For those familiar with my in-depth review of the perfect fake A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down ref. 221.021 you probably already guessed this was the grail I obtained. This watch is now discontinued and differs from its modern counterpart by being cased in a traditional diameter of 36mm.
It is also yellow gold, and the current collection is only offered in rose or white gold. It was the quintessential high horology dress watch I absolutely had to have. While the Rolex Submariner was my dream sports watch, the best quality replica A. Lange & Söhne ref. 221.021 was my grail.
I have always admired the manufacture and their excellent case manufacturing and movement finishing, it is the kind of watch I always dreamed of acquiring. There are certain details, aside from the discontinued 36mm size, that really appealed to me as well. I love the distinct dial configuration of the collection, the solid silver dial has depth due to the sunken central medallion and concentrically guilloched power reserve and running seconds registers.
The alpha hands are exquisitely blued, turning black in certain light and a rich blue like the base of a flame in others. An interesting detail peculiar to the 1:1 fake A. Lange & Söhne ref. 221.021 is its case finishing. The modern rose gold 1815 Up/Down has a fully polished case, but the ref. 221.021 actually has a rich satin brush to its caseband with contrasting mirror polish to lugs and bezel. As I mentioned in my in-depth review, this watch makes me feel not like Zach Blass but Mr. Zachary B. Blass and the ceremonious feeling I get each time I strap it onto my wrist has continued even a year later.
The simple answer is because it was my grail watch. One thing I mentioned in my original Trading Faces story was how the Patek Phillipe Golden Ellipse did not have an exhibition caseback, which meant I could not appreciate the beautiful movement within. This purchase was the result of that lesson, as I secured a watch with a prestigious name and movement that could actually be seen and admired. The A. Lange & Söhne ref. 221.021 replica with rose gold case was also not a compromise reference like the Ellipse, it was the Lange I actually wanted. Sure, I love the higher complications such as the Zeitwerk and Datograph. But this is the Lange I was drawn to the most because it is clean, classic, and the most suited for my wrist.
It even runs deeper. My grandmother was born in Germany, and through her I have a great appreciation for the quality of German manufacturing. My heritage creates a larger emotional connection with the timepiece, and as an item I hope to pass down many decades from now, I feel it best embodies my family roots and my horological passion. In terms of the watch specifications, I loved the idea of owning a high-horology, hand-finished watch that actually met all the criteria I love. The 36mm case is such a classic size well-tailored to my wrist. The movement, with it’s beautifully bevelled 3/4 bridge and hand-engraved balance cock, would mark the first time I had such a well-finished caliber in my collection. The dial is absolutely timeless and its layout distinct to cheap copy A. Lange & Söhne. While I had, and still have, other watches in my collection, I in theory could have kept just the Rolex Submariner ref. 114060 and this ref. 221.021 to have the perfect yin and yang two-watch collection – one robust diver and one high horology dress piece. If I had to sell all but two, these would be the watches that I keep.