A. Lange & Söhne snatches another world premiere with the first watch to be able to show rattrapante timings up to 12 hours. This trumps its own record with the Double Split which was launched in 2004, and remains the only rattrapante watch to be able to provide split timings for events lasting up to 29 minutes, 59 seconds – giving rise to the term double split. The new Triple Split owes its name to the feat of being able to time splits lasting up to 11 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
Rattrapante, Doppelchronographs, and the Lange variations
First a quick explanation of the rattrapante. The term is French, meaning “to catch up”. The German the term is Doppelchronograph is perhaps more descriptive, as doppel in German means double, and a rattrapante (both the Double Split and Triple Splits are rattrapantes) is a double chronograph. Two events which began at the same time, can be timed. A useful application of this is in a typical race environment, when two racers can be timed on their own.
The traditional rattrapante has two chronograph seconds hands. Both are started at the same time, but each can be stopped independently of the other. When stopped, these two hands provide two separate timings for each racer (or event). The term split seconds is also used, as the two seconds hands allows the seconds to be split. However, this means that as a traditional rattrapante only has one minute totaliser, the rattrapante can only provide separate timings for the two racers only if they are separated by a maximum of 59 seconds, Splits more than a minute cannot be tracked.
In 2004, Lange introduced the Double Split. This is not Lange’s first attempt at the rattrapante, the first being used in the Tourbograph. But the Double Split is a world premiere as it allows not only the seconds to be split, but also the minutes. This is done with a separate instantaneously jumping minute totaliser counting to 30 minutes. This means that the maximum time difference between the two racers to be up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds. To date, this is the only rattrapante chronograph to be able to provide split times with that large an interval.
For 2018, Lange introduces a third totalizer counting up to 12 hours. Hence Triple Split. This allows the maximum time difference between the two events to be 11 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds.
An example used in the Lange Press release explains this:
On 17 July 2016, German triathlete Jan Frodeno achieved a new world record for the triathlon long distance. In an amazing seven hours, 35 minutes and 39 seconds, he mastered the combination of swimming 3.8 kilometres, cycling 180 kilometres and running 42.2 kilometres. It took 20 minutes and 44 seconds longer for the runner-up, Joe Skipper of Britain, to reach the finish line. Among all mechanical rattrapante chronographs, only one would have been able to precisely record the times of the winner and the second-placed competitor in hours, minutes and seconds: the new Triple Split by A. Lange & Söhne.
Other scenarios are the times of consecutively starting events, such as the outbound and return legs of a long-haul flight, drive or train ride.
A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split Chronograph
The case is in white gold and is 43.2 mm in diameter. The dial is the signature Lange grey, with the sub-counters in white. As usual, the dial is massive sterling silver.
The three rattrapante hands are in blued steel, and in contrast to the polished rhodiumed chronograph hands.
The flyback function involves all three pairs of hands. Thus the chronograph can be reset and instantly restarted by pressing the pusher at 4 o’clock. A power reserve indicator in the typical Up/Down display to show the 55 hours of available power reserve is shown on the dial.
The movement is the new caliber L132.1, is manually wound and is built on the layered architecture first conceptualised in the Lange Datograph, and carried over to the Double Split, and now for the Triple Split.
The development of a triple rattrapante mechanism that controls the three hand pairs collectively or separately is challenging. Even a simple rattrapante mechanism has two hands attached to arbors that run one inside the other. And represents a level of complexity up from a classical chronograph. The Double Split is several levels more complicated, and the Triple Split even higher up the complexity scale. In the case of the triple rattrapante mechanism, this split coordination has to be perfect over three separate sets of hands: two seconds hands as well as two hands each for the minute and hour counters. For the watchmaker, the multiple arbor configurations require the ultimate in dexterity and extreme patience in adjusting the endshakes.
The Triple Split movement draws its lessons from the Double Split, but the L132 departs from the L001 in several ways. The power reserve indicator is moved downwards to be under the central pivot to make way for the split hour totalisers.
Interestingly, the Triple Split case is the same dimensions as the Double Split, despite the additional complexity of the additional split mechanism.
Lange Triple Split Ref. 424.038F Technical Specifications
Price €139,000 inclusive of German tax
Lange manufacture calibre L132.1, manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; plates and bridges made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand
Movement parts 567
Screwed gold chatons 5
Escapement Lever escapement
Oscillation system Shock-resistant balance with eccentric poising weights; balance spring manufactured in-house with a frequency of 21,600 semioscillations per hour, precision beat adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
Power reserve 55 hours when fully wound
Functions Time indicated in hours, minutes and subsidiary seconds with stop seconds; flyback chronograph with triple rattrapante for additive and lap time measurements in the range between one-sixth of a second and twelve hours, precisely jumping chronograph and rattrapante minute counter, continuous chronograph and rattrapante hour counter, tachymeter scale, UP/DOWN power-reserve indicator
Operating elements Crown for winding the watch and setting the time, two push pieces for operating the chronograph, one push piece for operating the rattrapante
Diameter: 43.2 millimetres; height: 15.6 millimetres
Diameter: 30.6 millimetres; height: 9.4 millimetres
Glass and caseback Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)
Case White gold
Dial Solid silver, grey
Hands Hour and minute hands (luminous), seconds hand and chronograph minute-counter hand in rhodiumed gold, chronograph and powerreserve hands in rhodiumed steel, all rattrapante hands in blued steel
Appliques Rhodiumed gold
Strap Hand-stitched alligator leather, black
Buckle Deployant buckle in white gold
Limitation 100 watches