The ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER is the first mechanical watch that pairs a jumping numerals display with a decimal minute repeater. But it is not just an amazing horological work of art: it is also a fine-tuned mechanical musical instrument for the wrist. The first few of these watches are now being delivered to select showrooms.
ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER and a historic Fritz Wurlitzer clarinet
Musical instruments have been crafted in Saxony for centuries, especially around the town of Markneukirchen in the Vogtlandkreis district, where more than 100 workshops still uphold this tradition today. By definition, an exceptional music experience is based on purity of sound. Just like master instrument makers, the product developers at A. Lange & Söhne are keen on achieving perfect sonority, for instance in the new ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER.
In a chiming watch, as in musical instruments, the physical laws that govern acoustic phenomena are key to achieving sounds of superior quality and reverberant volume. The case material, the size and shape of the gongs, the way they are secured to the movement, the number of moving parts – every detail counts. Special measuring technologies and a musically trained ear are essential in the development of a minute repeater for optimising the individual acoustic parameters down to the finest of nuances. It begins with loudness. The volume of the sound must be perceptible but not overbearing. Its fullness and purity must be compelling to the connoisseur. The rhythm and cadence of the sounds should express pleasant musicality. The gongs must harmonize perfectly with one another. All the while, any chatter of the striking mechanism must be reduced to the absolute minimum. It was a formidable challenge for Lange’s product developers to fulfil all of these criteria.
ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER next to a violin crafted in Saxony, ca. 1900
But even during the assembly of the ZEITWERK MINUTE REPEATER, the watchmakers must perform numerous adjustments. As is commonplace for high-end musical instruments, the gongs are tuned exclusively by hand until they thoroughly harmonise with each other. In the end, they both sound full and pure – so the future owners of one of these masterpieces can look forward to a splendid experience in sonority.
About A. Lange & Söhne
When Ferdinand Adolph Lange, a Dresden watchmaker, established his watch manufactory in 1845, he laid the cornerstone of Saxony’s precision watchmaking. His precious pocket watches remain highly coveted among collectors all over the world. The company was expropriated after World War II, and the name A. Lange & Söhne nearly fell into oblivion. In 1990, Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s great-grandson Walter Lange had the courage to relaunch the brand. Today, Lange crafts only a few thousand wristwatches in gold or platinum per year. They are endowed exclusively with proprietary movements that are lavishly decorated and assembled by hand. In a period of little more than 20 years, A. Lange & Söhne developed 51 manufacture calibres and secured a top-tier position among the world’s finest watch brands. Its greatest successes include innovative time-keeping instruments such as the LANGE 1 with the first outsize date in a series produced wristwatch as well as the ZEITWERK with its supremely legible, precisely jumping numerals. In the meantime, both models have become icons of a brand rich in tradition.
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