The Zeitwerk first made its appearance as the new design language for A. Lange & Söhne in 2007, and since then has been used as a base movement for the Zeitwerk Phantom and Zeitwerk Striking Time. In this new 2015 debut, the Zeitwerk takes on a complication revered by collectors as one of the most difficult to executed and therefore deserving of the most respect.
This complication is the Minute Repeater. But as is typical for Lange, it is not enough to produce a totally classical interpretation of the minute repeater, but one with a twist to tradition, but yet totally in line with the digital time display on the dial. In this new repeater,
Lange has created a mechanism strikes in digital fashion. In a traditional minute repeater, the striking mechanism strikes the hours, the number of quarters that have passed since the last full hour, and the minutes from the quarter. This is made to simplify the mechanism of the already complex movement required to perform the striking. Abraham Louis Breguet himself had a hand at perfecting the traditional minute repeater mechanish, making it a reliable method to tell the time by listening to the watch strike.
In a decimal repeater, the watch strikes the hours, the number of ten minute intervals since the last full hour, and the minutes.
The concept of the decimal repeater is not new. Kari Voutilainen was the first to incorporate this in his line of several piece unique Decimal Repeaters. Most of these watches were made from ebauches of modified pocket watch repeater movements. Seiko Credor also has a Spring Drive Decimal Repeater in their collection. In SIHH 2014, Jaeger LeCoultre released the Hybris Mechanica 11, which also featured a decimal repeater. You can read more about it in the link.
As the base is the Zeitwerk, the movement, caliber L043.5 features the remontoir d’égalité, and is extremely well finished. The movement is reminiscent of the original L043.1, but with a longer remontoir bridge, and a more elaborate finish for the mainspring barrels.
Movement finishing is typical Lange standard, with all the decorative finishing done par excellence. In our view, the L043.5 has a much better aesthetic layout and final finishing than the base L043.1.
If we have one very small nit pick, it would be in the aesthetic design and stylistic elements rather than in the execution of the finnisage. In particular, we would have preferred that the internal angles on the bridge openings be finished as sharp points and angles instead of being rounded. We note, however that the anglage is done to perfection, leaving one breathless as one gazes into the movement…the anglage gleaming as it catches the light. This is one magnificent movement!
The movement features the in-house balance, as is common in all new calibers from 2004, the first being the Double Split.
ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER Ref. 147.025F Specifications
Retail price in Germany, incl VAT: €440,000
Lange manufacture calibre L043.5, manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand; constant-force escapement
Movement parts: 771
Screwed gold chatons: 3
Escapement: Lever escapement
Oscillator: Shock-resistant balance wheel with eccentric poising weights; balance spring manufactured in-house, frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour; precision beat adjustment system with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
Power reserve: 36 hours when fully wound if the striking mechanism is not activated
Time display in hours and minutes with precisely jumping numeral discs, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, power-reserve indicator, decimal minute repeater
Operating elements: Crown for winding the watch and setting the time; pusher for activating the striking mechanism
Case dimensions: Diameter: 44.2 millimetres; height: 14.1 millimetres
Movement dimensions: Diameter: 37.7 millimetres; height: 10.9 millimetres
Crystal and back: Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)
Dial: Solid silver, rhodié
Time bridge: Black rhodiumed German silver
Hands: Rhodiumed gold
Strap: Hand-stitched alligator leather strap, black
Buckle: Lange deployant buckle in platinum