A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Striking Time
The A. Lange & Sohne – Zeitwerk Striking Time represents one of the most spectacular contemporary watches made in the last decade. Building upon the already impressive ‘time only’ Zeitwerk originally introduced in 2009, the Striking Time placed Lange in a league of their own.
Saxony’s meteoric rise and fall lead to the eventual creation of A. Lange & Söhne, founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845. The foundations of German watchmaking can be attributed to both Lange and his mentor Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes. Sadly, the company A. Lange & Söhne was expropriated after World War II as a result the brand disappeared. In 1990, Walter Lange, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s great-grandson, ventured to resuscitate the brand. For the second time, a watch manufactory named A. Lange & Söhne, was built from scratch in Glashütte. The brand is now known to have created some of the most appreciated complications in the industry through its unique design language and master engineering.
The origins of the Zeitwerk
The renowned architect Gottfried Semper was presented with the opportunity to build the Dresden Opera House, upon accepting this task, he was faced with a dilemma. A livid King Frederick Augustus II of Saxony noticed that most of his fellow patrons would tend to use the striking mechanism found in their pocket watches in order to tell time, often disturbing the performance. The modern-day equivalent of a phone ringing at a theatre. As a result, King Frederick Augustus II requested for an efficient solution, a large clock for the auditorium was a must … in order to satisfy the King’s request of displaying a large clock for the Auditorium, Semper turned to master-watchmaker Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, who in turn was instrumental in Ferdinand Adolph Lange formation. The ingenious method of using a mechanical digital clock that would turn every hour and every five minutes through two rotating barrels, not only solved the issue, it also allowed for the entire auditorium to tell time with ease. Gutkaes, impressive creation left a profound impact on the then young Ferdinand A. Lange.
In the past, the concept of the mechanical digital watch was implemented on several occasions but never in a reliable manifestation. Originally introduced in 2014, the reference 145.032 features a 44.2mm pink gold case and is powered by the highly acclaimed calibre L043.2. This particular reference is an evolution of the original ‘time-only’ Zeitwerk which was introduced in 2009. The difference being the striking time, which is capable of striking both the hours and quarters. The introduction of the Zeitwerk was a turning point for the rather conservative brand, from a design perspective very few brands successfully achieved this harmonious feature of having both digital jumping hours and minutes, the only other example that comes to mind is the F. P. Journe Vagabondage II. What both of these watches have in common is a rather short power reserve. The energy needed to achieve an instantaneous ‘flick’ of the digital hours and minutes is rather high. The ZeitBrücke (time bridge) which indicates both the hours, minutes, and seconds is made out of untreated German silver, the left-hand side is used for the hours, the right-hand side is used for the minutes, and the sweeping 60 second counter is found at the 6o o’clock position. The power reserve found is found at 12 o’clock, interestingly there is a gong that circles the periphery of the entire dial along with strikers found at the eight and four o’clock markers. A high chime is used for each quarter and a deeper chime for the hours. In order to enter stealth (silent) mode, there is a decoupling clutch found at 4 o’clock in the form of an external button. In order to set the time the crown found at 2 o’clock is solely used for timekeeping adjustments.
The movement found on this mechanical marvel is the manual wound L043.2 which consists of 78 jewels and 528 parts. The tremendous force needed to advance the discs is delivered by a patented mainspring barrel, and the precise timing is controlled by a patented constant-force escapement. The use of a constant force mechanism allows for the jumping minutes and hours to work flawlessly. Prior to the seconds hitting the sixty-second mark, the minute disc jitters slightly as it is ‘fully’ wound, upon the second hand hitting the sixty-second marker, the disc ‘automatically’ changes as the remontoir unwinds. The Steel hammers are finished to the highest standard through the use of black polish along with hand-finished chamfering. They do not appear as a distraction on an already busy dial due to the way they seamlessly blend in with the white gold dial.
The striking hour mechanism uses a twin stacked snail cam that has three prongs to drive the quarters and the other features a single prong for the hours, the process resets itself every 60 minutes.
This rose gold Zeitwerk Hour Strike comes with its original box, papers, and supporting materials.
Brand: A. Lange & Sohne
Model: Zeitwerk – Hour Strike
Case Diameter: 44.2mm
Box & Papers: Full Set