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A. Lange & Söhne - Richard Lange Minute Repeater

On occasion of the Watches & Wonders 2022 event which opens today, A. Lange & Söhne unveiled the Richard Lange Minute Repeater, a 50-piece limited edition minute repeater housed in a platinum case and made even more precious by a white three-part enamel dial.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

Among the wristwatches with chiming mechanisms, minute repeaters are probably the most challenging to create. In recent years, the Saxon watchmaker presented this complication in two other models.   

In 2013, the impressive Grand Complication marked the return of a minute repeater in their collection in combination with other complications such as the rattrapante chronograph and the perpetual calendar. Two years later, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater introduced a striking mechanism that sounds the hours, ten-minute intervals, and minutes precisely reproducing the digitally displayed time.

With the Richard Lange Minute Repeater, the spotlight is entirely on the chiming mechanism, implemented here as a singular complication.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

The watch comes in a perfectly proportioned 39 mm x 9.7 mm platinum case with satin-finished flanks and prominently domed strap lugs. The slide integrated into the left caseband activates the chiming mechanism which strikes the hours, the quarter hours, and the minutes. 

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

Its mechanical programme uses two differently tuned gongs to strike 720 different sequences – one for every minute in the twelve-hour cycle. 

The hours sound at a lower pitch, the quarter hours with a double tone, and the minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter hour with a higher-pitched tone. 

The time shown in the images in this article – 01:51 – would be struck with a low tone, three double tones, and six high tones. 

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

The sequence executed by the mirror-polished gong hammers while they strike the two gongs that are wrapped around the movement can be admired through the sapphire crystal caseback.

A refined system of racks, snails, levers, and wheels controls the 191-part mechanism. The acoustic quality is exceptional, just as you would expect from a perfectly tuned musical instrument. A clean and reverberant sound is assured by the hand-tuned gongs and the acoustic characteristics of platinum. As far as the hammers are concerned, the key issues are material, shape, size, weight, hardness and, above all, strike. 

A. Lange & Söhne Calibre L122.1
A. Lange & Söhne Calibre L122.1

All components are carefully harmonised with one another by a Lange master watchmaker. This requires multiple disassemblies, reworking, reassembly and finally testing. Much of the manufacture time is thus dedicated to perfecting the sound.

Three technical solutions are particularly innovative: 

1) The chiming mechanism has a pause elimination feature which skips the otherwise common pause between the hour and minute strike when no double tone must be struck for the quarter hours in the first 14 minutes after the top of the hour. 

2) To avoid damages to the chiming mechanism, a safety device prevents the activation of the minute repeater while the crown is pulled out. Moreover, the crown cannot be pulled out when the chiming mechanism is active. 

3) The patented hammer blocker causes the hammers to dwell in their home position for fractions of a second after the gongs have been struck. This way, the re-bounding hammers cannot bounce and strike the gongs again.

Crafted in-house, the white enamel dial has a solid-gold core and is made in three parts - the outer ring, the middle part and the subsidiary seconds dial - hand-crafted individually in an elaborate process before they are joined together. 

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

The white radiant background makes the thermally blued steel hands stand our for perfect readability. The printed inscriptions - including the slender Roman numerals, the peripheral railway track minute scale and the subsidiary seconds at six o’clock - are burned into the surface. A fine red line 12 o'clock adds a touch of colour.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

Visible through the transparent sapphire crystal, the hand-wound Calibre L122.1 is assembled by hand to the highest Haute Horlogerie standards with typical traits like the three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver and decorated with Glashütte ribbing, the finely engraved balance cock, six bearing jewels set in polished gold chatons, four of which secured with thermally blued screws. The winding train, decorated with solarisation, is visibly integrated into the plate. 

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater

The gong hammers are finished with black polish and the manually bent gongs are polished as well. All bridges of the chiming mechanism are visually paired with solarisation. 

The bridge above the centrifugal governor – the component that gives the striking mechanism its rhythm - is skeletonised. Large openings reveal the most dynamic component of the movement: balanced with two mirror-polished gold weights, the centrifugal governor rotates at a speed of more than 2,000 revolutions per minute when the striking mechanism is running. This guarantees the uniform cadence of the strikes.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater


Beating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz), this 415-part movement guarantees a power reserve 72 hours.

Matched to a black, hand-stitched leather strap with a platinum deployant buckle, the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater ref. 606.079F is a 50-piece limited edition available available through the boutiques of the brand. Price on request. alange-soehne.com

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COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 2
  1. Masterpiece! I am wordless.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am pretty sure it costs more than my house!

    ReplyDelete

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: A. Lange & Söhne - Richard Lange Minute Repeater
A. Lange & Söhne - Richard Lange Minute Repeater
On occasion of the Watches & Wonders 2022 A. Lange & Söhne unveils the Richard Lange Minute Repeater ref. 606.079F. In platinum. Price on request.
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