One can perhaps say that creation of minute repeaters represents the pinnacle of traditional watchmaking craftsmanship, showcasing not only the technical mastery of horologists, but also the rich historical context from which these remarkable timepieces emerged. In the medieval period, the chiming patterns of bells were used to convey specific time intervals, allowing people to tell the time without the need for a visual display. A. Lange & Söhne is one of the luxury watch brands that have proved their mettle when it comes to crafting minute repeaters. Following the first platinum Zeitwerk Minute Repeater of 2015 and the white gold model of 2020, the brand has now released a limited edition of 30 Zeitwerk Minute Repeaters, crafted in warm honeygold (Ref. 147.050F).
The new watch’s unique colour, which looks like liquid honey, is reserved for Lange’s most exclusive timepieces. Harder than platinum and other gold alloys – and therefore much more challenging to shape and finish – honeygold has an extremely subtle and elegant tone. The material, registered under the trademark of HONEYGOLD®, owes its name to the warm hue, ranging between pink and white gold. It should also be noted here that the first three timepieces that were crafted in honeygold in 2010 were part of the “165 Years – Homage to F. A. Lange” anniversary edition, consisting of the TOURBOGRAPH “Pour le Mérite”, the LANGE 1 TOURBILLON, and the 1815 MOON PHASE.
The 44.2 mm 18 ct HONEYGOLD® watch gets the coveted material for its lugs, crown at 2 o’clock, and pusher at 10 o’clock. The silver-grey dial converts its original horizontal hours and minutes display to an even more original decimal repeater. This rare complication chimes the time exactly the way it is displayed. By activating the pusher on the case at 10 o’clock, the repeater chimes the hours, the corresponding ten-minute intervals, and the minutes. For example, the time, 7:52, illustrated in the photos, would result in seven low-pitched tones, five double tones and two high-pitched tones. You can see the hand-tuned gongs circling the dial and the mirror-polished hammers in action in the lower half of the dial.
The grey dial features the signature rhodium-plated German silver time bridge, bevelled apertures for the hours and minutes, and a small seconds counter in the middle. Thanks to the patented jumping numeral mechanism, all three discs advance simultaneously on the hour. Above the horizontal time display is a recessed semi-circular power reserve indicator with a white track and a small red dot at 12 o’clock that indicates the 12-hour mark of the power reserve; the hour window is at 9 o’clock, the double minute window can be spotted at 3 o’clock, and a seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, with an 18 ct HONEYGOLD® hand. When the power reserve of the watch dips under 12 hours, the striking mechanism is blocked.
According to the brand, the proprietary gold used for the case produces a “clear, reverberant sound, paired with a rich and warm timbre”. The pusher at 10 o’clock activates the repeater. Since the power for the striking mechanism is delivered by the twin mainspring barrel, there is no need for a slide to tension a separate spring. While the repeater is working, the switching action of the numeral discs is delayed. At the same time, the crown cannot be pulled. This prevents any interference with the strike work, ensuring that the acoustic indication of time is not impaired.
At 12:59, when the longest series of tones is struck, it takes about 20 seconds until the repeater sequence ends. If a new minute begins while the repeater is striking, the minute and/or hour jump is performed immediately when the tone sequence has ended. Thereafter, the next numeral disc switches cycle with the regular timing when the seconds hand passes the 60-second mark. Powering the watch is the manual winding Calibre L043.5, precision-adjusted in five positions and offering a power reserve of 36 hours. The movement is composed of 771 parts, finished with hand-engraved motifs on the balance spring and the escape wheel, and the hallmark Glashütte ribbing on the untreated German silver three-quarter plate.
The movement is fitted with elaborate safety and blocking mechanisms to protect the calibre, which has a constant force escapement between the barrel and the balance wheel, working as a pacemaker for the instantaneous advance of the discs in one-minute intervals. Turning the watch over showcases the sapphire crystal caseback with the engraving of the individual watch number, out of 30, and the finely crafted calibre. Limited to only 30 pieces, the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater HoneyGold watch comes with a hand-stitched dark brown leather strap, featuring an 18 ct HONEYGOLD® and white gold deployant buckle.