Throughout its history, the German watchmaker firm A. Lange & Söhne has been famous for offering pieces of undeniable aesthetic beauty and stunning technical solutions. The brand’s hallmark is the Grande Complication, but continuing the tradition of developing technologies for mechanical watches, the company released the latest version of its successful Zeitwerk model: the Minute Repeater.
First introduced in 2009, the Zeitwerk model dazzled watch aficionados with its refined design featuring hours and minutes display activated by mechanical disks. The Zeitwerk Luminous, in 2010, and later the Zeitwerk Striking Time in 2011 followed this successful formula. In 2015, the German firm presented its most elaborate version, which includes an acoustic repeater system that divides each hour into 10-minute intervals, instead of the customary fifteen. Review our selection of luxury watches.
In traditional acoustic repeater systems, the signals correspond to the hours and quarter hours. For its new model, A. Lange & Söhne decided to make the sound messages more complex, offering a tone for the hours, another for every minute and combined double ringing for 10-minute intervals. For example, at 1:18, the deeper tone will sound once, but then the sequence will change to play a dual low/high tone for the interval of ten minutes, followed by eight high tones for the minutes.
The ability to provide a sound system as sophisticated as this one required a mechanism of enormous complexity–with a total of 771 pieces–which resulted in four new patents. The most interesting feature of this new repeater is that the owner can change it according to his taste, by pressing the button located at the 11 o’clock position.
The body of the Minute Repeater remains the same as in previous Zeitwerk models, with a platinum frame of 44 mm in diameter. On the front, the main difference is that the power indicator is located at 12 o’clock while the polished steel hammers that strike the delicate gongs are at 6 o’clock. To the left, we find the hammer responsible for the bass tone of the hours; to the right is the one that reproduces the higher pitch for the minutes. Their combination provides the acoustic signal of the ten-minute intervals.
Another technological innovation of this A. Lange & Söhne timepiece is its security system locking mechanism, which prevents wear and tear and unnecessary obstacles. In fact, as you activate the repeater you cannot change the time or wind the clock, and to avoid damage, the disks that show the hours and minutes are not activated. Meanwhile, the bells can only be activated if the watch has enough power reserve, which can reach 36 hours of storage using the winding system.
This exquisite jewel was the star of A. Lange & Söhneen in the recent Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. And unlike its predecessor, the Grande Complication, which astonished many with its $2.6 million price, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is more accessible, priced at around $ 475,000. ■