Striking watches represent the pinnacle of watchmaking, and at SIHH 2011 A. Lange & Söhne secured a position on that peak with the new Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time – the first Lange wristwatch with an acoustic signature. Capitalizing on the Zeitwerk’s unique design, the hammers and gongs can be viewed from the dial side. Find pricing, wallpaper, and retail delivery dates inside.
As WatchTime’s Joe Thompson reported when Lange introduced the Zeitwerk nearly two years ago in Berlin, it was presented as the new face of the brand. The oversize digital display, inspired by the famous Semper Opera House clock in Dresden, certainly set Lange off along a road less traveled in the world of haute horlogerie design. Yet it is clear that Lange must have had the Striking Time in mind when it designed the Zeitwerk, such is the harmony of the design, both external and internal. From the outside, the hammers integrate perfectly below the numeric displays. Internally, the Zeitwerk’s mechanical design is ideal for the integration of a strike train. When the large numeral discs advance, a sizable force vector is unleashed, so after the switching cycle, enough energy remains for other purposes. These reserves are now used by the chiming mechanism to tension the springs that actuate the two hammers in the Striking Time.
The hammers themselves are made of black-polished steel. The one on the left strikes the hours, the one on the right the quarter-hours. The twin gongs are easily viewed, suspended in a recess between the dial and the bezel. In quarter-hour intervals, the mechanism triggers a strike on one of the two gongs. A higher-pitched tone signals the quarter-hours and a lower-pitched one sounds at the top of the hour. Should conditions call for silence, the push piece at 4 o’clock mutes the chiming mechanism. The position of the hammers confirms whether the watch is in striking or silent mode: when set to strike, the gongs rest quite close to the gongs, as shown in the images below. In silent mode, the hammers are deflected away from the gongs. Another nice feature: the hammers retract when the crown is pulled out. This allows the time to be set in either direction without activating and inadvertently jamming the chiming mechanism.
Of course the manufacture calibre L043.2 inside the Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time fulfills all expectations that watch lovers around the world associate with A. Lange & Söhne, including lavish manual decoration of all movement parts, and the balance wheel with eccentric poising weights and Lange’s proprietary balance spring. This striking movement (apologies) is housed in a 44.2-millimeter white-gold case with a black dial (priced at $90,800), or in a 100-piece limited edition platinum case with rhodium dial (priced at $111,400). Pieces should begin to become available this summer.
Each of the images below, including the data sheet, may be enlarged with a click.