Sure, I had handled the watches during press trips and at trade shows, but I had never really lived with one of my wrist for a while. It sparked a fascination in me that went far beyond the realm of what typically goes into an A Week On The Wrist, so my editor suggested I split the more technical aspects of my review into a second article so it had its own room to breathe.
So let’s get into the proverbial weeds on the how and why of split-second chronographs at Swiss made A. Lange & Söhne replica UK online.
A Split-Second Primer On Split-Seconds
A rattrapante chronograph, also known as a split-seconds complication, enables the timing of two separate intervals of elapsed time via a pair of central chronograph seconds hands that are mounted together. They start at the same time but can be stopped individually in order to track exact split time. The most commonly cited real-life benefit? Tracking lap time in a race.
(A Reddit user once built a split-seconds complication out of Lego, if you need help visualizing the above.)
In 2014, a HODINKEE contributor named PH Zhou wrote one of the best and most exhaustive deep dives on the rattrapante chronograph on the internet. I won’t take away from his piece in my own explorations, so I encourage you to give it a read if you need further clarification on what exactly a rattrapante is, or how it works in most instances.
Perfect UK sale fake A. Lange & Söhne online has been regarded as an authority on the split-seconds complication since the reveal of the Double Split, the world’s first double rattrapante chronograph, in 2004. Fourteen years later, it built on that legacy with the Triple Split, but before that, 1:1 best replica A. Lange & Söhne online brought an entirely different kind of rattrapante chronograph to market – as seen in the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar, which is exactly what it sounds like. In 2017, it was followed by the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite,” which joined a fusée-and-chain transmission with a tourbillon, chronograph, rattrapante, and a perpetual calendar.
It wasn’t until the fall of 2021 that A. Lange introduced its simplest split-seconds chronograph: the luxury replica 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold Limited Edition. And that’s where we’ll start.
How To Split, A Lange Lesson
On the Swiss movement replica A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold, you start and stop the pair of seconds hands through the pusher at two o’clock, reset both hands to zero through the pusher at four o’clock, and utilize the split-seconds functionality through the button at 10 o’clock. Inside the watch, there’s one column wheel that engages the normal running of the chronograph at nine o’clock, and then a secondary column wheel manages the stop/start of the split-seconds hand in the center of the movement, placed on top of the escapement.
This secondary column wheel is connected to an additional wheel that is above the central chronograph wheel. When the chronograph first starts, both of these center wheels turn in sync; but once the split-seconds functionality is engaged through the 10 o’clock crown, a pair of clamps snap down on the split-seconds wheel, stopping the rattrapante seconds hand in its tracks on the dial. The chronograph seconds hand continues its advance, but if you press the split-seconds button again, the clamps release their grip on the upper wheel, and the rattrapante seconds hand snaps back into position perfectly alongside its partner as it continues around the dial.
Lange’s approach to the split-seconds complication in the L101.2 is different from most. And in order to best understand it, I reached out to the man who knows exact replica A. Lange & Söhne chronograph movements better than anyone – Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development at high-quality fake A. Lange & Söhne.
“A rattrapante complication always involves compromise,” he says to me, as we chat over Zoom during the most recent Watches & Wonders digital showcase. “If you do it well – and we like to do it well – you still need to ensure timekeeping when using the rattrapante.”
Best replica A. Lange & Söhne UK online achieves this through two separate approaches for its perfect UK sale replica watches online. When the complication is executed in the Double and Triple Split, the brand uses an isolating mechanism that reduces the friction that builds up when the split-seconds wheel is stopped. In watches like the fake Tourbograph and the eplica 1815 Rattrapante (both the Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar and the Rattrapante Honeygold), Lange uses a more classical solution involving a heart-shaped cam underneath the split-seconds wheel and a tiny steel coil that Haas refers to as the “pull string.”
“We could have said, ‘Ah, we only make Rattrapantes with the isolating system,’ – but the isolating system builds up a thickness,” Haas says. “We have to have an isolator in the Double Split and the Triple Split. Why? Because there is extra friction with the jumping minute counter in the rattrapante; both are jumping instantaneously. And that’s piling up the resistance.”
