Limited to just 30 timepieces worldwide, A. Lange & Söhne presents the all-new ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER in 18-carat HONEYGOLD® .
A. Lange & Söhne’s ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER is the only mechanical timepiece that is able to combine a jumping numerals display along with a decimal minute repeater. At the push of a singular button, it is able to sound out the hours, ten-minute intervals and a singular minute. For their latest creation, A. Lange & Söhne is now presenting the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER in a limited edition of 30 models, with the timepiece having a grey dial and a A. Lange & Söhne exclusive 18-carat HONEYGOLD® case.
Previous versions of the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER has also been presented in differing precious metals, and all of them have been limited edition timepieces too. The ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER was first launched as a platinum 30 watch limited edition model back in 2015. A second re-iteration of the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER was released in 2020 as as a 30-watch limited edition timepiece, however, this time in a white gold case with a deep-blue dial.
A minute repeater timepiece is certainly one of the most complicated watches in the world of horology. The concept of the minute repeater was to chime out the the hours, quarters (every 15-mins) and minutes on request, while a “quarter repeater” would only chime out the hour and quarter indications. So what exactly was the purpose behind creating such a watch besides just hearing the beautiful chime? Back in the early days of the world of horology, the minute repeater timepieces would help the visually impared tell the time (still useful today!) and also help tell the time in the dark. Although having Lume on a timepiece nowadays can help negate this problem.
With the release of the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER, A. Lange & Söhne has reworked this complication to present a totally new interpretation. The highly sophisticated mechanism behind this model is able to chime the time on demand, and do so now with the addition of ten-minute intervals instead of quarterly intervals as per the classic minute repeater complication. This way it’s able to accurately sound out the time displayed on the mechanical digital time displayed on the dial.
A. Lange & Söhne explains their mechanism and how it works as “as soon as the button at 10 o’clock is activated, a low pitched tone is sounded for each elapsed hour, a double tone (high-pitched/low-pitched) for each elapsed ten-minute period, and a high-pitched tone for each elapsed minute. At the illustrated time of 7:52 hrs (see image above), seven low-pitched tones, five double tones, and two high-pitched tones are struck. One hears what one sees. And sees what one hears.”
The 18-carat HONEYGOLD® material chosen for the 44.2mm case isn’t just for the beautiful aesthetics either. The sounds for the time indications are created by a “gong” hitting the case, therefore case material plays an important role in the type of sound achieved. A. Lange & Söhne have chosen HONEYGOLD® due to the unique sonority and acoustic characteristics resonated by the material. The material, as stated by the brand, produces a “clear, reverberant sound, paired with a rich and warm timbre.”
Anthony de Haas, Director Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, who also happens to be a passionate drummer, discusses the importance of case material on a minute repeater’s sound as “Every minute repeater has its own, one-of-a-kind sound. Apart from the gongs and gong hammers, the case material has the greatest impact on the sound. Similar to a musical instrument, different tone colours and sound impressions are created, depending on the material used. That is also the case with our novelty in honey gold. It sounds different to all other materials ‒ truly distinctive.”
Tino Bobe, Director Manufacture of A. Lange & Söhne explain’s the importance of a gong’s design and finish in delivering a particular sound quality as “The gongs that are meticulously hand-tuned deliver a pure, resonant sound and harmonise with the sound characteristics of the Langeexclusive case alloy. Additionally, all components are carefully tuned by one of our master watchmakers. This requires multiple disassembly, reworking, reassembly and finally, testing procedures. Much of the manufacturing time is thus dedicated to perfecting the sound: to complete such a watch calls for acute hearing and extreme dexterity.”
A lot of safeguards need to be in place to prevent the repeater from being disrupted while its working and to prevent interference with the strikework sequence. While the repeater is working, the switching of the numeral discs on the dial is delayed. The crown also cannot be pulled while the repeater is working. If a new minute begins while the repeater is striking, the minute and/or hour jump is performed immediately when the tone sequence has ended. Thereafter, the next numeral disc
switching cycle takes place with the regular timing when the seconds hand passes the 60-seconds mark.
The dial is kept relatively simple, and as with the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER models, the dial hands have made way for the mechanical numeral discs. The time is displayed with the hour’s shown at 9 o’clock position and the minutes shown at 3 o’clock. A constant seconds counter is also displayed at 6 o’clock. The grey dial colour makes the HONEYGOLD® case stand out nicely.
The movement inside this latest ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER is the brand’s in-house manufacture calibre L043.5 which features a constant force escapement that sits between the barrel and the balance wheel. The timepiece operates at a low-frequency of 18,000 VpH, due to it being manual wound, and is able to put out a power reserve of approximately 36 hours. The open case back of this timepiece gives way to a stunning view, the movement being decorated beautifully with the high standard level of finishing that A. Lange & Söhne is known for.
This latest ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER is as mentioned before limited to 30 models worldwide, and is exclusively available only through select A. Lange & Söhne boutiques.
- Case: 44.2 mm, 14.1mm thick
- Case Material: 18-carat HONEYGOLD®
- Dial: 925 silver, grey
- Crystal: Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)
- Case Back: Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)
- Water resistance: N/A
- Movement: Lange manufacture calibre L043.5, manually wound.
- Power reserve: 36 hours when fully wound if the striking mechanism is not activated
- Bracelet: Hand-stitched leather, dark-brown with deployant buckle in 18-carat HONEYGOLD® and 18-carat white gold.