A. Lange & Söhne has enriched the RICHARD LANGE watch family with a stunning minute repeater watch in platinum. Limited to 50 pieces, this elegantly crafted acoustic complication timepiece comes with a white, three-part enamel dial.
The complex design of the RICHARD LANGE MINUTE REPEATER is based on the traditional sound format: when the slide integrated into the left-hand case flank is actuated, the chiming mechanism strikes the hours, the quarter hours, and the minutes. It follows a mechanical programme that with two differently tuned gongs can 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. When the repeater sequence is activated, the sapphire-crystal caseback reveals exactly how the mirror-polished gong hammers execute the respective sequence of strikes on the two gongs that are wrapped around the movement. A refined system of artistically choreographed racks, snails, levers, and wheels controls the 191-part mechanism.
The RICHARD LANGE MINUTE REPEATER is designed to superb acoustic quality standards. The tuning effort involved corresponds to that of an exquisite musical instrument. A lucid, clear, and reverberant sound is assured by the hand-tuned gongs that harmonise perfectly with the acoustic characteristics of platinum, the case material. 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.
In the RICHARD LANGE MINUTE REPEATER, three technical facets stand for the quest of the Saxon manufactory to continuously take watchmaking artistry a step further. Thus, the chiming mechanism has a pause elimination feature. It 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.
To prevent damage to the chiming mechanism, it was equipped with a safety device so that the minute repeater cannot be activated while the crown is pulled out. Further, the crown cannot be pulled out when the chiming mechanism is active. Finally, the patented hammer blocker causes the hammers to dwell in their home position for fractions of a second after the gongs have been struck. Thus, the re-bounding hammers cannot bounce and strike the gongs again.
The platinum case has a diameter of 39mm and a height of only 9.7mm. It features the typical satin-finished flanks and prominently domed strap lugs.
The three-part white enamel dial has a solid-gold core and is crafted in-house. The outer ring and the middle part of the main dial as well as the subsidiary seconds dial are hand-crafted individually in an elaborate process before all three parts are joined together. The white radiant background assures a crisp contrast for the thermally blued steel hands.
The printed inscriptions are burned into the surface. They include the slender Roman numerals typical of the watch family. Accentuated by the peripheral railway track minute scale and the subsidiary seconds at six o’clock, they emphasise the classic character of the watch. A fine red line above the twelve adds a subtle colour accent.
The watch is worn on a black, hand-stitched leather strap with a platinum deployant buckle. The edition is limited to 50 pieces.
The new, manually wound movement L122.1 addresses all expectations that are associated with the A. Lange & Söhne brand. The sapphire-crystal caseback reveals the entire scope of artisanal finissage. It includes the freehand engraving of the balance cock with the eye-catching whiplash spring.
With its lateral setscrew, it can be used to precisely adjust the interaction between the pallet lever and escapement, referred to as the “beat”. Six bearing jewels are set in polished gold chatons on a three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver and decorated with Glashütte ribbing. Four of the chatons are secured with thermally blued screws. The winding train, decorated with solarisation, is visibly integrated into the plate.
Additionally, the partially visible chiming mechanism features some finish details. The gong hammers are elaborately finished with black polish and the manually bent gongs are polished as well. All bridges of the chiming mechanism are visually paired with solarisation. Among them, the bridge above the centrifugal governor is skeletonised.
Generous 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.
The 69th Lange manufacture calibre features a screw balance and a freely oscillating Breguet balance spring made in-house with an overcoiled external Breguet terminal curve. The escapement operates at a frequency of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour (3 hertz). The mainspring barrel delivers power for up to 72 hours.
Model: A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater
Lange manufacture calibre L122.1, manually wound, crafted to the most exacting Lange quality standards, decorated and assembled by hand; precision-adjusted in five positions; three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver; balance cock engraved by hand
Diameter: 30.0 millimetres
Height: 5.4 millimetres
Movement parts: 415
Screwed gold chatons: 4
Escapement: Lever escapement
Oscillation system: Shock-resistant screw balance; superior-quality balance spring manufactured in-house with patented spring clamp, frequency 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour, precision beat adjustment sys-tem with lateral setscrew and whiplash spring
Power reserve: 72 hours when fully wound
Time in hours and minutes, subsidiary seconds with stop sec-onds, chiming mechanism with minute repeater
Crown for winding the watch and setting the time; slide for activating the minute repeater
Diameter: 39.0 millimetres
Height: 9.7 millimetres
Crystal and caseback: Sapphire crystal (Mohs hardness 9)
Water resistance: To 2 bar (20 metres)
18-carat white gold, white-enamelled
Hands: Blued steel
Hand-stitched leather strap, black
Deployant buckle in 950 platinum
Limited edition of 50 watches, engraved edition number, Boutique exclusive
Image Credit: Lange Uhren GmbH