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Review: A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Introduced in 2009, the Zeitwerk was A. Lange & Söhne’s first mechanical wristwatch with constant-force escapement and precisely jumping digital displays indicating the hour and minute.

With its truly unique face, the watch has quickly become one of the most iconic and recognisable timepieces of the Saxon watchmaker. 

Over the years, Lange launched several variations of the first model adding complications like minute repetition and striking time. In 2019, Lange further expanded the line with the Zeitwerk Date ref. 148.038 equipped with a newly designed movement incorporating an additional function: a ring-shaped date display circling the dial.

Review A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Review A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Our hands-on experience with the Zeitwerk Date was just amazing and we are now delighted to share impressions, pictures and video.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

The watch comes in a 44.2 mm white-gold case with a thickness of 12.3 mm with a pleasing alternation of satin-brushed and brilliantly polished surfaces. The large crown is positioned at 2 o’clock while, at 4 and 8 o’clock, we find two rectangular push-buttons whose functions we will describe later. 

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Despite its imposing size, the watch sits comfortably on average wrists (the wrist in our pictures is 17.7 cm / 7 in) thanks to the sculpted curved lugs typical of the brand. With its strong presence, this watch is an eye-catcher.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Framed by a polished bezel, the elegant light-grey dial is crafted from solid silver while the central bridge - which Lange calls the "time bridge" - is in fact a part of the movement and made of rhodiumed German silver. On the right, just near the minutes indication, it is easy to recognise the sapphire bearing for the arbor of the tens and units discs. 

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

As Anthony de Haas, Lange's Director of Product Development, explained to us in a recent interview (you can read it here), "by integrating the time bridge into the dial we were able to kill two birds with one stone: we reduced the overall height of the watch and, at the same time, we created a dynamic design detail that frames all time indications, the digital hours and minutes as well as the analog small seconds."

Thanks to a patented constant-force mechanism, the Zeitwerk delivers the one-per-minute impulse for switching the three-disc jumping numerals display (hours, tens-minute and units-minute) in a fraction of a second. You can appreciate this ultra fast switch in our video at the end of the article.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

The additional button at 4 o'clock independently advances the hour indication. This solution was needed because the time setting must be accurate to 24 hours and it would have taken too long to adjust the time via the crown – minute by minute. To enable the correction independently of the switching cycles of the movement, a clutch uncouples the hour ring from the jumping numerals mechanism each time the button is pressed.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

The snailed small seconds at 6 o’clock is visually balanced at 12 o’clock by the power-reserve display showing the remaining energy on a 210° sector divided into twelve 6-hour slices that enhance the readability of the 3-day power reserve from AUF (fully wound) to AB (fully unwound). Both the small seconds hand and the power reserve one are made of rhodiumed gold.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Well integrated into the watch design, the peripheral date ring consists of glass with printed numerals from 1 to 31. The current date is always clearly legible at all times because it is displayed in red. To achieve this effect, a small red segment beneath the date ring performs one step exactly at midnight. The date can be adjusted with the corrector at 8 o'clock on the caseband: the switching impulse is generated when it is released.

The manufactory calibre L043.8  is a beauty and can be admired through the sapphire crystal case back. Comprised of 516 individual components, this hand-wound movement features a balance wheel with eccentric poising weights and a free-sprung balance spring that beats at a frequency of 2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations per hour) with an autonomy - as written above - of 72 hours. The patented constant-force escapement powers the balance with a uniform amount of force for the entire running duration while delivering the one-per-minute impulse for switching the jumping numerals display.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Finishes are at the highest Fine Watchmaking standards. The typical three-quarter plate in German silver is decorated with perfectly parallel and regular stripes (ribbing) while perlage - a decoration pattern consisting of small circles (pearls) - is applied to the inside surfaces of plates and bridges. 

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

The mainspring barrel and other wheels are decorated using a technique called solarisation that is produced by rotating the part and the grinding wheel in opposite directions. The fascinating play of light on these surfaces and mirror-polished ones can be appreciated in our video.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Other exceptional details include the engraved ratchet wheel,  the filigreed remontoir bridge, and the balance cock engraved by hand with the Lange-style floral pattern. Gold chatons and blued screws add the final, unmistakeable touch.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

The Zeitwerk Date is matched to a hand-stitched dark brown alligator leather strap secured by a white-gold prong buckle.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Exceptional for watchmaking technique and aesthetics, the Zeitwerk Date ref. 148.038 by A. Lange & Söhne is a dream wristwatch of great appeal for mechanical watch connoisseurs. In line with its exclusivity, it retails at the price of Euro 98,200 (including German VAT 19%). alange-soehne.com

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date


COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 2
  1. Great pictures and detailed review!!! I was going to ask about the wrist size, but then noticed that you have already included it. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: Review: A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date
Review: A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date
Hands-on review of the A. Lange & Soehne Zeitwerk Date with pictures, video, price and specs. Price €98,200. Recensione Lange Zeitwerk Date. Rezension
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