What’s so special about the best quality fake A. Lange & Söhne Double Split – or as I started calling it as soon as I bought it, the “Mighty Double Split?”
In this latest edition of the “Why I Bought It” series, I hope to give you a good impression about why I chose this watch among the many ultra-complicated chronographs out there, why I’m still pleased with my purchase three years later, and what you might want to consider if you think that this stalwart of the Lange line could be the one for you.
Why I bought it
In my friend Terry’s collecting taxonomy (described in more detail in Why I Bought It: Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon), the Double Split definitely falls in the “investment” realm: a piece with fairly predictable market value that is important in its own right and can be a foundational element within a collection.
One of the great things about these sorts of replica watches from a collector’s perspective is that they allow you to spend (note I didn’t say “invest”) more on your collection than you could otherwise afford.
But that’s not why I bought this watch. In fact, although I’d been a fan of high quality copy A. Lange & Söhne watches for some time, already owned a Datograph, and had known about the Double Split for a while, it wasn’t at the top of my wish list until “the lunch.”
Our small group of Northern California collector crazies had gathered for one of our regular lunches, this time with a Lange theme. As usual with our group, any theme teases some pretty interesting watches out of members’ safe deposit boxes, and this time was no exception. Pieces like one of the ten “Pisa” Datographs in existence and a rare Lange 1 in stainless steel were being handed around and tried on. The “Pisa” is an edition of ten pieces in platinum cases with both solid and exhibition case backs, a silver dial, and blued chronograph hands; they were made for the Italian retailer of the same name.
For me, though, the black dial A. Lange & Söhne copy watch that riveted my attention didn’t actually belong to any of the members; it was a Double Split that belonged to the uncle of one of our gang. Turns out that “Unc” was in town for the day, met up with our buddy, and – by total coincidence – happened to be wearing a Double Split. He was kind enough to lend it to his favorite nephew for lunch.
It is on such small coincidences that collections can turn! My photos from that day are dominated by the Double Split, and I was soon on the hunt. Shortly thereafter, I found a suitable example at auction, and after some much-needed loving care back at the A. Lange & Söhne manufacture (which I reviewed in some detail in Why You Can’t Afford To Buy Your Watch If You Can’t Afford To Break It) found myself with a like-new Double Split that has been one of my very favorite pieces ever since.
Why I love it
The reasons why I love this watch fall into two main categories: how it looks and what it does. Let’s start with appearances.
· It is indeed mighty! The massive platinum case is both hefty and sculpted in ways that to me communicate a real seriousness of purpose. One example: on the rear bezel, the brand name and serial number aren’t just engraved; they are etched into the bezel in deep relief, providing a striking frame for the movement.
Speaking of the movement: even if it weren’t a mechanical marvel, it certainly looks the part! The term I’ve heard over and over again from first-time viewers of my watch is that the movement side looks like a “city under glass.” Lange’s practice of building chronograph complications vertically isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I’m a sucker for this sort of deep dimensionality.
· The finishing is both purposeful and beautiful. A term that I sometimes use to refer to Lange’s style of finishing is “vigorous”: those Glashütte stripes on the bridges, for instance, will never be mistaken for the barely-there striping applied by Philippe Dufour. But for me it’s all part of a coherent Saxon style, like the screwed gold chatons that secure some of the jewels. It is especially appropriate for a masculine watch like the Double Split.
To my good friends at Swiss made copy A. Lange und Söhne: how about a Dato Double Split? Yes, I know you’ve already told me that it can’t be done for a variety of reasons, but I have faith in you!
Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Double Split
Case: pink gold; 43.2 x 15.3 mm; previously produced in platinum with black dial
Dial: argenté (silvered)
Movement: manually wound Caliber L001.1 with 38-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds; flyback chronograph with double rattrapante and precisely jumping minute counters; “up/down” power-reserve indicator
Price: current retail price (pink gold) $128,400; recent auction prices as of 2014 (platinum) $77,000 to $87,000
Production years: 2004 onward