The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is as much of a horological spectacle as you can get. This near-half-million euro watch is now available in an ultra-limited edition of 30 pieces in blue and, uniquely, in a white gold case. Let’s see what’s what with the new Lange Zeitwerk Minute Repeater.
It’s difficult to imagine a more spectacular expression of what A. Lange & Söhne stands for than the new Lange Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in white gold. With a large 44.2mm case and a movement to die for, it epitomises Lange’s clever approach to watchmaking, Instead of adding numerous complications, this watch simply selects some of the most complex and striking features to create a masterpiece.
Much like the new Lange Odysseus Datomatic in white gold, this new Lange is not actually a new model. Instead, it is a new (and very limited) version of the previous platinum Lange Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. Even so, the creation of such a watch is a real marvel of watchmaking.
A New Face
The most prominent change visible on this new model is a blue dial. In the last few years, blue dials have become popular in high-horology circles and so Lange has broken the usual monochromatic appearance of the remarkable Zeitwerk model in this elaborate configuration. The dial of this Lange Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is blue with a rhodium-plated central piece through which the digital hours and minutes are shown. Catching the eye are the gongs on either side of the small-second counter which are jewelled not with rubies but with diamonds.
Aside from the new dial, the we also see a new case material with white gold taking the place of the platinum case previously seen on this watch. The result is as stunning as you would expect it to be although the 44.2mm diameter and 14.1mm thickness suggest an imposing presence. However, this size is largely dictated by the movement which makes itself known through the power reserve indicator at 12. Incidentally, the small red dot visible at roughly one third of the way across the gauge is the point at which the power reserve is too low, thus disengaging the minute repeater.
The A. Lange & Söhne Digital Display Decimal Minute Repeater
The L043.5 movement inside the Lange Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is a true wonder. Manually wound, it beats at 2.5Hz and gives a comparably short power reserve of 36 hours. Oddly enough, though, this power reserve is depleted even more quickly when the minute repeater is engaged due to the use of a single spring. When engaged, the mainspring is rather violently released and powers the minute repeater governor whilst the remontoir which normally provides the escapement with power is blocked.
An interesting aspect of this movement is the way in which the minute repeater functions. Ordinarily, this complications would sound the hour, the quarters of the hour and then the remaining minutes. This is a standard which we all familiar with from church bells. For the Zeitwerk, however, this has been changed. Instead of the normal setup, this piece sounds the hours, then the tens of minutes and then the remaining minutes.
Incidentally, the one-minute remontoir is an interesting addition which not only looks stunning but also allows an even flow of energy to the escapement. Regardless of the complication, the aspect which will, no doubt, draw many is the appearance. Constructed from untreated German silver (nickel silver), the bridges and cocks have a warm glow whilst their surface will change over time. The quality of anglage is, as always, exemplary and both the balance and escape wheel cocks are hand-engraved.
This is, of course, not a watch for everyone and not least due to the prohibitive price of 449,000 euros. However, this marks a wonderful limited edition for Lange and also shows that this brand still focuses on serious, no-nonsense high horology despite the emphasis on the new Odysseus recently.
Availability: 30 pieces at EUR 449,000
- Dimensions: 44.2mm x 14.1mm
- Material: 18k White Gold
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Display: Digital hours and minutes on either side of the dial / Blue and rhodium dial / Small seconds at 6 o’clock / Power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock / Decimal minute repeater to sound the time
- Water Resistance: 30m / 100ft / 3 ATM
- Movement: in-house L043.5: Digital hours and minutes / Small seconds / Decimal minute repeater / 36-hour power reserve / 2.5Hz, 18,000 vph, 5 ticks-per-second / Manually wound / One-minute remontoir