During SIHH week, we revealed one of A. Lange & Söhne‘s headliner releases for 2017, the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Merite.” But that was not the only new model from the Saxon brand that had tongues wagging (and camera phones flashing) in Geneva. Today, we look at another innovative, complicated timepiece, the A. Lange Söhne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike.
The third watch in the Zeitwerk collection equipped with an acoustic time indication — following up on 2011’s Zeitwerk Striking Time and 2015’s Zeitwerk Minute Repeater — the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike employs a mechanism that chimes the time every 10 minutes. Like all Zeitwerk watches, which draw their design inspiration from Dresden’s renowned Semper Opera House clock, the dial features a mechanical jumping numerals display. Like its predecessors with striking functions, a great deal of energy is built up to advance these numerals — energy that can be put to good use by an automatic striking mechanism. In the Zeitwerk Decimal Strike, this mechanism uses two gongs to indicate both the full hours and the 10-minute intervals between them. Visible on the dial side, and made of polished stainless steel, the two hammers that strike the gongs have a tremblage engraved pattern. The left hammer strikes the lower-pitched gong to indicate the full hour; the right hammer impacts the higher-pitched gong at every 10-minute interval.
The units disk of the minutes display advances by exactly one increment each minute, its energy supplied by a patented constant-force escapement between the mainspring barrel and the balance. This device ensures that the balance has a constant supply of energy across the entire 36-hour power reserve period. The high-pitched gong sounds every time the tens disk advances, and the lower pitched gong sounds when all three numerals (hours, tens, units) advance simultaneously by one increment, signaling the start of a new hour. The wearer can, if he chooses, switch the striking mechanism off by pressing the button at 4 o’clock, which deflects the hammers away from the gongs. Pulling out the winding crown to set the time will also temporarily halt the striking mechanism.
The Zeitwerk Decimal Strike has a case made of honey gold, a proprietary alloy used exclusively by A. Lange & Söhne. It measures 44.2 mm in diameter and 13.1 mm thick has a sapphire crystal in both the front and back. Honey gold is also used for the hands and the watch’s prong buckle. The dial is made of solid silver; in addition to the jumping-numerals time display and visible chiming hammers, it features a small-seconds subdial at 6 o’clock and a power reserve indicator — with the familiar “Auf/Ab” (“Up/Down”) indications — at 12 o’clock. On display through the clear caseback, Lange’s manufacture Caliber L043.7, with manual winding, features the lavish decorative touches that fans of this brand have come to expect, including Glashütte ribbing on the three-quarter mainplate made of untreated German silver; a hand-engraved balance cock; and screwed gold chatons. In all, the movement comprises 528 components, including 78 jewels, and incorporates a lever escapement, a shock-resistant balance wheel and an oscillation system that beats at a frequency of 18,000 vph.
The watch, which is mounted on a hand-stitched, dark brown alligator leather strap, is limited to 100 pieces and priced at 120,000 euros.
You may also be interest in our test of the A. Lange & Söhne Lange Zeitwerk. Download it here for free and read it immediately!