With the new A. Lange & Sohne Datograph AUF/AB (ref. 405.035) hand-wound wrist watch Lange’s fabulous Datograph family can finally offer you a model that, besides a flyback chronograph and a beautifully executed Big Date window, has a handy power reserve indicator: an amenity that may become quite convenient for an owner of a watch with a guaranteed power reserve of whole sixty hours.
Although A. Lange & Sohne has a number of movements that are equipped with power reserve displays (the most famous of them is, probably, the gorgeous Lange 31 (ref. 130.032) model that sports stunning 31 days of guaranteed power supply,) it is only now that the useful indication finally comes to their popular Datograph line.
Conveniently placed at 6 hours, the indicator sports a rather unusual shape looking like a volume knob of a super-tiny digital amplifier. What I really love about the way it is designed is how subtle and unassuming it is. While many watchmakers tend to visually stress the indicator with color or bold strokes (or both,) Lange decided to treat it as it is: a secondary sub-dial that will only get looked at two, maybe three times per week and that is supposed to be virtually invisible the rest of the time, not trying to compete for your attention with other indicators.
As you can see on the pictures, the new watch preserves the same general styling as currently offered Datograph models with the same hands and standard, if you excuse me, big date window at 12 o’clock. However, it comes in a more prominent body.
Being 41 mm in diameter, the case is about two millimeters larger than that of the base model, the new Datograph AUF/AB seems to be more slender (or at least better proportioned,) since its height remained roughly the same.
The only thing that worries me a little is that the case is so far available only in highly expensive platinum. Although I am positively sure that soon we will see a version in rose gold, it is a version in steel that I crave for the most.
But this is probably out of the books: A. Lange & Sohne deliberately offers its watches at prohibitively high prices. This one will probably sell at around €70,000 or even more if the common European currency will keep depreciating at its current pace.
The Power Reserve model, too, sports a pair of chronograph push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock, a rapid date adjustment pusher, which is placed between 9 and 10 hours, and a medium-sized winding crown that seems to be too modern-looking to my taste.
Oh, and, if you haven’t noticed already, the new version of the watch lacks the three Roman numerals that were previously placed at 2, 6 and 10 o’clock, which is only for the better, since its dial now looks even more sober and refined: something that you expect from a German watch that costs like a Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan decently loaded with luxury options.
According to the German watchmaking brand, the A. Lange & Sohne Datograph AUF/AB is powered by a new version of their Caliber L951 base movement. Called Lange caliber L951.6 it is, as usual, decorated and assembled by hand with its signature balance cock meticulously engraved, also by a hand of a skilled artisan.
The watch will be presented in flesh later next month during SIHH 2012 trade fair.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
See also: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Gray Automatic & Chronograph (ref. 47040000W-9500 & 49150000W-9501)
Photos: A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne Datograph AUF/AB (ref. 405.035) hand-wound watch specification
Price: $91,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Lange caliber L951.6, manual winding, in-house, 451 components, Made in Germany
Number of jewels: 46
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Movement decoration: Decorated and assembled by hand; plates and bridges crafted from German silver; the balance cock is hand-engraved
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, flyback chronograph, power reserve indication
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case material: Platinum
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 41.00 mm
Case height: 13.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Silver, blackened
Hour markers: Applied
Hands: Gold, rhodium-plated
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Blue-grey crocodile leather strap with a platinum tang buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire