The watch that’s all windows gets a date ring. The Zeitwerk Date could just be A. Lange & Sohne’s star of SIHH 2019
by Chris Hall
It has been ten years since the creation of the original Zeitwerk and with every passing year, its aura grows. Few of the brands at horology’s top table have introduced anything quite as characterful, intriguing and technically or visually distinct in the same time.
It will never be a mainstream watch by any standards, and definitely draws marmite reactions. Perhaps because of this fact, the measured pace with which ALS has made additions to the range coupled with its inherently bold design, means it still doesn’t feel like the trick is wearing thin
On paper, the addition of a date function to a watch is not one to stop many in their tracks, and it’s rarely a purist’s dream. The question takes on a novel angle in this case however: the Zeitwerk has as its calling card already adopted the oversized guichets of Saxon watchmaking’s date windows for its hours and minutes (and blown them up to even larger stature), so clearly when adding a date, a further window was out of the question. Instead we get a peripheral date ring that, to avoid visual clutter, makes use of layered discs to avoid adding a hand or box-type indicator a la Roger Smith Series 4.
The date ring effectively consists of 31 stencilled windows above a rotating ring, with one red section, which appears below today’s date. To our eyes, it’s a welcome addition to the Zeitwerk’s dial, adding detail without overwhelming, and harmonising nicely with the red accents of the power reserve at 12 o’clock.
Another technical addition to the Zeitwerk date is the presence of a button at four o’clock for quick adjustment of the hours. Setting the time back one hour would otherwise require the wearer to turn through 23 hours with the crown, thanks to the way the digital time display is engineered. The opposite corrector at 8 o’clock sets the date.
The Zeitwerk Date comes in a white gold case measuring 44.2mm across. It uses a hand-wound calibre and has a power reserve of 72 hours.