excitement towards the new 1815 Chronograph simmered when I really saw it for what it is. It's nothing genuinely new. Compared it to the boutique edition the brand released 2 years ago, the only difference lies with the colour scheme. Meaningful change, for sure, but this is not the kind of innovation executed when they released, say, the Datograph Up/Down which replaced the godfather of modern luxury in-house chronographs: the Datograph. In comparison, the birth of the new 1815 Chronograph feels more like a clever marketing tactic that rides the zealous followings of monochromatic chronographs (I'm looking at you, ceramic Daytona; and you, you, you) in recent times.
And now that we are on to the Datograph discussion, the nagging feeling that the 1815 Chronograph is nothing more than a "lite" version of the Datograph is a hard one to shrug off. The 1815 Chronograph, as much an exceptional timepiece in itself, feels more like a result from the reduction of something even more magnificent, than an authentic creation that sets out to be great in its own right. This is surely an utterly harsh standard to bestow upon a Lange timepiece of this caliber (no pun intended), but this is a real existential question the 1815 Chronograph line has always faced. And I didn't see how the problem was addressed with the new black and white 1815 Chronograph, especially for a diehard 39mm Datograph fan like myself (I'm sure part of Philippe Stern became a reluctant fan too when he first came across it in Basel 1991 - it's that good).
And boom, I was taken away by the 1815 Chronograph experience. And I can finally declare that the watch has fully emerged from under the Datograph's shadow and established itself as a tour de force to be reckoned with. Heck, this is THE best, pure-play chronograph anywhere, period. And I'm going to break down exactly why this particular 1815 Chronograph makes so much sense by comparing it with the past 1815 Chronographs, and its venerable peers from other watchmakers.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
All in all, the 2nd Gen 1815 Chronograph was unnecessary, and quite honestly, confusingly executed. The lucky thing is, the upsized subdials did manage to find their way to the new 1815 Chronograph, which is something I really like.
Now that we've established the new 1815 Chronograph as the best from its family, how does it hold up against its immediate competitors from other brands?
A Surprisingly "Value" Choice
The best part? It has managed to maintain a relatively approachable price tag compared with some of the chronograph greats out there. To be honest, the 1815 Chronograph could easily charge a HKD450,000-plus retail price for what it is. But it did not. As a consumer, I'm not nearly as interested in knowing why as I am for it to stay that way.
And that, is why the new A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph makes so much sense.