By Harlan Chapman-Green
I should start by saying this. There is no other watch quite like the Zeitwerk. Sure, those of you who read my article on the MB&F HM5 will know that it also has a mock digital display, but the Zeitwerk came first. And although unique, I thought it a bit unattractive. This is where the similarities end between the two. It’s not as artful on the outside, but is more industrial than a comparable Swiss watch. Not that there are any really.
The most striking feature of this watch is of course, the crown at the 1:30 position. It’s a weird place for one but hopefully it won’t catch on the boardroom table. It also means that this watch will be easier to wind, it’s one of the first manual wind pieces I’ve done. It also looks pretty sharp, so hopefully it’s new position means it won’t remove any skin.
I was just kidding. The dial features what Lange calls the Time Bridge. It’s basically the part of the dial that wraps around the numbers and seconds hand. There isn’t an enormous date system (but I wouldn’t put it past Lange if they did do that), no it’s actually how to tell the time. The cut out number on the left displays the hours, and the dual numbers on the right indicate minutes. These move as there’s 2 sets of numbers overlapped. These numbers work in exactly the same way as a date display would, they’re just set up to move more often.
In the bottom centre position is the seconds indicator. Don’t worry, this is analogue. The dial has a beautiful circular engraved pattern on it. Above the seconds hand is the power reserve indicator, with AUF meaning full and AB meaning empty. Speaking of the power reserve, this watch will last for 36 hours, or a day and a half, which is pretty good considering all the little bits and bobs in there need to be powered too.
The Zeitwerk carries Lange’s Calibre L043.1 which was specifically designed for the Zeitwerk, because of the way it displays time. It’s made of 415 individual parts which are all held in with Lange’s trademark blue screws. This also has Lange’s own stop seconds mechanism, meaning that when you pull out the crown the seconds hum back to zero and stay there until you push the crown back in. This not only means that time keeping is more accurate, but it’s also more complex than a simple hacking movement. And it suits the watch, as it’ way more complicated than a watch needs to be really.