INTERVIEW: A. Lange & Söhne’s Robert Hoffmann, Head of Zeitwerk
We caught up with the head of the Zeitwerk department at A. Lange & Söhne to discuss the unique timepiece.
Tell us more about the new Zeitwerk that was released last year.
In 2022, we’ve introduced the new Calibre L043.6. It’s a completely new movement with a new construction and design. It does lean on the solutions we developed for the Zeitwerk Date. In order to double the power reserve, we have two barrels on top of each other. They house the strongest mainsprings that A. Lange & Söhne produces today. There are other changes as well, such as a lighter balance and a thinner remontoir spring in the constant force escapement.
What are some of the challenges when adding complications to the Zeitwerk?
It’s always a battle against power. With the Striking Time, we had a 36-hour power reserve, and that was enough to house the striking mechanism in the movement. Every minute you lift the hammers a little, and then it strikes at each quarter. So you need to have a mainspring that’s strong enough to handle this.
What would you say are the big advancements in the history of the Zeitwerk collection?
We had to think about how to add an external spring for the minute repeater that could be charged. We wanted a water-resistant model, so a pusher was the option. In that case, you need to draw the energy from the barrel, but that can wear down the power quickly, so we had to incorporate a security function to stop activation. That was a big advancement.
The next big advancement for me was the Zeitwerk Date. This was because there was no precedent that we could base the design concept on. It was a brand-new idea with a completely new execution. But at the same time, that gave us the opportunity to consider how we could do things differently, and from that, the double barrel solution was born.
How have A. Lange & Söhne’s customers responded to the Zeitwerk?
When we first launched the watch in 2009, we didn’t really know how people would react to the Zeitwerk. We weren’t sure if it would be a one-off project that would end in a year due to public response. But it’s been a success, and 13 years later, we’ve launched the ninth Zeitwerk model. But we constantly welcome feedback from our customers, and one function that’s emerged based on that is the fast hour corrector. A lot of customers have experienced having to reset the time and this can be challenging. So we thought about how we could advance the hour, and there’s a complex mechanism behind it.
We do our best to listen to the market and our retail partners in order to continually improve our products. So if you have any thoughts on how we can make the next Zeitwerk or what needs to be incorporated into it, tell us!
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