A. Lange & Söhne Introduces The Stunning Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold
I am all eyes and ears when A. Lange & Söhne announces a new timepiece. Even if it’s “just” a new version of a current model, there is more than enough reason to pay close attention. First of all, the Glashütte-based brand never misses the mark in finding striking combinations of colors and materials for cases, dials, and straps. And second, each release is a great reminder of the brilliance of Lange’s incredible timepieces. With the new Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold, the Saxon brand announces the best version of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater to date. Not only is it a jaw-dropping looker on the outside, but it’s as aesthetically and technically stunning on the inside!
A. Lange & Söhne’s Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is far from a new watch. Despite that, it remains somewhat fresh as we haven’t seen many variations of it. The first, from 2015, was a platinum version with a rhodium-colored dial that Robert-Jan had the chance to check out. The second version, in 2020, was a 30-piece limited white gold version with a deep blue dial. Both of them are great timepieces, but the new Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honygold takes the looks of this technical masterpiece to new heights. The combination of a Honeygold case with a gray dial is mouthwateringly beautiful. The new aesthetic presents a fresh take on the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater that, in my opinion, is the brand’s best yet.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold
So, what’s the story of this new Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold? Is it one about creating a new aesthetic with A. Lange & Söhne’s proprietary Honeygold alloy? Or is it a reminder of this technical masterpiece, the first mechanical watch with a jumping-numerals display and a decimal minute repeater? First, let’s remind ourselves of the latter.
Most of you will be familiar with Lange’s Zeitwerk. With its jumping-numerals display, it is one of the watch world’s standout timepieces that combines technical brilliance with an instantly recognizable look. Ever since the first Zeitwerk debuted in 2009, it has been a favorite among watch fans all over the world. Over the years, A. Lange & Söhne has expanded the Zeitwerk collection with variations incorporating different complications. One of the most striking, both figuratively and literally, is the minute repeater.
Not just your conventional minute repeater
As this is a watch from A. Lange & Söhne, it is not “any old” minute repeater. The brand developed a repeater mechanism that activates with a simple push of a button instead of a slide. Furthermore, it doesn’t chime the quarter hours like most minute repeaters do. Instead, Lange made it a decimal minute repeater that chimes 10-minute intervals. As a result, the sounds match the mechanical digital-time display. With a push of the button located at 10 o’clock, the mechanism engages. It produces a low-pitched tone for each elapsed hour, a double tone (one high-pitched and one low-pitched tone) for each elapsed 10-minute period, and another high-pitched tone for each elapsed minute thereafter.
In the press images, the time is 7:52, translating to seven low-pitched tones, five double tones, and two high-pitched tones. As Lange likes to describe it, “One hears what one sees. And sees what one hears.” That is hard to disagree with. However, the key to a top-tier minute repeater is more than the mechanism itself. While that is impressive on its own, the true magic is in the sound. As most of you will know, different case metals have unique audible qualities. For this new version, A. Lange & Söhne uses a Honeygold case. The brand’s proprietary gold alloy produces a unique sound that combines a clear tone with a warm timbre.
Perfecting the sound of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold
As Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, explains: “Every minute repeater has its own, one-of-a-kind sound. Apart from the gongs and gong hammers, the case material greatly impacts the sound. Similar to a musical instrument, different tone colors and sound impressions are created depending on the material used. That is also the case with our novelty in Honeygold. It sounds different to all other materials — truly distinctive.”
And it is no surprise that the team at Lange went to great lengths to make the sound quality perfect with the Honeygold case. The gongs are hand-tuned to work with the case material and achieve the best results possible. On top of that, all the different components of the minute repeater are carefully adjusted by Lange’s skilled watchmakers. They do this through multiple disassembly, reworking, reassembly, and finally, testing procedures. As you will understand, this takes up an enormous amount of the manufacturing time of the watch. But the results are as brilliant to the ears as they are to the eyes.
Built-in safety mechanisms
As previously mentioned, this Zeitwerk does not use a conventional slide to activate the minute repeater. Instead, Lange’s watchmakers created a button for that. The twin mainspring barrel delivers the necessary power for the striking mechanism, making a conventional slide to tension a separate spring unnecessary. Additionally, the movement features a series of safety and blocking mechanisms to guarantee a flawless performance every time.
The first prevents the striking mechanism from activating if the remaining power reserve is less than 12 hours. This ensures that the minute repeater is not interrupted while chiming. The power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock has a red dot to indicate the 12-hour mark so the wearer can see if it’s safe to activate the mechanism. Other safety measures delay the switching action of the numeral discs while the repeater is chiming and prevent the user from pulling out the crown at 2 o’clock. As a result, the sound is always at its best when activated, and the risk of damaging the complex caliber is greatly minimized.
The manufacture L043.5 movement
All this mechanical magic is possible thanks to the in-house A. Lange & Söhne caliber L043.5. Comprising this manual-winding movement is a whopping total of 771 parts. The caliber includes a constant-force escapement between the barrel and the balance. This escapement ensures that the advancement of the numeral discs in one-minute intervals happens instantaneously. Additionally, it feeds a consistent amount of force to the balance regardless of the remaining power reserve. This results in more accurate timekeeping even when the mainspring is running low.
As we have come to expect from A. Lange & Söhne, the movement is beautifully finished. The three-quarter plate is made of untreated German silver, and the balance cock and the escape-wheel cock are instantly recognizable as they are intricately engraved by hand. The movement operates at 18,000vph, has 93 jewels, three screwed gold chatons, and a 36-hour power reserve if the striking mechanism is not activated.
The dial design of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold is brilliant
The exquisite movement is housed in a 44.2mm 18K Honeygold case that measures 14.1mm thick. And, of course, you can see the movement beating away through the sapphire crystal on the case back. But while that is most definitely a feast for the eyes, the face of the watch is equally stunning. I adore how the designers at Lange integrated the two hammers and the gong into the design as defining parts of the overall composition. I have explained before how much respect I have for the Lange design team as they are absolute masters at creating stunning dials.
The magic is in their ability to translate a mathematical approach to dial design into pure emotion. Looking at the dial of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold, the thing that immediately stands out is how balanced it feels. All the elements are perfectly in sync, and there is no visual dissonance. Combining a gray 925 silver dial with the Honeygold case looks fantastic. Having the two hands in Honeygold is also smart as they contrast nicely with the gray background while matching the case. The watch comes with a dark brown alligator strap to finish the look.
Impressions of the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Honeygold
I adore this new Honeygold version of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. Both in its looks and its technical wizardry, this timepiece is nothing short of brilliant. Furthermore, this is by far the best of the three models if you ask me. The warmth of the Honeygold color with the dark gray dial is distinctive, and it’s something that the two previous models lacked. Once again, this shows that Lange can always surprise us with new versions of pre-existing models.
Having said that, I am biased because I am a big fan of the different Honeygold watches in the catalog. My grail 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange” uses the same case material, and so does the Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen and the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite.” Those are two more favorites of mine. The hue of the material is unique. It maintains a perfect balance between exclusivity and understated elegance. As it so happens, it also suits this new Zeitwerk Minute Repeater perfectly.
All 30 pieces of this limited-edition model will be available exclusively through A. Lange & Söhne boutiques. The price is available on request.
For more information, visit the official A. Lange & Söhne website. Let us know in the comments section below if you agree that this is the best version of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater so far.