A year ago, during SIHH2019, A. Lange & Söhne launched a new Zeitwerk equipped with date indication. The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date comes with new proportions, slightly large but thinner to accommodate the complication. Since the German brand just won with it the Goldene Unruh 2020 in the highest category – “Watches priced over 25,000 euros”, I have decided it is the time to remember how uber cool this timepiece is.
Hands-on A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date
Zeitwerk made quite some history since its launch in 2009. The digital display of the time is an ultra-rare complication in the world of mechanical watches. This sophisticated way of displaying time requires not only a complex calibre but, most important, an immense amount of mechanical energy. While the dimensions are a matter of taste, wrist size and personal preferences, the non-date version of the Zeitwerk suffered on power reserve side – just 36 hours.
A. Lange & Söhne reworked completely the Zeitwerk by changing the case dimensions and adding not only a date but also a staggering 72 hours of power reserve. Before going more into the descriptive details, have a look at the wrist roll below:
A larger but well-proportioned case
The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date comes in a 44.2 mm white gold case. The height of 12.3 mm creates the feeling of a much-balanced proportion than the 41.9mm diameter, 12.6 mm height of the classic Zeitwerk.
On the design side, the case didn’t suffer stylistic changes. The brushed body with soldered and polished lugs is covered with the raised concave highly polished bezel. The backside is fixed with 6 screws. A generously sized sapphire reveals the beauty of the Calibre L043.8.
The Zeitwerk family’s specific sloping crown can also be found on the Date version. Placed in a low position, close to the back, the crown can be easily handled. The slope takes half of the crown body. The interesting design helps against the inconvenience of having the crown so close to the wrist. No wrist move is uncomfortable.
The watch uses two pushers. The one on the right, between traditional 4 and 5 o’clock, is used for the fast change hour setting. The second, placed between 7 and 8 o’clock, is used to set the date. More details on how the pushers work can be seen in the clip below:
The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date is fitted with a leather strap and the Lange engraved white gold pin buckle.
Digital mechanical display
The time display of the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date is an absolute sensation. The dial is divided into four major entities. The middle/lower side for the time display, the top for power reserve and the outer chapter ring for the date. The functions are logically delimited.
The time display uses jumping discs for hours, the tenths of minutes and minutes.
The hours are shown on the right and the minutes on the left. Edit: The hours are shown on the left and the minutes on the right.
The power reserve uses a rhodium-plated hand with recessed scale. The top of the dial bears the printing with the brand’s name.
The novelty of the new Zeitwerk, the date, uses a printed sapphire glass positioned on the circumference of the dial. The complication does not intrude at all the classic Zeitwerk dial.
Evolution through design and development
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date is powered by a new movement, the Calibre L043.8. The movement is significative more complex than the predecessor, L043.8 using 516 parts, in opposite with the 415 found inside the L043.1.
The most useful technical achievement of the new Zeitwerk movement is the impressive 72 hours of power reserve. To achieve this, several steps were necessary. One of them was by adding a new spring barrel, in parallel with the first one. The springs used in barrels have the same length but different width. The two barrels are winded and depleted at the same time.
To put into motion the jumping system, the movement uses a remontoir system. This allows keeping the overall chronometry while providing the energy requested to move the discs.
The remontoire was reworked. A thinner spring was used and the energy required for winding it is lower. The redesign also brought some cosmetic changes, the entire complication having a slender appearance. The watch was fitted with a re-worked balance wheel. The new one is slightly smaller, and, as a logical and physical consequence – lighter.
A. Lange & Söhne presents the Zeitwerk Date, as usual, with superlative finishes. The watch is an epitome of horological decoration. No detail was spared, no surface left untouched. The view on the back of the Zeitwerk Date is a delight for any exceptional finishes hungry eyes.
A. Lange & Söhne did a fabulous job with the new Zeitwerk Date. The balanced proportions make the watch more attractive. The serious Zeitwerk dial received a new dimension from the date addition. What was before a cool watch, becomes now a much more useful tool. I say that through the perspective of a recent discussion with my wife, an M.D. In her daily job, she needs a watch with instant legibility. Although I have bought her a chronograph, she never used it (the chrono function) – between patients and procedures, a very facile and fast time read is crucial. Playing with chrono is, almost all the time, not an option. Completing medical letters, the date display is a must. So, as a cumulation of facts and characteristics, she finds the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date a practical piece. Excepting the size… But on the other hand, she will not expose such a collection piece to the hospital conditions.
On the other hand, I find the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date a comfortable companion. Although the time reading is for me not as critical as for her, I appreciate the watch in a completely different perspective. I am in love with the technical gimmick behind and with the spectacular execution. She sees the practical note, I love the technical side.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date is a caprice piece. A gorgeous one. But not this is the main driving reason behind any of us, the collectors? We tend to be more emotional then reasoning. We love the watches, not the time read itself.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date Technical Specifications and Price
- white gold
- Diameter: 44.2 mm
- Height: 12.3 mm
- Solid silver, light-grey
- Digital display with Arabic numerals
- Hands rhodium
- Calibre L043.8
- Number of movement parts: 516
- Number of rubies: 70
- Number of screwed gold chatons: 2
- Power reserve: 72 hours when fully wound
- Frequency: 18000 semi-oscillations per hour
- Beat-adjustment system: Screw balance
- Diameter: 37 mm
- Height: 8.9 mm
- Dark brown alligator strap with white gold prong buckle
- 89,000 €*
*Recommended retail price in Germany including VAT. Non-binding quotation, prices subject to change.
- 96,700 $