INTRODUCING: A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk
The horological iconoclast heralds its next era with a new movement.
Lauded for being a proponent of traditional fine watchmaking, A. Lange & Söhne has also been known to throw some curveballs our way. For instance, some may recall the furore among purists when the Zeitwerk was first launched in 2009, but its critics were soon silenced as the idiosyncratic timepiece grew in popularity and evolved into one of the Manufacture’s most iconic collections. As we’re approaching the end of 2022, Lange surprises again with the unexpected drop of the second generation of the Zeitwerk fitted with a new in-house calibre.
A digital watch with a mechanical heart, the Zeitwerk was inspired by the famous five-minute clock at the Semper Opera House in Dresden, Germany, created by court clockmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. The clock was completed in 1841 with his co-worker, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, who was the founder of A. Lange & Söhne. Transposing this 19th-century legacy to the confines of a wristwatch required Lange’s designers to come up with innovative solutions to enable the precise and synchronised switching of the triple-disc time display and a uniform amount of force powering the movement.
“To switch the discs of the jumping numerals mechanism to forward on time every minute, the movement requires much more energy than a classic time display,” explains Anthony de Haas, Lange’s Director of Product Development. “Not only are the numerals discs very heavy by watchmaking standards, but they also have to be quickly accelerated and braked again. This calls for considerably higher forces than the uniform rotation of a pair of hands of much less weight. The greatest amount of energy is needed at the top of the hour when the movement advances all three discs at the same time.”
The latest generation of the Zeitwerk one-ups its predecessors thanks to the new manual-winding Calibre L043.6 that bumps up its power reserve from 36 to 72 hours with a patented barrel design. It also incorporates a pusher for correcting the hour indication independently, which debuted in the Zeitwerk Date in 2019. A welcomed addition, the pusher, located at four o’clock, is especially handy when crossing time zones, simplifying the setting of the hour without altering the minute indication.
Eagle-eyed Lange devotees may notice that the time bridge connecting the various indications on the dial has been tweaked ever so slightly, giving more prominence to the small seconds sub-dial at six o’clock and enhancing the watch’s uncommon aesthetic. Elsewhere, red accents have been added to the last 12 hours of the power reserve indicator, informing its wearer that the tension of the mainsprings is gradually waning.
Available in 41.9mm pink gold or platinum, the new Zeitwerk comes with a black alligator strap and a black dial with untreated German silver time bridge for the former. On the other hand, the platinum version is paired with a dark brown alligator leather strap and a rhodié dial made of solid silver with a black rhodiumed time bridge.
Discover the new Zeitwerk and more of A. Lange & Söhne's horological artistry at The Mechanical Masters showcase from Oct 27 to 30, 10am to 9pm, ION Orchard atrium. Admission is free with pre-booking here.
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