The minute repeater, often regarded as one of the most challenging complications to master, returns to A. Lange & Söhne. Unlike earlier models, such as the über-complex 2013 Grand Complication or the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater that combine chiming mechanisms with other complications, the Richard Lange Minute Repeater goes solo. Shining a light on a new and improved chiming mechanism, the austere 39mm platinum case is married to a sober white enamel dial. The Richard Lange Minute Repeater is fitted with a new manual-winding movement, the 69th in-house calibre of the brand, and decorated with exquisite hand finishings. A deceptively straightforward classical dial, the striking spectacle is staged on the reverse side of the watch.
The Richard Lange collection is named after the founder’s son Richard who became partner of Ferdinand A. Lange’s company in 1868. An outstanding watch designer, Richard Lange was also a prominent scientist and improved the elasticity of the balance spring by adding a small of beryllium to the mix of his patented alloy. Rugged scientific pocket chronometers with fusée-and-chain escapements and observation watches with excellent legibility were developed by Richard Lange for leading scientists, explorers and researchers of the day. This tradition continues today with the Richard Lange collection inspired by the austere aesthetics of observation watches with their superior precision and legibility.
New and improved minute repeater
Activated on demand using the slider on the left case flank, the chiming mechanism strikes the hours, quarters and minutes following a mechanical programme with two differently tuned gongs that can strike 720 different sequences (one for every minute in the 12-hour cycle). Hours are chimed at a lower pitch, quarters with a double tone and the minutes elapsed since the last quarter with a higher-pitched tone.
The acoustic complication has been enhanced by the brand with the incorporation of a pause elimination feature and a safety device so that the minute repeater cannot be activated when the crown is extracted or conversely, blocking the extraction of the crown when the chiming mechanism is active. A third upgrade to the minute repeater is the patented hammer blocker keeping the hammers in their home position for fractions of a second after the gongs have been struck, preventing the rebounding hammers to bounce and strike the gongs again.
Discretion is key
Considering the complex chiming mechanism housed within the 39mm platinum case, the profile of 9.7mm is particularly svelte. Like other models in the Richard Lange family, the case has short domed lugs and a combination of polished and satin-brushed surfaces. The three-part gold base dial is made in-house and given a lustrous white enamel coating contrasting with the heat-blued steel hands. The classical Roman numerals that characterise the Richard Lange family are burned into the enamel as are the peripheral railway minute scale and the subsidiary seconds counter at 6 o’clock. The only trace of colour is a discreet red marking at XII on the minutes track.
The new hand-wound calibre L122.1
In a departure from some minute repeaters on the market today, the Richard Lange Minute Repeater stages the spectacle on the caseback. When the repeater is activated, the mirror-polished gong hammers strike the two polished gongs coiled around the movement. The gongs, which are tuned by hand, harmonise perfectly with the acoustic properties of the platinum case. The centrifugal governor rotates at more than 2,000 revolutions per minute when the striking mechanism is activated guaranteeing a uniform cadence of the strikes.
The calibre L122.1 is Lange’s new manual-winding movement and displays signature decorative flourishes such as the hand-engraved balance cock, the untreated German silver three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbing, polished gold chatons and thermally blued screws. The escapement beats at 21,600vph, and the mainspring barrel delivers power for up to 72 hours.
Availability & Price
The Richard Lange Minute Repeater comes on a hand-stitched black leather strap with a platinum deployant buckle. It is a boutique exclusive, limited edition of 50 watches and retails for EUR 409,000.
More information at A. Lange & Söhne.com.