Since its inception in Saxony in 1845, A.Lange und Söhne has inhabited a rarefied upper layer of the horological stratosphere. With two opposed windows for the hours and minutes, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is a grail piece for the selected few, and first caught our eye with the 2015 platinum version. This time, the pebble-smooth case is made from the Glashütte-based Manufacture's warm-hued Honeygold ® alloy. A sublime grey 925 silver dial contrasts the soft tone of 18K gold with obsessive rhodium-plated details.
For Anthony de Haas, director of product development, a sense of curiosity was key when it came to the design. ”When we developed the first Zeitwerk in 2009, we questioned everything – except the mechanical paradigm. The result is a mechanical watch with a digital display showing the hours and minutes in large numerals. Six years later, we introduced the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. This interprets a classic complication in a modern way, combining the innovative Zeitwerk movement with an unprecedented striking mechanism.'
The hand-wound 771-part minute repeater audibly tells the time in addition to its display. On demand, it will chime the elapsed hours, 10-minute periods, and minutes through variations in pitch and single/double tones. Anthony says: “With this new version, we are now broadening the focus to include our honey-gold case's unique sonority and acoustic characteristics. This serves as a resonant body, producing a clear, reverberant sound with a warm timbre.”
With this limited series, Lange’s expertise was challenged. Even given the benefit of complete and vertically integrated in-house design and production, de Haas tells us: “We faced a series of challenges evident in the seven patents of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater: the jumping numerals mechanism and the striking mechanism. The movement requires much more energy than a classic display to actuate the jumping numerals. The other challenge was to perfect the sound of the striking mechanism".
Push the actuator, and a dramatic visual theatre of striking hand-polished gongs ensues, making time almost irrelevant. From the back, the intrinsic detail of the hand-assembled architecture of the Calibre L043.5 is evident, with each visible bridge, angle, and screw hand-polished by Lange artisans. Completing the picture of the pebble-smooth 44.5mm Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, the impression is one of understated extravagance.
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