The minute repeater remains one of the most challenging and revered complications that precision watchmaking has to offer. A. Lange & Söhne minute repeater watches can be traced back to the era of pocket watches in the late 19th century. In 2013, the Grand Complication ushered an exciting comeback for the chiming complication along with a multitude of other fascinating functions such as the split-seconds chronograph and the perpetual calendar. Two years later, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater with its digital display saw the complication adapted to the decimal sound format. This year, A. Lange & Söhne introduces the boutique exclusive, 50-piece limited edition Richard Lange Minute Repeater, putting the focus back on the chiming mechanism as a singular complication, in the most classical form possible.
Press Release info with commentary in italics. With exclusive photographs.
New: A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater
It’s been over 7 years since we’ve seen a new minute repeater model arise from Lange’s Glashütte manufactory. The only models to have come post-1994 were huge (literally) blockbuster pieces in the form of the Grand Complication and the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. Betting on the next Lange minute repeater wristwatch to be another headline smasher would, however, be misguided. For the longest time, the Saxon brand’s catalogue has been missing a classic, purist, single-complication minute repeater wristwatch. This gaping hole has finally been filled in 2022 with the new, drop-dead gorgeous Richard Lange Minute Repeater.
The Richard Lange Minute Repeater is the most understated minute repeater wristwatch in the brand’s stable. Make no mistake: understated here does not mean underwhelming. Far from it, the Richard Lange Minute Repeater is exactly what Lange and its fans want, and more. It is as elegant as it gets. At sub-40 mm diameter and sub-10 mm thickness, this is currently Lange’s smallest minute repeater watch and one of the brand’s smaller watches overall. Sure, there are time-only models with smaller cases, but this here is a minute repeater – a totally different beast.
The dial is an absolute class act as well. It is nearly a carbon copy of the coveted Richard Lange “Pour le Mérite”. What looks like a plain dial from afar is in fact ultra-decadent up close. The luscious quality of the surface says it all: this has to be grand feu enamel. Other elements that we love include the inky-looking black Roman numeral markers (that’s actually burned enamel and not ink), the flame-blued hands, and the tiny red accent at 12 o’clock. This, here, is design perfection, or at least close to it.
While we have yet listened to the Richard Lange Minute Repeater live in action, we were provided with a sound clip of the chiming below:
Our preliminary impression is that the minute repeater boasts top-notch clarity and generally solid musicality. Concerning the latter, each strike sounded warm and did not suffer from the bright, tinny sound that plagues lesser repeaters. That said, while we felt that the attack of each tone was perfect, the decay of the minutes was sub-optimal. The tempo of the chimes remained even all throughout and was neither too fast nor too slow. Aspects like volume, however, are more difficult to judge just by listening to a sound file. As such, final judgment is best passed only upon hearing the real deal in person.
All in all, the Richard Lange Minute Repeater can be seen as a key piece to the jigsaw puzzle that is Lange’s contemporary collection. A market gap in the shape of a traditional Lange minute repeater dress watch has now been filled. It might not come with half a dozen other high complications like the Grand Complication – it isn’t even a decimal minute repeater like the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is – but that does not make the watch any less exciting. If anything, enthusiasts will be thrilled by the arrival of the dressiest minute repeater yet by modern-day A. Lange & Söhne.
Press Release information
The new Richard Lange Minute Repeater, crafted in platinum, has a diameter of only 39 mm and a height of 9.7 mm. It features the satin-finished flanks and prominently domed lugs that are typical of Lange cases. The white enamel dial has a solid gold core and is crafted in-house. The outer ring and center medallion, as well as the sub-dial, are hand-crafted individually before all three parts are joined together. The white dial serves as the perfect backdrop for the thermally blued steel hands. Appearing ink-like, the printed inscriptions on the dial – including the signature Roman numerals for the Richard Lange collection – are actually burned into the surface. The watch comes with a black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap with a matching platinum deployant buckle. The Richard Lange Minute Repeater is limited to 50 pieces only and is boutique exclusive.
On the business end of the watch is the new Calibre L122.1. The entire scope of artisanal finissage can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back. This includes classic Lange touches such as the hand-engraved balance cock, jewels set in gold chatons, three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, heat-blued screws and Glashütte ribbing. The gong hammers are elaborately finished with black polish along with the manually bent gongs. All bridges of the chiming mechanism are visually paired with solarisation. Among them, the bridge above the centrifugal governor is skeletonised. Generous openings reveal the most dynamic component of the movement: balanced with two mirror-polished gold weights, the centrifugal governor rotates at speeds of more than 2,000 revolutions per minute when the striking mechanism is running, ensuring uniform cadence.
Officially the 69th Lange manufacture calibre, the Calibre L122.1 features a screw balance and a freely oscillating Breguet hairspring with an overcoiled external Breguet terminal curve. The escapement operates at a frequency of 3 Hz while the mainspring barrel delivers up to 72 hours of power reserve.
Richard Lange Minute Repeater Specifications
Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L122.1, manually wound, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand; 415 parts, 40 jewels, 4 gold chatons; 72 hours power reserve
Escapement: Lever escapement
Oscillation system: Shock-resistant screw balance; balance spring manufactured in-house with patented spring clamp, frequency 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, precision beat adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
Functions: Time in hours and minutes, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, chiming mechanism with minute repeater
Case dimensions: Diameter: 39.0 millimetres; height: 9.7 millimetres
Movement dimensions: Diameter: 30.0 millimetres; height: 5.4 millimetres
Case: 950 platinum
Water resistance: 2 bar
Dial: 18-carat white gold, white-enamelled
Hands: Blued steel
Strap: Hand-stitched leather strap, black
Clasp: Deployant buckle in 950 platinum
Limited edition: 50 watches, engraved edition number, boutique exclusive