Following the acoustic complications designed for the 2013 Grand Complication and 2015 Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, A. Lange and Sohne, brings to you the 2022 Richard Lange Minute Repeater timepiece. Certainly a piece to look out for at Watches & Wonders 2022. Unlike the Grand Complication which has seven complications, the Richard Lange Minute Repeater has just one: the chiming mechanism. Although minute repeaters have been around for a while, A. Lange and Sohne take the technique to a whole new level, adding a safety mechanism, hammer blocker and a clear, booming sound, thanks to the platinum case.
The technique that defines it all
As in an orchestra, all components of this watch must work in unison—and to perfection—to create a full, pure sound. Thankfully, the conductor, A. Lange and Sohne, has a team of experts and designers who excel at the task. Choreographed racks, snails, levels and wells breathe life into this 191-part mechanism. Once the slide in the left-hand case flank is activated, the striking mechanism produces three tones: a low tone for the full hour mark, a double tone for the quarter hour mark, and a high tone for the minutes. By contrast, previous iterations of A. Lange and Sohne have offered timepieces that offer only two tones, the high and the low for the hour and 15-minute mark (read: Zeitwerk Striking Time, 2011). Evidently, their 2022 version has advanced and how. Two gongs perform 720 sequences every 12 hours. A striking feat, especially given that producing acoustic complications is no easy feat and has always lent itself to the more scientific side of watchmaking.
That said, A. Lange and Sohne did not compromise on design while creating a watch with supreme sound quality.
Classic design boasting reliability and style
A beautiful white enamel dial encased in a platinum dial ensures the effectiveness of the chiming mechanism. The metal helps create a bright, reverberating sound. The dial is three-part, featuring an outer ring, the middle part of the main dial bearing the logo, and the subsidiary seconds dial located at the six o’ clock mark. These parts are hand-crafted and joined to produce an eye-catching dial. Blue steeled hands enhance the overall appeal of the dial and reinforce the essence of reliability accompanying the timepiece’s striking mechanism. (After all, it makes time audible to one minute accuracy.) With a black leather strap and domed strap lugs, this timepiece makes for a visual feast.
The caseback is adorned with six-bearing jewels and a winding train decorated with solarisation. Unlike with the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater where you can see the gongs and hammers on the face of the dial, you have to observe the caseback of the Richard Lange Minute Repeater timepiece to fully revel in the chiming mechanism.
A promise of accuracy
In a bid to make the mechanism as flawless as can be, A. Lange & Sohne have installed a safety device into the timepiece. While the crown is being pulled out, the minute repeater remains deactivated. Vice versa, if the chiming mechanism is at work, the crown cannot be pulled out. This prevents damage to the overall striking mechanism.
They have also installed a patented hammer blocker. Once the hammer strikes the gong, it returns to its home position for a fraction of a second. This way, there are no rebounds and accidental, untimely sounds—integral to timekeeping. There’s also a pause elimination mechanism which skips the typical pause between the hour and minute sound.
Precision watchmaking has been at the heart of A. Lange & Sohne’s endeavours. The Richard Lange Minute Repeater—with a mere 50 pieces on offer—is testament as to why A. Lange and Sohne are and have been one of the world’s foremost and finest haute horlogerie mansions since 1845.