When the caliber L101.2 is in operation, humming away, it’s a beauty to behold. The movement seems to work in freeform, responding to the action of the pushers in myriad ways. It’s all a calculated ballet dance, however, one that is waiting until the reset button is pushed. And when it is …
In quicksilver action, the spring-driven, cam-actuated rattrapante mechanism sends the once-paused seconds hand on the dial flying back to join its partner wherever it is on the dial. As if it never left. (*The watch does not actually boing, unfortunately.)
Just like its hairsprings, Lange crafts this “pull spring” in-house. A watchmaker in Glashütte literally stretches and massages a thin piece of steel with a tool until it’s ready to be placed in the movement. It’s an incredibly delicate operation that requires intense fine adjustment in assembly not only to measure the tolerance and tensile strength of the spring but also to ensure it exerts enough pressure to to reset correctly and consistently without causing the watch to lose too much amplitude.
“Even if you would build watches with a huge amount of complications, it still has to be a timekeeper,” Haas says. “There is no compromise; when the collector or owner plays with their rattrapante, you should not have the balance wheel crying for help instead of keeping time. It’s a wristwatch; it has to show you the time.”
The pull spring is not the only unique attribute of the caliber L101.2. There’s also the semi-symmetrical heart-shaped cam placed underneath the split-seconds wheel. What’s interesting here is that, in the Rattrapante Honeygold, the point of most resistance for the split-seconds mechanism is not at 30 seconds like you might expect. If you stop the rattrapante at 32 seconds, for instance, the seconds hand will travel counterclockwise when it’s reset, just as it would at 15 seconds. The turning point for the cam is actually located at approximately 36 seconds.
That is partly a result of the energy that builds up when the split-second wheel is paused. The primary chronograph wheel, placed underneath it, continues its rotation, generating excess drag that can, if paused for too long, negatively impact the amplitude of the balance. (Kinetic energy has to go somewhere, after all.)
A single ruby, positioned near the lowest point of the reset cam, helps keep the split hand turning with the main hand; when the rattrapante is split, the ruby becomes stationary because it’s attached by a pivot to the split-hand wheel, which is held in place by the clamps. The ruby is a touchpoint between the split-seconds wheel and pull spring and the primary chronograph wheel and cam. When the hands are split, the cam continues to turn and the ruby rides up and down the edge of it, held in place by the spring pressure. Once the rattrapante is reset, the pressure of the pull spring has a direct impact, pushing the ruby back to its place on the lowest point of the cam, resetting the split wheel and indicating to the split-seconds hand where exactly to go to catch up with the chronograph seconds hand.
But none of this is possible without the clamps (or pincers, or levers, or axe, or whatever your preference) themselves, which high-quality A. Lange & Söhne replica for sale has fashioned in a surprisingly straightforward manner. Typical split-seconds chronograph movements include a secondary pair of spring levers that engage with the clamps once the split-seconds mechanism has been activated. These levers are meant to physically push the jaws of the clamp down, stopping the split-seconds wheel instantaneously.
“Traditionally, you see one spring on one side of the clamp, and then it’s transferred to the other,” Haas said. “There’s too much risk of the clamps not centering that way. If the clamps are not centered, then it can shock the cap jewel in the middle of the rattrapante wheel. If the clamps are not well-adjusted, it knocks the wheels in one direction, causing even more friction. You’ve damaged the fine adjustments you achieved with the pull spring, by decentering the wheel.”
The caliber L101.2 solves this with extra long, straight clamps that curve inward to engage with the column wheel and continue on to connect with each other through a spring-loaded pivoting point nested inside the bridge engraved with “Made In Germany.” In this approach, there is a continuous amount of pressure on these clamps that is only blocked by the notches of the column wheel. That means no outside force other than engaging the pusher is necessary, minimizing the complexity of the rattrapante complication and increasing its overall reliability.
The fake A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph and the high-quality replica A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar are functionally identical to the 1815 Rattrapante, when you boil it down to only the split-seconds mechanism. Just layer a new complication in there, shuffle some things around, rinse and repeat. (If only it were that easy.)
The execution of the rattrapante complication inside the practical fake A. Lange & Söhne Double and Triple Split, on the other hand, is a different beast altogether ….