It’s funny to think that the mighty Zeitwerk from A. Lange & Söhne has been in our lives now for over a decade. The design is still so fresh, and so *Lange* that it can take a moment to realise that the Zeitwerk is no longer a single, solitary model, but rather a rich vein of watches, with hidden treasures and tributaries.
One of the more outstanding offerings was the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, initially announced in 2015 — a model replicated the Zeitwerk’s characteristic digital time display aurally. Rather than the more traditional hours, quarters and minutes, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater went full decimal, chiming hours, 10-minute increments and single minute increments. The Glashütte manufacture could easily have opted for a more conventional approach, but that’s just not how they do things, and the final masterpiece was all the better for it.
Still, that initial 2015 release was only ever available in platinum, until now. The brand has just announced a 30-piece limited edition in white gold. The case is still the same solid 44.2mm across, but now the dial is in the deepest blue, providing some real contrast with the rhodium-treated German silver time bridge. Inside beats the same, meticulously double-assembled L043.5 movement, with 771 parts and requiring actual months of assembly.
In case you forgot some of the other features that make this watch so exceptional, here are a few things to consider. The minute repeater is activated with a pusher rather than a slide, which in addition to feeling more satisfying (like the firm thunk of a BMW door closing), allows for better acoustics and a (slightly) greater degree of water-resistance. And then there are the safety features — you cannot activate the minute repeater when there are less than 12 hours of power in the tank (you’ll see a red dot at that point). When the repeater has been activated, you cannot pull out the crown, and the hours and minutes discs will not advance, to ensure that chimed and displayed times are in sync, as well as preventing any mechanical conflicts. And we haven’t even gotten to the constant force escapement.
Perhaps the reason why the Zeitwerk seems so perennially fresh is its infinite capacity to surprise and delight. From the striking aesthetics, through to the literal striking and the almost-impossibly overthought engineering. It might be 10 years old, but it’s still a tour de force.
Lange manufacture calibre L043.5, manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three- quarter plate made of untreated German silver; balance and escape-wheel cocks engraved by hand; constant-force escapement. 771 parts, movement diameter 37.7mm, 10.9mm high. Hours and minutes with jumping numerals display, striking mechanism with decimal minute repeater, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, power reserve indicator.
Solid silver, deep blue with rhodiumed German silver time bridge.
White gold, 44.2mm diameter, 14.1mm height.