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The Patek Philippe 3940 And The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph

I've often thought about what my fake watch collection will be like in twenty years. I'll be in my fifties then, married with children (I hope). My fake watch life could go one of two ways: I could fall deeper into the intense collecting and research that has defined the last half-decade of my life (as a single man with little overhead). Or, I could choose to pare things down and focus on just the replica watches that are important as other things take precedence (houses and kids are expensive). The latter is where today's story comes in. Picking up on Jack's earlier two installments of "The Two replica patek philippe watch Collection," I'll talk about what could some day be my own personal two fake watch collection, why I believe these two replica watches are special on their own, and why I believe they are superlative together. I say this because I own them both, and I really can't imagine my collection without them. I'm talking about Patek Philippe's preeminent perpetual calendar, the reference 3940, and A. Lange & Söhne's 1815 Chronograph.

The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph

The current Lange 1815 Chronograph is available in both rose and white gold.


First, the Lange. Let's get one thing out of the way here ?the Datograph is the important Lange chronograph. But that doesn't mean it's the better Lange chronograph. Some years ago, when I was first exposed to all that is A. Lange & Söhne, the Datograph was the natural first obsession. It's platinum, with a black dial, and it's the chronograph that most enthusiasts declare the GOAT. I trusted these enthusiasts, and decided I would have one. But mid-lust, something strange happened: I tried one on. And, in all its glory, the original Datograph just did not sit right on my wrist. I found it out of balance and too thick for my personal taste ?Lange has since corrected this by making the Datograph Up/Down larger in diameter, balancing out the thickness of the case. So, it was suggested by a friend at Lange that I have a look at the 1815 Chronograph.

Few people outside hardcore fake watch lovers know the 1815 Chronograph. It has a painted dial that is far more traditional than that of the Dato. It is not available in platinum. You can't say this model changed the entire chronograph game, as you can of the Datograph. But what you do have with the 1815 Chronograph is the exact same view from behind (maybe the best in the world?) provided by the very same base chronograph caliber as the one found in the Datograph.

Caliber L951.5 is identical to that of the caliber found in the Datograph when viewed from behind.

With the 1815, you don't have that outsized date for which Lange is widely known, but that's OK. I find the fake watch even more balanced without it. Oh, and did I mention that without the outsized date, the Chronograph is considerably thinner than the Dato? It is ?a full 2mm in fact ?and thus, my decision was made. The 1815 Chronograph is a chronograph and nothing more. It's not a record setter or a game changer, it features no additional complications, and it has no greater meaning in the bigger horological picture. What it is, is the purest expression of a traditional chronograph movement, and one that many, including myself, believe to be simply superlative.

The 1815 Chronograph is 39.5mm in diameter.

And, of course, it's from A. Lange & Söhne. And if you're not sure why that matters, ask any major collector who has been around for the last twenty years. I really believe Lange is the greatest large-scale fake watch manufacturer today. And, as someone who very much grew up in the same decades, I feel a connection to the company. Sure, I love vintage replica watches as you no doubt well know, but I do also appreciate those things that were built and cultivated in my lifetime. On some level, I bought this fake watch because I wanted to support A. Lange & Söhne for simply being excellent, honest, and respectful to its customers when other brands are not. On the other hand, I simply wanted the baddest effing chronograph I could afford. Luckily for me, Lange's chronograph collection does not stop at the Datograph ?without the 1815, I'm not sure I'd own any Langes at all.

The Patek Philippe 3940 Perpetual Calendar

The Patek Philippe 3940J was launched in 1986.

For the second piece in this two fake watch collection, I've chosen another modern classic. Unlike the 1815, the reference 3940 perpetual calendar from Patek Philippe is not currently in production. It was launched in 1986 exclusively in yellow gold and was later made in rose gold, white gold, and platinum. The 3940 was eventually replaced by the 5140 and (earlier this year at Baselworld) the 5327. Still, the 3940 is something of a special fake watch to Patek lovers for a few different reasons. The first is that with its automatic, micro rotor-powered calibre 240-Q and 36mm case, it is a truly refined offering. The second is that, as lore would have it, the 3940 is the fake watch of choice of Philippe Stern, father to current Patek CEO Thierry Stern.

Caliber 240-Q remains one of the world's most versatile grand complication calibers.

