A time-measuring instrument with an inimitable sound

The ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER is the only mechanical wristwatch that combines a jumping numerals display with a decimal minute repeater. At the push of a button, it sounds the hours, ten-minute intervals and minutes. A. Lange & Söhne now presents this technically exceptional timepiece in a limited 30-watch edition with a grey dial, crafted from Lange-exclusive honey gold (HONEYGOLD®) ‒ according the watch a singular sound.

With the launch of the platinum ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER in 2015, A. Lange & Söhne presented a totally new interpretation of the classic complication. Its technically highly sophisticated mechanism sounds the time on demand. Instead of the conventional quarter-hours, it chimes ten-minute intervals: thus, its unique sound format corresponds exactly to the mechanical-digital time as displayed. 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, seven low-pitched tones, five double tones, and two high-pitched tones are struck. One hears what one sees. And sees what one hears.

Perfecting the sound

The acoustic time indication of the new ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER HONEYGOLD is endowed with an individual, expressive sound. Its unique sonority and acoustic characteristics are attributable to the honey-gold alloy of the case that serves as a resonant body. It produces a clear, reverberant sound, paired with a rich and warm timbre.

Anthony de Haas, Director Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, and a passionate drummer, explains: “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.”

“To attain this particular sound quality, all parameters are perfectly matched to one another,” elaborates Tino Bobe, Director Manufacture. “The gongs that are meticulously hand-tuned deliver a pure, resonant sound and harmonise with the sound characteristics of the Lange-exclusive 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.”

The elaborate polishing of the gongs and blackpolishing of the gong hammers requires the experience and virtuosity of a master watchmaker. These components are subtly integrated in the design of the dial and can be observed in action during the repetition sequence: the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER HONEYGOLD stages an impressive performance ‒ acoustically as well as visually.

Simple and safe

In keeping with their drive to do things differently, the Lange watchmakers explored new avenues when they developed the operating mechanism of this watch. The ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER comes with a unique button mechanism for triggering the repeater. Because the power for the striking mechanism is delivered by the twin mainspring barrel, there is no need for a slide ‒ common in minute repeaters – to tension a separate spring.

To guarantee the flawless interaction of the complex mechanical ensemble, elaborate safety and blocking mechanisms have been integrated into the movement. To assure that the repeater sequence is not prematurely interrupted and the watch inadvertently stops running, the striking mechanism can no longer be activated if the remaining power reserve is less than twelve hours. On the power-reserve indicator, the 12-hour mark is identified with a red dot.

While the repeater is working, the switching action of the numerals discs is delayed. At the same time, the crown cannot be pulled. This precaution prevents any interference with the strikework sampling sequence and ensures that the acoustic indication of time is not impaired. At 12:59 hrs when the longest series of tones is struck, it takes about 20 seconds until the repeater sequence has ended. 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.

Manufacture calibre with constant-force escapement

As with all models of the ZEITWERK watch family, the manufacture calibre L043.5 features a constant-force escapement between the barrel and the balance. It acts as a pacemaker for the instantaneous advance of the numerals discs in one-minute intervals. At the same time, it makes an important contribution to rate stability by assuring that the balance – regardless of the state of wind of the watch – is powered with a consistent amount of force across the entire power-reserve duration. Composed of 771 parts, the movement is elaborately finished by hand with extreme care. The balance cock and the escape-wheel cock are intricately engraved by hand.

Elegant appearance

The ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER HONEYGOLD now joins the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER in platinum with a rhodié-coloured dial, launched in 2015, and the limited 30-watch edition in white gold with a deep-blue dial, presented in 2020. All model versions have a case diameter of 44.2 millimetres. The new model version comes with a dark-brown, hand-stitched leather strap, enhancing its strikingly elegant appearance. The timepiece is limited to 30 watches in 18-carat honey gold and is exclusively available in select A. Lange & Söhne boutiques.


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