A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Ref. 403.031F 'Dufourgraph'
An example from its final year of production, this 403.031F is an exemplary 'Dufourgraph' with a noteworthy addition to its model number. The 'F' at the end denotes that this piece was delivered with a folding buckle, a request which had to be placed directly with Lange as it wasn't listed in the catalogue. Crafted from 18ct pink gold, the three-step construction of this Datograph's 39mm case creates a commanding presence that's entirely appropriate for the level of watchmaking on offer. The case's design exudes confidence and boldness by incorporating satin finishing to the case band and polishing to both the rounded bezel and the boldly notched lug design. Observing the Teutonic timekeeper from the profile reveals a caseback primarily executed to accommodate the magnitude of the movement—however, it also benefits wearability as the dropped design as it journeys to the lugs.
The dial of a Datograph is always something to celebrate, not only for its presentation of functionality but also for its apparent intelligence and obsession with clarity. By lowering the bi-compact sub-register placement slightly below three and nine, it welcomes a sense of breathing space for the commanding and unusual use and placement of the big-date window at twelve. This luxury is one not often available with complex chronographs of this calibre, with the presence of alternating raised Roman and baton numerals and lumed Alpha hands (all produced in gold to match the case) contributing greatly to the visual charm of the Datograph. Offset by a deep black dial made from silver with contrast favouring sub-registers in white, this 403.031F screams sophistication. The aforementioned big-date complication (inspired by the Semper Opera House in Dresden, Germany) is framed in a matching golden hue and stands as a hallmark of A. Lange & Söhne.
It's worth highlighting that the tachymeter scale at two o'clock reads 'METER', which indicates that this dial is an earlier production, as later dials were changed to 'METERS'. It's a minute detail that is difficult to pick up on for most, but when the conversation turns to precisely manufactured watches like a Datograph, the devil is always in the details.
Although we previously stated that the Lange 1 was a pioneer, the reality is the Datograph was precisely that also, with the in-house chronograph movement not necessarily bringing anything groundbreaking to the table in terms of technology but rather with its commitment to visual complexity. The calibre L951.1 powers this Datograph. A flyback, column wheel chronograph movement with 36 hours of running time, beating at 2.5Hz, comprising of no less than 406 parts. First seen in 1999, there is a reason this captivating movement is referred to as the most beautiful movement ever created - by Dufour and an extensive list of connoisseurs.
A blend of German silver bridges with striping, vast amounts of polishing, elaborate sharp interior angles, and soft bevelling, rarely do movements outshine the watch itself on legendary status quite like this. With its signature highly engraved balance cock, fine finishing is ubiquitous.
How It Wears
Watches by A. Lange & Söhne that make the most of the sizeable notched lug design have a significant wrist presence regardless of its sub-40 mm size. On the wrist, it's a watch that outright makes a statement with its uncompromising nature jumping out of every facet. At a hair under 13mm in height, the Datograph is comfortable on a range of wrist sizes. The rich blend of 18-carat pink gold paired with the black dial and contrasting sub-registers creates a quintessential luxurious appearance.
This A. Lange & Söhne Datograph 403.031F is presented as a full set with its original box, papers, original strap, original spring bars, folding pink gold buckle, and delivery note, all intact and included in the sale. Dating from 2005, this Datograph is in very good condition.
Rarely do watch manufacturers enter the scene and leave an impression in such a short period of time as A. Lange & Söhne did in the 1990s. Of course, the Lange 1 was pioneering, and the Saxonia celebrates unassuming elegance, but the Datograph moved the needle for an entire section of the industry in ways it likely couldn't have predicted. Introduced five years after the brand was re-formed, the Datograph was A. Lange & Söhne's defining statement piece. With legacy haute watch manufacturers harnessing modified ébauche movements, A. Lange & Söhne dropped a bombshell at the 1999 Baselworld: A fresh new chronograph movement developed entirely in-house. With exquisite movement architecture painstakingly finished, a dial layout commanded by a double date at twelve, this four-year-long development had all parts of the industry talking. It was a movement and timepiece that put the German watchmaker up with the perennial greats. The timepiece stayed in production from 1999 until 2012, with production numbers estimated to be around 3,000. The Datograph received praise across the board, yet one of the most prolific and well-documented advocates of the Datograph was Philippe Dufour, arguably the most significant watchmaker alive and a master of finishing. In 2007, Dufour referred to the watch as "the best chronograph movement ever made", with his personal Datograph, the 403.031, being colloquially referred to as the 'Dufourgraph'.
Only produced between 2003-2005, the 403.031 is a pink gold example fitted with a black dial. Already a rare and desirable model in its own right, the Dufour seal of approval has made the 403.031 somewhat of a cult favourite. The Datograph was a seminal moment for Lange. A moment where they re-joined the watch scene with palpable influence and sparked a change in watch manufacturers' views on production and aligned focus towards in-house integrated craft.
If you desire to take a closer look at this precious timepiece, don't hesitate to contact us and make an appointment. We are based in Ghent, Belgium
No stock kept on site
* Every watch is delivered in a Mr WATCHLEY Membrane Protection Box for a safe transportation in addition to its original set *
|Dial||Deep black silver|
|Size (Case)||39,5 mm|
|Material (Case)||Pink gold|
|Bracelet||Mr WATCHLEY Grained Brown|