In any sane market, when a new model debuts, consumers prefer it to the previous. Watches tend to grow more robust, svelte, and technically sophisticated with age. However, despite this, collectors will often to swarm toward recently discontinued watches over their more modern counterparts. Why is this? In part, because watches are permanent—for eternity. Modern engineering means a 14060 or 14060m (balance cock vs full balance bridge sub) will likely see you through the next two hundred years when properly cared for. When a certain level of engineering is present, all things being equal, our community tends to favor charm. But the first generation Dato appeals more deeply than mere charm, with a gorgeous thinner case which many consider simply more wearable.
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 from the start of this century, alongside the Zeitwerk and Lange 1. The half-roman half-baton indices, 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. The calibre L951.1 has depth in spades. Moreover, this example has a dial which reads ‘BASE 1000 METER’ as opposed to ‘BASE 1000 METERS’, which marks it out as among the earliest three quarters of the reference production.
Later, in the Datograph’s 2012 second-generation update, the case expanded drastically. 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. Oh, and one Philippe Dufour is on the train . . .driving it, even.
This example comes with an untouched case, perfect dial, recently serviced by the manufacture, and platinum 950 deployant clasp. Included is a full set with service warranty. It comes from a small retailer in Guisborough, England.
Find this 403.035 here from Remontoire Watches for 125000 EUR.