A. Lange & Sohne’s new Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen (€114,000) is a confluence of some of its standout unique features. The Zeitwerk is its own, of course, an idiosyncratic pillar for the manufacture since its launch in 2009. There are few timepieces that are at once so clinically functional, and yet so pleasing and distinctive in aesthetic.
And then there is its movement of course, a constant force mechanism driving a power-hungry trio of discs that make up the digital display – with all three having to jump at once at the top of every hour. Despite the technical challenges, this new Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen boasts of a new movement with two mainspring barrels that supplies up to 72 hours of runtime – double that of its predecessor. Calibre L043.9, manually wound, is part of the second generation of Zeitwerk movements that began with the Zeitwerk Date from a few years ago. Another improvement is the pusher at 4 o’clock that allows a convenient and independent setting of the hour.
This is not quite the first time that the Zeitwerk has presented as a Lumen model, which is A. Lange & Sohne’s daring take on glow-in-the-dark. The Zeitwerk Luminous, which introduced the concept, was first seen in 2010. The sapphire crystal dial of the watch has a dark coating that still allows some UV light to pass through it, which means that the numerals which are not directly exposed through one of the time indicator windows are still able to be charged. They are, therefore, fully illuminated as soon as they are rotated into view. It is a practical feature, this, but has the added side effect of being quite the visual display. In well-lit conditions, the effect is like that of partial skeletonization, allowing glimpses of the mechanics and faintly lit numerals lurking underneath. In the dark, the inactive numerals are much more visible, which lights up the whole watch face to make for an eye-catching show.
More understated is the case material, another A. Lange & Sohne hallmark of its proprietary Honeygold alloy. It imparts a warm, vintage yellowish hue to the 41.9mm case of the watch, even as it resists wear better than typical gold material, and this is the first time it is found on a Lumen watch. Honeygold also debuted in 2010, which makes the new Zeitwerk Honeygold Lumen a neat encapsulation of some of A. Lange & Sohne’s remarkable developments from that period. It is limited to 200 pieces and is a boutique exclusive.