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SIHH 2015: A. Lange & Sohne - Zeitwerk Minute Repeater

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Presented with sensation at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2015, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is the first A. Lange & Söhne model with a striking mechanism that sounds the hours, ten-minute intervals, and minutes.

The acoustic sequence precisely reproduces the digitally displayed time whenever the striking mechanism is triggered with a pusher.

The dial time is sounded with a low-pitched tone for each elapsed hour, a double tone for each elapsed ten-minute period, and a high-pitched tone for each elapsed minute.

In the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater the time is displayed with an hour ring and two minute discs instead of with hands. Three snails connected with these mechanical display elements separately sample the number of hours, ten-minute intervals, and minutes to be acoustically indicated.

To activate the striking mechanism, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater features a sophisticated  pusher system in place of the conventional slide.

To avoid mechanical conflicts that would occur if the owner were to set the time during a chiming sequence, the designers incorporated a safety feature which prevents the crown to be pulled while the striking mechanism is active.

When activated, the winding train is uncoupled from the ratchet wheel that powers it. This way, the winding wheel train including the crown cannot turn while the gongs are being struck, which would waste a considerable amount of energy.

It is also interesting to note that the switching of the numeral discs is delayed until the chiming sequence has ended. This takes about 20 seconds for the maximum succession of tones at 12:59. This is important in order to ensure that the acoustic time indication always corresponds to the time displayed on the dial.

The patented constant-force escapement delivers a uniform amount of energy to the numerals display during the entire power-reserve period. Because the mainspring also powers the striking mechanism via the ratchet wheel, the number of minute repeater activations and their duration will influence the availability of the underlying power reserve. For this reason, the striking mechanism can no longer be activated if the remaining power reserve is less than twelve hours. On the power-reserve indicator, this point is identified with a red mark.

Composed of 771 parts, the L043.5 manufacture calibre is meticulously hand-finished at the highest standards. Beneath the hand-engraved balance cock, the balance wheel with eccentric poising weights and a free-sprung balance spring beats at a slow frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour.

The 44.2 mm case, available exclusively in platinum, frames the solid-silver dial with its iconic time bridge made of black-rhodiumed German silver.

The black-polished steel gong hammers are visibly arranged on both sides of the subsidiary seconds dial. The hours are struck on the left, the single minutes on the right. For the double-tone ten-minute counts, both hammers strike both gongs slightly offset in time.

The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater (ref. 147.025F) has a price of Euro 440,000.

Do not miss the video at the end of the article where Anthony de Haas, Head of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, explains the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater and the benefit of decimal minute repetition for a watch like the Zeitwerk.

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