Well before A. Lange & Söhne debuted the entirely classical Richard Lange Minute Repeater a year ago, the brand’s flagship striking watch was a Zeitwerk. Available in white gold or platinum before, the digital chiming watch now returns in a warmer metal as the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold.
While remaining the same mechanically, the new repeater strikes a different tone according to the brand because of the case metal, a gold alloy slightly harder than conventional gold that is exclusive to Lange.
The new Zeitwerk repeater is more appealing than its predecessors in my eyes just because I like the gold-and-grey combination. The platinum model was monochromatic while the blue dial on the white gold model felt too modern for the watch.
The movement remains exactly the same as before, which means it’s the same impressively complicated calibre that has the usual Zeitwerk features like a constant force mechanism, as well as the added complexity of an unusually constructed minute repeater with various safety mechanisms catered to the digital display.
But one aspect of the new repeater is interesting, and that’s the case metal. I’ve yet to hear the watch in person, but Lange’s product development head, Anthony de Haas, is quoted as saying the new repeater “in honey gold… sounds different to all other materials ‒ truly distinctive.” Given the significant increase in hardness of honey gold relative to ordinary 18k gold, that sounds credible.
Lange has utilised its proprietary gold alloy for a variety of limited editions that span almost the entire catalogue. Priced at around €450,000, the new Zeitwerk repeater is one of the most complex (and expensive) honey gold models to date, but perhaps the most logical use of the alloy given that the case metal will shape the acoustic outcome.
Something of a cross between yellow and rose gold, honey gold is substantially harder than conventional 18k yellow gold by about half, depending on the specific alloy. With the same density as ordinary gold but greater hardness, the honey gold case should in theory transmit sound better.
Case metal aside, the new repeater is identical to its predecessors. The case has the same dimensions of 44.2 mm by 14.1 mm, making it a large, almost chunky watch.
Inside is the L043.5, a hand-wind movement derived from the first-generation Zeitwerk calibre (explaining the short, 36-hour power reserve) but with an integrated repeating mechanism. The hammers and gongs are visible on the dial, while the governor sits on the back near to remontoir.
Because the repeater is powered by the mainspring instead of an auxiliary spring as is convention, the movement incorporates various safety mechanisms to ensure consistent timekeeping and robustness.
Amongst them is an automatic disengagement of the repeater mechanism if the power reserve falls below the 12-hour mark, which is indicated by a red dot on the power reserve display. That’s because at that point the mainspring no longer contains sufficient energy to power the repeater and movement.
Key facts and price
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold
Diameter: 44.2 mm
Height: 14.1 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Features: Digital hours and minutes, power reserve indicator, and decimal minute repeater
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 36 hours
Strap: Crocodile with folding buckle
Limited edition: 30 watches
Availability: Only at A. Lange & Söhne boutiques
Price: In the region of €449,000 including taxes
For more, visit Alange-soehne.com.
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