• Important Watches auction at Christies

    Sale 1398

    Important Watches

    11 November 2013, Geneva

  • Lot 282

    A. Lange & Söhne. A very rare, fine, large and almost certainly unique stainless steel double split seconds flyback chronograph wristwatch with power reserve, original certificate and box


    Price Realised  


    A. Lange & Söhne. A very rare, fine, large and almost certainly unique stainless steel double split seconds flyback chronograph wristwatch with power reserve, original certificate and box
    Signed A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte I/SA, Double Split Flyback, ref. 404.035X, movement no. 44'515, case no. 152'705, manufactured in 2006
    Cal. L001.1 German silver movement, 40 jewels, screwed gold chatons, black solid silver dial, applied baton, Roman and square numerals with luminous accents, luminous hands, inner five minute divisions and outer tachometer scale, power reserve display, two engine-turned silvered subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes register, heavy circular case, glazed display back secured by six screws, three rectangular chronograph buttons in the band for split-second activation and reset, chronograph start/stop and flyback and reset, platinum A. Lange & Söhne buckle, case, dial and movement signed
    43 mm. diam.

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    With A Lange & Söhne Guarantee dated 28 January 2008 and original fitted presentation box.

    Until the launch of A. Lange & Söhne's "Double Split", the French term "rattrapante" described the ability of the superposed hands of the split seconds chronograph to "catch up" with the main sweep seconds hand. Comparative time measurements were limited to 60 seconds, and could not always be used in an appropriate way.

    Introduced in 2004, A. Lange & Söhne's "Double Split", the world's first flyback chronograph wristwatch with a double rattrapante mechanism, opened up a new dimension in mechanical time measurement, marketed by the firm as "The new Lange Double Split is absolutely peerless, because it not only has one, but two rattrapante hands - one for the seconds and one for the minutes to be stopped. What's more, both chrono hands and both rattrapante hands are flyback hands. The new era of chronography has begun."

    Beyond the ordinary stopwatch functions of a conventional chronograph, the "Double Split" can also handle lap-time measurements, time comparisons, and fastest/slowest lap measurements. Its additional flyback minute counter allows for the first time to use these "rattrapante" functions in a truly meaningful way, namely for events that last up to 30 minutes - as opposed to conventional split seconds mechanisms that could only measure times of up to 60 seconds.

    Its Lange L001.1 movement, a pinnacle of horological complexity, is composed of 465 hand-finished parts. Its balance beats at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, allowing measurements to an accuracy of one-sixth of a second. Moreover, error-free readings are assured by the precisely jumping chrono minute counter and the precisely jumping rattrapante minute counter. During a continuing time measurement, the flyback function will immediately stop and reset the chronograph hands (and simultaneously the rattrapante hands if they are still running) with only one press of a button. A new measurement begins instantaneously when the button is released again, hence skipping the otherwise necessary "stop" and "reset" steps.

    Available in pink gold and platinum, the model enjoyed immediate success amongst collectors.

    We understand that in 2007, the directors of A. Lange & Söhne were envisaging the introduction of the "Double Split" with a much lighter case, resulting in the creation of one single prototype featuring a stainless steel case: the present watch. Despite the potential success, it is believed that the project never went beyond the trial stage, rendering this almost certainly unique "Double Split Chronograph" a highly desirable gem for the connoisseur of complicated timepieces in stainless steel cases.

    Furthermore A. Lange & Söhne's most complicated wristwatch in stainless steel ever made, this "Über-Chronograph" is part of the world's most exclusive contemporary trophies cased in the much sought after steel, including gems such as Patek Philippe's split seconds chronograph reference 5004A, made in a highly limited edition in stainless steel.

    An epitome of elegant understatement, outmost rarity and technical complexity, the present "Double Split" proudly joins the league of historical collector's watches.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.