In 2015, the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater became the first mechanical wristwatch to combine a jumping numerals display and a decimal minute repeater. This year, the German watch-maker revisits its exceptional creation with a stunning white gold edition with a deep blue dial, limited to just 30 pieces.
Offering an unparalleled blend of intuitive legibility and mechanical ingenuity, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is without doubt one of the most technically-impressive and significant timepieces of the 21st-century. Available for order exclusively at the A. Lange & Söhne Sydney Boutique, we are pleased to present this rare opportunity to add a true masterpiece to your collection.
Unveiled in 2009, the Zeitwerk family has become A. Lange & Söhne’s most distinctive, and recognisable collection, extolled for its precisely jumping digital hour and minutes displays. Demonstrating the brand’s unique approach to watchmaking, its intelligent design and construction overcomes a number of the historical technical challenges inherent in creating a functional and reliable digital mechanical watch. Incorporating a jumping numerals mechanism consisting of three discs – a world first – this ground-breaking concept has received multiple awards.
The signature digital display is composed of one aperture on the left for the hours with a single disc running from 1-12 and a second aperture on the right for the minutes indicated on two discs, one for the 10-minutes and the other for single minutes from 00-59. Over the years, the collection has been carefully cultivated, and now includes; the Zeitwerk, the Zeitwerk Date, the Zeitwerk Striking Time and, of course, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater.
There are several elements which separate the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater from other repeating timepieces. First and foremost, it features a decimal repeater, an exceedingly rare complication mastered by precious few watchmakers. Traditional minute repeaters sound the time by chiming the hours, quarter hours and minutes. A very complex process in and of itself. A decimal repeater, however, takes this complexity even further. Instead of chiming quarter hours, it chimes elapsed 10-minute intervals prior to chiming the minutes. In practice, this means it is capable of sounding the exact time shown on the Zeitwerk’s digital display.
For example, if the time is 09:45, the hammer on the left (visible on the lower part of the dial) strikes the low-pitched gong nine times. This is followed by four double tones representing the elapsed ten-minute intervals followed by the right-hand hammer with five high strikes. This process takes some time, however, and so to ensure the acoustic time indication corresponds exactly with what is shown on the jumping numerals, A. Lange & Söhne developed and patented the delayed numerals switching mechanism.
This special mechanism prevents the numerals discs from advancing while the striking mechanism is active. This also serves an important safety function. That’s because a switching operation (i.e. jumping the numerals forward) while the repeater is active could result in mechanical conflicts and damage the movement. Immediately following the final chime, the display discs instantly correct themselves to the current time.
As mentioned above, the two striking hammers – which are made of black-polished steel – are positioned on both sides of the subsidiary seconds dial. This makes it possible to observe how the sound is produced. The complex gong tuning process is performed exclusively by hand. It requires a trained ear to make sure both gongs produce a clear and reverberating sound in their final positions in the case.
Another, less obvious feature, that distinguishes the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater from its peers is the fact that the striking mechanism is activated via a pusher on the side of the case at 10 oʼclock. In contrast, most minute repeaters utilise a slide activation. There are several reasons for this distinction. First and foremost, power is delivered to the striking mechanism directly from the mainspring barrel, negating the requirement for a slide to tension a separate spring. It also removes the need for a large opening in the case which could cause acoustic disruption. Lastly, unlike a slide, a pusher can be sealed, which is why the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is rated water-resistant to 30m. Not that we recommend taking it swimming.
On the reverse side of the watch, a sapphire glass case back offers a breath-taking view of the exquisitely complex mechanical movement inside. The manual-winding, in-house calibre L043.5 is comprised of no less than 771 parts, painstakingly assembled and finished by hand. The three-quarter plate, a hallmark of German watch-making and a distinctive feature of every A. Lange & Söhne timepiece, is made of untreated German silver and features classic Glashütte ribbing. The balance cock and escape wheel cock are hand-engraved with a floral motif and three of the 93 jewels are set in screwed gold chatons. Oscillating at a frequency of 18,000vph, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater offers a power reserve of 36 hours when fully wound and the striking mechanism is not activated.
The inaugural edition of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater paired a platinum case with a solid silver dial. Now, A. Lange & Söhne has selected another of its favoured precious metals, 18k white gold. The round case measures 44.2mm in diameter and has a comfortable height of 14.2mm, impressive given the complexity of the movement inside. The case features polished and brushed surfaces, exhibiting the brand’s trademark attention to detail. At 2 o’clock is the crown for winding the movement and setting the time. Opposite, at 10 o’clock, is the pusher for activating the decimal repeater.
In keeping with Lange design codes, the 18k white gold case houses a deep-blue dial, remarkable for its richness of colour. A rhodium-plated German silver time bridge houses the apertures for the digital time display, as well as the small seconds. Large numerals appear in black against a white background to maximise contrast and legibility. The polished gongs and the black-polished hammers can be seen on either side of the German silver bridge on the dial.
The top half of the dial is reserved for a recessed semi-circular power reserve indicator. A small red dot along its track instantly jumps out. This is the 12-hour mark and when the remaining power dips below this level, the striking mechanism is automatically blocked. Yet another example of the many safety features built into the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater to prevent damage to the movement.
The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is presented on a hand-stitched leather strap in a deep-blue colour matching the dial. It is closed via a deployant clasp in white gold. Truly a masterpiece that will be instantly recognised and appreciated by seasoned and well-informed collectors.
Available exclusively from the A. Lange & Söhne Sydney Boutique, please contact us today to enquire about arranging an appointment to discuss this spectacular timepiece. We feel obliged to note that as a limited-edition, global allocation is highly restricted. If you would like to acquire it for your personal collection, please do not delay in contacting us.