A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk

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Lange Zeitwerk (white gold)
© A. Lange & Söhne
Calibre Lange L043.1, dial side
© A. Lange & Söhne

Zeitwerk is a family of jumping hour and minute watches from A. Lange & Söhne since 2009.

Overview

One of the signature complications introduced by the reborn A. Lange & Söhne was their big date display. Capitalizing on this renown, the company created a new timepiece for SIHH in 2009, which became a signature high-end piece. The Zeitwerk features a mechanical digital time display, with jumping hours and jumping minutes in addition to small seconds and the classic "ab/auf" power reserve indicator. The cross-shaped dial display with these elements has become a signature for the Zeitwek and A. Lange & Söhne as a company.

The design of the Zeirwerk is similar to the Harry Winston Opus 3 and Porsche Design Indicator, which were plagued by reliability issues. But A. Lange & Söhne has overcome these to produce a functional mechanical digital watch. Even so, the tremendous torque required to advance the hour and minute discs every minute required a reengineered barrel and innovative constant force mechanism.

A signature element of the Zeitwerk is the crown, which is positioned at 2:00 on the dial. The two time windows are joined by a German silver bridge with an unusual feature: A transparent jewel near the minute window holds the arbor for the two wheels that are used to show the time. Opposite this, an exposed screw balances the look and holds the bridge to the plate.

The original Zeitwerk was officially called the "Lange Zeitwerk" but that name was not embraced by consumers or the press. The superfluous "Lange" was dropped from the name later in the series.

History

The first Zeitwerk model was introduced at SIHH 2009 with the name, Lange Zeitwerk. The original Ref. 140 came in a 41.9 mm diameter case 12.6 mm thick. The cost was $54,500 in white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold, or $75,900 in platinum. The price has risen dramatically since that time, and stands at €71.500 as of 2019. In 2010, Lange introduced the Zeitwerk Luminous "Phantom" limited edition, which features a sapphire dial that allows UV light to pass and charge the luminous coating on the numerals.

The Zeitwerk Striking Time, Ref. 145 was introduced in 2011 at SIHH, the company's first striking model. It used the power of the moving hour and minute discs to strike gongs each minute. The full Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, Ref. 147 appeared in 2015, with hammers that face inward. The Zeitwerk Decimal Strike, Ref. 143 followed in 2017.

At SIHH in 2019, A. Lange & Söhne introduced the Zeitwerk Date, Ref. 148, which adds an outer date wheel around the familiar Zeitwerk dial inside a 44.2 mm case. The new Cal. L043.8 now boasts a 72 hour power reserve. Retail price at launch for the white gold model was €89.000.

References