The caliber, which dates all the way back to the 1970s, is simple by today's perpetual calendar standards, but is still one of the all-time classics. It's svelte, sitting perfectly inside the 36mm case of the 3940. (One complaint often lodged against the 5140 is that the larger case did not receive an up-sized movement. If this were A. Lange & Söhne, it would've.) The perpetual calendar mechanism is one of horology's true grand complications, and though it may seem common now, there were not many available in the late 80s when Patek added a perpetual mechanism to the 240 base caliber.

The 3940 is 36mm in diameter.

The 3940 became the reference for all modern perpetual calendars and in some ways, for all Patek Philippe replica watches until the introduction of the 5970. To this day, I'm not sure there is a better balanced, more subtle, or more elegant perpetual calendar on the market. Further, the 3940 represents what Patek was during my lifetime. No matter what they do today or in the future, nothing can change how important this company is to watchmaking.

ADVERTISEMENT The Ultimate Two fake watch Collection Of Today

The 1815 and the 3940 represent two of the most difficult complications, mastered.

The 1815 and the 3940 are wonderful replica watches on their own ?I don't know anyone that would deny that. But to me, they are much more when put side-by-side, as potentially the perfect representation of modern horology. One represents the preeminent traditional Swiss watchmaker and its mid-century design ethos of elegance, wearability, and supreme functionality. The caliber was systemically improved upon over time, the very same way Swiss movements had been developed for decades before. The movement is precise and beautifully hand-finished, but in a classically conservative manner.

The other fake watch is completely modern. The movement was originally designed as an integrated whole, and then pared down by the removal of the big date function. It's deliberately three-dimensional, unnecessarily and opulently so, to allow the Saxon master craftsmen to show off all that they are capable of. The 240-Q of the Patek is high and tight, the L951.5 is long and flowing. One might assume the rich, emotional chronograph caliber would've come from the Swiss, and the understated but excellent perpetual calendar caliber from the Germans. One would be wrong.

The 3940's movement is just 3.8mm thick.

The 1815 Chronograph's caliber is 6.1mm thick.

Each of these two replica watches is so remarkable in its own right that it seems almost silly to group them with one another. But, on another level, they were made to sit next to one another. They represent the purest designs from what are clearly the two most important high-end fake watch manufacturers of my lifetime. One is thick, one is thin. One is manually wound, one is automatic. One displays time by the second, the other by the leap year.

The finishing of the 1815 is opulent, the finishing of the 3940 is reserved.

What's more, both replica watches represent fantastic value per dollar. These are both very high-end, completely hand-assembled, hand-finished watches, and they could be even more expensive than they already are without anyone blinking an eye. They are by no means inexpensive, but in the relative world in which high-end collectors examine mega-watches, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find more high-end watchmaking dollar-for-dollar from two blue-chip brands than what you'll see in the 1815 Chronograph and the 3940.

There are a handful of dial variations to the 3940 ?seen here is a rare "first series" dial.

This dial variation is available paired with either a white gold or rose gold case.

The 1815 chronograph retails for $50,300 in either rose and white gold. The Datograph Up/Down in platinum is $90,700. That's a $40,400 difference for platinum over gold and the outsized date. To make things ever clearer, the Datograph Up/Down in rose gold is $72,000 ?so you can buy the fake watch see here for $22,000 less, and you still have the same chronograph mechanism even if you lose the date. Compared to Patek's 5170G? The 1815 is a whopping $30,000 less, and that's a straight gold to gold comparison.

As for the 3940? Well, while 5004s and 5970s have jumped in values, the 3970s and 3940s just haven't. They are more common even if they're earlier. You can find a decent 3940J in the high 30s, a decent 3940G or R in the 40s to low 50s, and a 3940P in the 50s to low 60s. For comparison, for a modern day Patek perpetual with the very same movement, you'll be paying in the 90s for gold and above $100,000 for platinum.

The 3940 and the 1815 are not the most desirable fake watch in either family, but they may be the best.

The 3940 and 1815 are not perfect watches, but they're damn close. In fact, I think each might be the very best at what it does, and neither is even close to the most expensive in the marketplace. The 3940 and 1815 are great on their own, spectacular together, and if you care about experiencing the best watchmaking you can from two of the finest watchmakers on the planet, I can not recommend these two enough. Will either one of them be a highly sought-after collectible with an ever-appreciating value down the road? I'd doubt it, but sometimes just being a great fake watch is all it takes to deserve a spot in your collection ?or even to be your entire collection.

Patek Philippe reference 3941 courtesy of Madison Fine Time / A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne NYC

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