First Generation A. Lange & Söhne Datograph
In any sane market, when a new model debuts, consumers prefer it to the previous. Take modern autmotive enthusiasts as an example. The new G82 M4 will likely be more appealing to a new buyer than the previous F82 M4 (okay maybe that’s a bad example). But as a general rule, new is better than old and vehicles get better over time. Watches tend to grow more robust, svelt, and technically sophisticated with age also. However, despite this, collectors tend to swarm toward recently discontinued watches over their more modern counterparts. Why is this? Watches are permanent. A 14060 or 14060m will likely see you through the next two hundred years when properly cared for. Changes mean less where both watches are concerned and as a community we tend to favor charm. Despite this, there are rare occasions where previous generations are materially preferable. This is one of them.
This platinum cased feat of horological architecture had a production run from 1999 to 2012. It is one of the three pillars that restored Lange’s now-unimpeachable reputation at the start of this century, alongside the Zeitwerk and Lange 1. The half-roman half-baton indice dial, artful date window balanced against vertically-sunken subdials, and classically squared pushers have been burned into the sole of the watch collecting public. This watch was introduced in a hefty but proportionate 39mm platinum case with a 12.8mm rise. That is not an insubstantial bit of metal, but one understands just what a feat that proportion was upon flipping the watch over.
However, in the Datograph’s 2012 second generation update, the case subtly expanded. The 39mm diameter creeped out to 42. Its 12.8mm rise ticked just over the 13mm mark. Its dial grew a very Germanic up/down power reserve indication that simply felt (marginally) less harmonious. Instantly, Lange created a cult classic out of the first generation despite having introduced a more technically sophisticated calibre L951.6 movement with additional complication. Despite the fact that the first generation enjoyed a production run of thirteen years (triple most Omegas), values have steadily started creeping up in recent years. I feature today a classic in the making, as if anyone had any doubt in period.
This Datograph is unpolished, full set. It has its PT buckle, it’s on a fresh Lange strap. I see very light surface wear on the highly polished platinum but nothing more. I am legitimately jealous of whomever attains this grail next. This may very well be the finest scale-production chronograph of our generation. It comes from a well-known Instagram collector.
Find this Datograph available here from @mh1717 on Instagram by DM for 78000 USD.