The A. Lange & Söhne Double Split Chronograph ref. 404.032 is the world’s first and only mechanical chronograph with a double-rattrapante function. It features two pairs of stopwatch hands that can run together as well as separately. For the first time, they allow time comparisons, lap-time and reference-value measurements as well as fastest/slowest measurements of events that last up to 30 minutes. This exceptional timepiece that pushes the limits of horology is available in a generous 18K rose gold case with a diameter of 43.2 mm and a thickness of 15.3 mm. Even though this timepiece is quite robust, it is not top heavy as it weighs only 150 grams. If you are looking for a masterpiece of horology straight from Saxony, look no further. The images on this hands-on review, are living proof of what the master horologists at this German manufacture can accomplish.
The A. Lange & Söhne Double Split is fitted with an elegant solid silver dial with applied rose gold markers, black minute/seconds track, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds at 9 o'clock, a flyback chronograph mechanism with double rattrapante feature, a precisely-jumping minute counter at 3 o'clock and an Up/Down power reserve indicator at 12 o'clock right above the central pinion. The design of the dial is very classic and not busy at all, regardless of the many elements that are on it. The dial is rounded out by a very clean tachymetric scale in increments of 10 km/h and a blued seconds hand that provides perfect contrast. Ultimately, the A. Lange & Söhne Double Split honors the saying "God is in the details" attributed to our favorite German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and where "less is more" clearly stands out in the design of this timepiece.
Equipped with buttery soft to the touch rectangular chronograph pushers, playing with the double split flyback chronograph is pure joy and quite and experience that only a few get to enjoy.
As we like to say it, when it comes to A. Lange & Söhne timepieces the best part is behind the display case back. Powered by the amazing manual wound in-house calibre L001.1 composed of 465 parts and 40 jewels —four in screwed gold chatons—, the movement has a significant diameter of 30.6 mm and a height of 9.5 mm. The movement provides a power reserve of 38 hours when fully wound, while oscillating at a frequency of 21,600 vph.
The A. Lange & Söhne calibre L001.1 represents the pinnacle of horological complexity. The mechanism for the sweep chronograph and split-seconds hands lies beneath the central bridge with the “A. Lange & Söhne” signature. The mechanical module for the two minute counters is located beneath the bridge at the upper right. A rattrapante chronograph has two hands seated on arbors that rotate inside each other. The double rattrapante mechanism has two of these configurations for its two seconds hands and two minute-counter hands.
Additionally, the flyback function allows an ongoing time measurement to be interrupted and a new one to be started instantaneously by merely pressing a button. It combines three steps —stop, reset to zero and restart— into one. In chronographs without the flyback function, these three steps must be executed consecutively. The concept behind this complex function dates back to the era when flight-deck crews still navigated with maps and watches and often had to react very quickly to suddenly occurring events. With the triumph of electronic measuring instruments, this classic function, mainly used by pilots, sank into oblivion. In Lange chronographs, the flyback mechanism is experiencing a renaissance with a newly developed design.
An elaborate device minimizes mechanical friction when the rattrapante hands are stopped but the chronograph hands are still running. The disconnector mechanism was developed and patented by A. Lange & Söhne.
A balance spring developed and crafted in-house is integrated to assure the utmost in rate accuracy. Manufacturing springs is one of the most formidable challenges in horology, with extremely exacting requirements. For instance, the coils must be rolled to a tolerance of 100 nanometers, which is roughly equivalent to one hundredth of the diameter of a human hair.
This superb chronograph is fitted with a matte chocolate brown hand-sewn alligator strap with Lange pin buckle. Break-in period is necessary to achieve the ultimate fit from the strap as it is quite stiff when brand new. Once you wear the watch for a few days, you'll notice how well it sits on your wrist and how comfortable it is to wear it.
On the wrist, the watch wears slightly bigger than its actual size and quite high but with utmost elegance and outstanding wrist presence. Even if you can't fully tuck it under your cuff, this watch is a true horological masterpiece and one that you want to show off.
Once you put this watch on, it is very likely that your other timepieces will see very little wrist time. Masterpiece, understated and classy are some of the words that best describe the A. Lange & Söhne Double Split.
Sticker Price $128,400 USD. For more info on A. Lange & Söhne click here.