The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down gets a sporty lift in blue

The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down gets a sporty lift in blue

Buffy Acacia

If you’re in the market for a luxury pilot’s watch, A. Lange & Söhne probably wouldn’t be your first port of call. Known for their ridiculous levels of finishing, impressive feats of complication and impeccable gothic stylings, even one of the German brand’s sportiest watches looks best in 18k white gold. The Datograph Up/Down may not exactly be a pilot’s watch either, but the flyback chronograph was initially perfected for aviation and A. Lange & Söhne has honoured that. For Watches & Wonders, the Datograph Up/Down has now been released in a classic navy blue and white gold combo.

The case

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Up:Down Blue case 1

The Datograph Up/Down has a rather grand appearance. The bezel is wide and highly-polished, with a gentle curve leading down to its three pushers. 18k white gold like this is almost indistinguishable from stainless steel, so there’s a big component of stealth wealth with a watch like this. It definitely doesn’t conform to any modern standards of sports watches, especially with only 30 metres of water resistance, but then again, it’s purposefully going for more of an early-20th century aesthetic.

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Up:Down Blue case 2

At 41mm wide and 13.1mm thick, its wrist presence is substantial, and the straight lugs feel bold even if the lug-to-lug distance is fairly moderate at 48.4mm. The polished finish also accentuates its sculptural aspects, refusing to fade away in comparison to the dial. The extra pusher on the left side of the case suggests an air of complexity which marks it out as something special, and not just another twin-register chronograph.

The dial

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Up:Down Blue dial 1

A. Lange & Söhne has become one of those brands who can do no wrong, topping out grail watch lists all over the world. There are things which it does that are seemingly unmatched, and its reputation has been solidified at the pinnacle of German watchmaking. Some even suggest that it outranks all members of the Swiss Holy Trinity, but that’s a debate for another time. It’s always difficult to get too excited over a release that’s simply a new colour combination, but the inclusion of navy blue in the Datograph Up/Down lineup really rams home a sense of adventurous sportiness which the black dials lacked. Combined with the aviation history and the tachymetre for calculations, it would almost be easy to mistake this watch for a steel-cased pilot’s watch with a classical twist.

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Up:Down Blue dial 2

Given its rather unassuming matte navy dial, you’ll be impressing a lot of watch nerds and flying under the radar for most everyone else, especially considering the dial is solid silver. That isn’t to say the dial is bland at all, but merely rewards thorough inspection. The two subdials are arranged in a perfect triangle formation with the outsize date display below 12 o’clock, which in itself is a hallmark feature for A. Lange & Söhne. The Up/Down name comes from the power reserve indicator down at 6 o’clock, which reminds you to wind the watch when the arrow dips into the red zone.

The movement

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Up:Down Blue movement 1

When you turn the watch over, things get really exciting. The dial is stoic in comparison to the flourishing chaos of the calibre L951.6, whose components flow not unlike vines and flowers in a work of art. The hand-engraved balance cock nearly blends in with how beautiful the whole movement is, and that’s before taking into account the lavish decoration of the gold-tinged German silver. Of course, it’s just as much an engineering marvel as it is an artistic one. The calibre L951.6 ensures a rapid transition when the flyback complication is engaged, as well as instantly-jumping minutes counter. 451 components are each finished with painstaking precision, and the finished movement is tested in five positions for accuracy. It beats at an old-school rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour, and has a power reserve of 60 hours.

The strap

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Up:Down Blue strap 1

The concept for the A. Lange. & Söhne Datograph Up/Down’s strap is simple, but executed beautifully. The alligator leather upper layer is a dial-matched blue with contrasting silver stitching, and the calf underside is padded for cushioned comfort. It has a traditional pin-buckle clasp made out of 18k white gold to match the case.

The verdict

A Lange & Söhne Datograph Up:Down Blue verdict wrist 1

The A. Lange. & Söhne Datograph Up/Down doesn’t quite live in the arena of dress watches or sports watches, instead taking on that elusive smart casual title which means it could be worn anywhere within reason. The 18k white gold case can pick up scratches very easily, and given its limited nature, a collector would most likely avoid wearing it anywhere that it could be damaged. However, as a companion throughout a business day, tucked under a cuff, or as part of a rotation, it would be a phenomenal option.

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down in blue pricing and availability

The new A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down is a limited edition of 125 numbered pieces. Price: on request

Brand A. Lange & Söhne
Model Datograph Up/Down
Reference Number 95.3100.3600.39.M3100
Case Dimensions 41mm (D) x 13.1mm (T)
Case Material 18k white gold
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Solid silver dial in blue
Strap Hand-stitched blue alligator leather, case-matching buckle
Movement L951.6, in-house, manual winding
Power Reserve 60 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds, flyback chronograph with instantly-jumping minutes, big date, power reserve
Availability Limited to 125 numbered pieces
Price On request