It has been five years since A. Lange & Söhne gave us the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in platinum. The regular Zeitwerk with its digital display is iconoclastic enough, but combining it with a striking mechanism - that sounds the hours, 10-minute intervals, and minutes - was a major horological flex from the German maison. This year Lange presents the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in white gold with a deep blue dial.
What make this a unique as a minute repeater? A regular Minute Repeater counts the hours, quarters, and minutes, while a decimal repeater counts out 10-minute increments in the middle. And as the watch has a digital display, you can see and hear the time simultaneously.
Encased in 44.2-mm white gold, the Zeitwerk has a unique jumping numerals display that is powered by a remontoire integrated between the barrel wheel and the balance (the brand refers to it as a constant force escapement). The acoustic sequence reproduces the digitally displayed time whenever the striking mechanism is triggered with a pusher.
The black-polished steel gong and hammers are visible on both sides of the subsidiary seconds dial. The hours are struck on the left, the single minutes on the right. For the double-tone 10-minute counts, both hammers strike both gongs slightly offset in time. A low-pitched tone is sounded for each elapsed hour, a double tone for each elapsed ten-minute period, and a high-pitched tone for each elapsed minute.
However, it is attention to the minutest details that make this timepiece so special. For example, the switching of the numeral discs that display the time is suspended when the chiming sequence is on. It takes about 20 seconds for the maximum succession of tones at 12:59. Consequently, the acoustic time indication always corresponds to the displayed time.
There is no traditional slider; in its place is a pusher system that draws energy from the main power reserve. And since the Minute Repeater sips from the main power reserve (36 hours), it cannot be activated once only 12 hours are left in the barrel, as notified by the red mark on the power reserve.
The navy blue dial just also lifts the overall look of the watch. The watch is powered by the manufacture Caliber L043.5. It is composed of 771 parts, is completed by hand and features all the high horology decorative techniques one has come to expect from Lange. Of the 93 jewels, three are set in screwed gold chatons. The hand-engraved balance cock and the escape-wheel cock engraved with the same motif. The watch is limited to just 30 pieces and is priced at €449,000 and available only at brand boutiques across the world.