Review of Lange Datograph
By Peter Chong, November 1999
Lange Caliber L951.1
The Dial and hands.
|The dial is machined from a piece of solid silver, and is black, with the constant seconds subdial and the minute recorder subdial in white. I don’t know if this will be changed when the first production examples hit the market sometime in December this year, but prototype examples, like the subject of this review came with either a plain sapphire glass crystal, or a coated, anti-reflective crystal. My review sample had the anti-reflective crystal, which at certain angles (see pictures taken by me at the end of the review) made the dial look blue. However, the promotion picture (original I have is 40MB tiff file made from a 4×5 camera) clearly shows the dial is black.
Lancet hands for the hours and minutes in rhodiumed white gold, with luminous sliver in the middle, and a very fine, needle like silver chrono seconds hands complete the picture. The constant seconds hand and the minute recorder is in blued steel.
Hour markers are applique in rhodium plated white gold.
The crown is made from solid platinum, and embossed with the logo. The pushers are massive square blocks of platinum. The feel of pushers in operation gives the impression of a heavy piston moving smoothly through a pot of thick, viscious oil. The amount of effort for each of the operation is exactly the same as the next, unlike many cheap navette type chronographs, where the effort to start the chrono is significantly larger than the effort to stop, which is again different from the effort required to reset. The way the Datograph pushers work gives evidence to the attention to detail common to Langes.
Also the feel of the crown, as one winds the watch is one which gives me extreme satisfaction.
As is typical of Lange movements, the caliber number indicates the year in which development work began. The L951.1 thus represents a movement in which work began in 1995, and was the first movement to be developed in that year.
The movement is in the classical Glashutte style, complete with 3/4 plate partially hidden below the chronograph work complete with gold chatons held by blued screws, and engraved balance cock with swan-neck micro adjustment system (shown as 3). It features a screw compensation balance with a Breguet overcoil hairspring, beating at 18,000 bph.
The movement allows the folks at Lange Uhren to show off finishing in two metals…the traditional Glashutte German silver used in the base plate, the 3/4 plate and the chronograph bridges (examplified by the cock holding the main chrono wheel indicated as 2), and high polish steel for the chronograph work.
The movement also features a jump minute recorder, which moves in 1 minute jumps, each time the chrono seconds hand completes one revolution.
The classical column wheel (shown as 1) is made in the traditional Lange style, sans polished steel cap, allowing full view of the turrets, and the star wheel activation mechanism below the column wheel proper.
Seen below is the detail of the column wheel, showing the high precision finishing work in the turrets. Note also the jagged teeth of the star wheel below the turrets, where a hook shaped pawl (labelled 4) engages, and moves the column wheel one position, each time one of the two chronograph button is pressed. The spring loaded lever 5, prevents the column wheel from moving, without any instruction from the pushers.
Copyright © 1999 Peter Chong