Hands-on with the Lange 1815 Up/Down (with live photos and pricing)

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Lange revamped the 1815 line at SIHH this year, expanding it to include complicated timepieces like the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar. But for those seeking something simpler, Lange also revived the 1815 Up/Down.

The first generation 1815 was one of Lange’s first wristwatches. It was the brand’s simplest timepiece, but it had a bigger brother, the original 1815 Auf und Ab, or Up and Down. That disappeared from the collection some years ago, but at SIHH 2013 it returned as the 1815 Up/Down. Like its predecessor the 1815 Up/Down is inspired by deck watches and marine chronometers, including those made by Lange during the Second World War. This is the closest Lange gets to some of the military timepieces it made in the past. 

It has the seconds at seconds at four o’clock and the power reserve indicator at eight. The power reserve indicator has a dash of red, to mark the end of the power reserve; auf and ab mean “up” and “down”.

The view through the display back is wonderful, as expected with Lange. The German silver three-quarter plate, blued screws and jewels in gold chatons provide a lavish visual feast.

 

Black polished steel plate for the escape wheel jewel

The L051.2 movement, however, has an unusual construction for a Lange movement – the ratchet wheel and click spring of the barrel are exposed, as opposed to being hidden under the three-quarter plate as is convention for Lange. This allows for a thinner movement, and the only other Lange movement constructed like this is that of the Saxonia Ultra-Thin.

At 39 mm and 8.7 mm high, this is smaller than the manual wind 1815, a testament to the compact construction of the power reserve indicator. Like the earlier 1815 Up and Down, the power reserve indicator mechanism is based on a patent received by Otto Lange, a grandson of the firm’s founder, in 1940. A pair of planetary gears enable the axle of the power reserve indicator to turn in one direction when being wound, and in the opposing direction as the watch runs down. The perceived height of the case is also reduced thanks to a subtle change to the typical Lange case design. Also found on the other new 1815 watches of SIHH 2013, the 1815 Up/Down has a tiny step at the base of the bezel, making it seem thinner by breaking up the vertical lines of the case. Most other Lange timepieces have a bezel which is flush with the case, giving the case an unbroken vertical profile.

Being a Lange the 1815 Up/Down is not an inexpensive watch, but is still one of the more affordable Lange watches. This is available in the three colours of gold, with the pink and yellow gold retailing for US$27,400 while the white gold is US$28,600. That’s about a 20% increase over the 1815 in the same metal.

Of the three metals the white gold version is most reminiscent of vintage navy deck watches which all had sterling silver cases, and for that reason it is my favourite. 

– SJX

1815 Up/Down pink gold

1815 Up/Down yellow gold

1815 Up/Down white gold

Hand-engraved balance cock and swan neck regulator
Impeccable finish of the pallet fork bridge
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