While one can comfortably ascertain the Datograph as the iconic chronograph, par excellence by A. Lange & Söhne, there are other ways in which one can enjoy what it mostly offers, and at a more “affordable” price.
Indeed, some might say that the 1815 Chronograph has had the dual reputation of being either, perhaps unfairly, the “poor man’s Datograph” or more correctly, a pure expression of what a high end manual winding chronograph with column wheel and horizontal clutch, should be. That being said, of course, no one who can afford an 1815 Chronograph should ever be considered cash strapped by any measure.
Leaving that aside, it is true that there are connoisseurs whose taste tends to the austere, preferring to have their watches be as devoid of as much flash as possible. For collectors of such a persuasion, the date function, often seen as a practical addition to a watch, becomes an unnecessary obstacle to the enjoyment of its true functions. In the 1815 Chronograph especially, whose raison d’être is felt through its name, only the functions of time and chronograph are the ones truly relevant and therefore “pure”.
While I’m not one to dismiss a date function for the sake of purity, I can see a place for such a notion to be important, and for that the 1815 Chronograph is the perfect watch. For such collectors, it would be this watch, notwithstanding the iconic status of the Datograph in the brand’s line-up, which would be on their consideration list. After all, it gives the best of everything that A. Lange & Söhne can offer in a chronograph movement, but in a package that suits a more specific criteria of how a watch should be.
In fact, in comparison to the Datograph, the 1815 Chronograph is essentially the same watch but without the date module, responsible for A. Lange & Söhne’s iconic Outsized Date. In removing this module, what has essentially happened is that one gets a watch that can be thinner (at 11mm) than the original Datograph (at 12.9mm) or the Datograph Up/Down (at 13.1mm).
Without the date, whose components are on the dial-side of the movement, one still gets the superlative view of the Calibre L951.5, which is essentially the same view you get from the back of the Datograph, or the one that when first presented, elevated A. Lange & Söhne to the upper echelons of watchmaking.