Put a group of serious replica watch collectors in a room and ask them to name the most important modern chronograph in the world right now, and we’re confident the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Replica will end up top of the heap.
A large part of the Datograph’s appeal is the movement, which surpasses mere functional engineering and moves into the realm of sculptural beauty. But it’s not just the replica watch’s technical and aesthetic virtuosity that’s earned it such universal acclaim – it’s the context it emerged from. As you may know, A. Lange & Söhne Mens Replica is a brand with old roots in eastern Germany but it wasn’t until 1994, shortly after reunification, that the brand was reborn in spectacular fashion. The first collection, launching the Lange 1 among others, set the tone of contemporary classicism that has come to define the brand. Then, in 1999, came the Datograph.
First, consider how difficult it is to make an integrated chronograph movement, let alone one with flyback and instantaneous minute jump (as well as a big date). But set that against a backdrop of political and economic turmoil, and Lange’s achievement is nothing short of astonishing. The replica watch very quickly became a cult object without peer. (Seriously, even Philippe Dufour wears one.)
So you can imagine the trepidation when Lange announced an update to the Datograph in 2012, especially when it was revealed that the case was to increase from 39mm to 41mm, while fattening up a little to 13.1mm. Thankfully fears of Lange meddling with perfection were quickly disproved. Instead, the Datograph Up/Down has improved and refined key points of the original design, with a more harmoniously balanced case, a slightly upgraded movement, now with 60 hours of power reserve, and of course that discreet power reserve indicator on the dial. It’s this indicator that gives the Up/Down its name, though the dial text is in the German Ab/Auf. It’s also a supremely useful complication on a manually wound replica watch.