2019 brings with it a number of anniversaries that may spawn some celebration watches, such as 50 years from the moon landing, 50 years since the first automatic chronograph, 50 years since the Seiko Astron, the first quartz wristwatch, and 50 years since the first Concorde flight. A. Lange & Söhne celebrated its own special occasion, the tenth anniversary of its mechanical wristwatch with digital display, the Zeitwerk. For the occasion, the company has added another function, the date, displayed around the edge of the dial, shown by the rotation of a small red-coloured segment that moves exactly at midnight.
Zeitwerk constant force escapement
This extra complication adds to the challenges inherent in a watch of this type, in which energy absorption is not constant, with peaks of increasing magnitude every minute, every ten minutes, every hour (when three time discs move at the same instant), and every day at midnight. The mechanical movement has to accumulate switching impulses to cope with these momentary energy demands. Its patented constant-force escapement also ensures that the energy transferred to the balance is equal at all times, even though the torque produced by the mainspring gradually diminishes. The Zeitwerk Date achieves all this with the characteristic Lange understatement that is such an attractive feature of the brand.
Easy date and time adjustment
There are two pushers on the side of the case. The pusher at 8 o’clock is used to adjust the date display. The pusher at 4 o’clock is used to adjust the hour indications, making it faster to adjust the time with respect to using just the crown. The watch is powered by a new manually-wound movement, the L043.8, with 516 components. It runs at 3 Hertz (18,000 vibrations per hour) and it provides a power reserve of 72 hours. The watch itself is fairly large with a white gold case 44.2 mm in diameter and 12.3 mm thick. Price €89,000, $96,700, available from June 2019.