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Favourites and key creations

A Lange & Sohne Datograph Up/Down.

Zeitwerk Decimal Strike.

Lange 1.

CHRONOGRAPH watches are usually made for car lovers - and it's only natural that car lovers like Wihelm Schmid also love chronographs. "If I have to stick with one watch, it has to be a chronograph," the chief executive of A Lange & Sohne tells you.

Yet the former BMW executive isn't sure why: "I don't know. First of all, it's interactive. You push a button and something happens. It's difficult to explain why you love things. You're attracted by it, you don't really know why. But I would always go for chronographs above perpetual calendars."

His favourite is the A Lange & Sohne Datograph Up/Down, launched in 2011. It's an update of the original A Lange & Sohne Datograph unveiled nearly 20 years ago - the brand's first chronograph which collectors worship.

The Datograph Up/Down has a bigger case (41mm versus the original's 39mm) and a much-improved power reserve (60 hours versus the original's 36 hours). It also has a power reserve indicator.

Mr Schmid likes the Datograph Up/Down better than the first Datograph because it sits more comfortably on his wrist, he says. It's also the first watch which he was "deeply involved" in making.

But the Lange boss concedes that the original Datograph "will always play a major role" in his company. "We launched it in 1999 as a complete surprise and, ever since then, the watch has had a strong demand."

Only the Lange 1, the brand's signature model which features an asymmetrical dial with a two-window big date mechanism, is more important. The watch, also known as "the face of Lange", has not only single-handedly made the revival of A Lange & Sohne a huge success, but it continues to wow watch buyers.

"I will be long forgotten but the Lange 1 will still be the icon of the brand," Mr Schmid says. "It's here to stay. That's why every year we work on a Lange 1 model to keep that family in the centre of our minds."

The Lange Zeitwerk, the mechanical digital timepiece rolled out in 2009 as Lange's "new face", is singled out by Mr Schmid as another key creation under his watch. "It's the opposite of the 1815 model, which looks like a pocket watch, very classical," he notes. "The Zeitwerk is a very contemporary watch."

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