The German watchmaker Juggernaut A. Lange & Sohne keeps on monetizing its initial (and, something tells me, rather surprising even for the company’s top management) overwhelming success with the revolutionary design (and also quite gorgeous in terms of exterior and interior finish) Zeitwerk hand-wound watch. Featuring the same “digital” time representation mechanism, the new A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Striking Time model that was just revealed at SIHH 2011 industry event adds an absolutely mesmerizing chiming mechanism to the jumping hours and minutes complication.
To make enough space for the new complication, the German engineers have increased diameter of its Lange caliber L043.2 hand-wound movement by roughly 1/10th of an inch to 36.00 millimeters. The mechanism has also become just a trifle thicker, now measuring exactly 10.00 mm from top to bottom.
To make sure that everyone will notice the new function, Lange did two things.
Firstly, the two gongs are placed right on the dial just below the signature Time Bridge component, which is made of rhodiumed German silver.
Secondly, the striking mechanism chimes every fifteen minutes with quarter-hour signals sounding in high-pitched tone and the top of the hour chiming in lower-pitched sound.
The second function must be pretty annoying after the initial wow-impression wears out in an hour or so, but thankfully there is a special pusher at 4 o’clock that shuts the chimer off.
Due to a larger movement, the new version of the watch is also a bit larger than the original.
According to the official specs, the elegant case (which is available both in white gold or limited edition platinum) is now 44.20 millimeters in diameter and 13.80 millimeters thick.
Of course, the watch looks bulkier than its predecessor, but it is the price you pay for converting an understated masterpiece into a particularly expensive Swiss army knife.
What’s particularly interesting about this new series, is that the price differential between the version in white gold and the limited edition in platinum isn’t as striking as it is usually the case with less complex timekeepers. With the one in platinum priced at just over €74,000 and being about 17 percent more expensive than the one in gold, it is clear that it is not the choice of metal that makes each timepiece so pricey. Yes, sir: it is not the metal, it is the movement. Frankly, I can’t even fathom how expensive it is to hand-craft each of these precious mechanisms each having more than five hundred individually fine-tuned and finished components built to specs that are probably to those of an aerospace company rather than an ordinary maker of highly expensive gentleman’s gadgets.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Photos: A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Striking Time in White Gold and Platinum (Ref. 145.029 / 145.025) manual-wind watch specification
Price: $63,000 (MSRP, ref. 145.029) / €74,100 (MSRP, ref. 145.025)
Movement: Caliber Lange L043.2, 36.00 mm in diameter, 10.00 mm in height, 528 components, in-house, decorated and assembled by hand, Made in Germany
Winding: Hand-wound (manual)
Cadence of balance: 18,000 vph
Functions & Complications: Jumping hours, jumping minutes, small seconds, power reserve, chiming mechanism
Power reserve: 36 hours
Case material: 18-carat White gold or Platinum
Bezel material: 18-carat White gold or Platinum
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 44.20 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 13.80 mm
Dial: Solid silver, black / Solid silver, rhodiumed
Numerals: Arabic (“digital” representation)
Hands: Rhodiumed gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Hand-stitched crocodile strap, black. Heavy Lange prong buckle in white gold / platinum (depending on the material of the case)
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating on both sides
Case back: Sapphire