A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater: A Masterpiece Disguised as a Secret Agent
Presentation style varies throughout the business world as different companies, industries, and even individual employees engage in specific tactics to disseminate information. A presentation designed to sway the board of a multinational corporation to reduce its carbon footprint needs to be wildly different from a design firm presentation pitching a new aesthetic for the 2026 Samsung frameless 8K television.
There are various ways to approach making a point, from using metaphors and allegory to relying on facts and statistics. But whatever the method, the person or group making the presentation will have to choose a style for structure. This is where one focuses on strengths and the goal. There are as many as 13 popular presentation types that can be used as a template to build an engaging (and hopefully convincing) presentation.
The variations for types of presentations include interactive, visual, freeform, persuasive, and storytelling, with others named more for how the presenter acts like the coach, instructor, connector, director, data scientist, or the closer. There are even styles named after people (Lessig and Takahashi for example) showcasing styles formulated and championed by business leaders and used to great success.
All of the styles focus on what needs to be conveyed, how the people hearing the presentation should react, and what type of setting the presentation is likely to be in. The largest takeaways from each presentation style may be entirely different, from trying to cover a lot of information (data scientist and Lessig), to convincing people to change their opinions on a topic (persuader), or inviting people to take action (interactive, coach, closer, and freeform).
When you consider that sharing information, convincing people, and getting people excited can take many paths, then it isn’t surprising to see the variety of watches and marketing in the watch industry. No matter what type of watch is being discussed, there are numerous brands approaching the idea of selling that watch in quite possibly every single one of these ways. What’s more, some brands have different strategies for the same type of watch within its own catalogue.
Something I’ve noticed is that for the high complication pieces – like perpetual calendars and minute repeaters – there are often a few different approaches, even in the physical watches themselves. Instead of a presentation style, the watches take on styles that appeal to different sectors of the collector community.
With minute repeaters I’ve noticed three main ways of visual presentation: the Peacock, the Technical Wonder, and the Secret Agent. The “Peacock” includes all the minute repeaters that have grand engravings on the dial, automatons (especially the racy ones), or are encrusted with precious gems and métiers d’art. The focus is on grabbing attention with glitz and glamour, and the minute repeater plays second fiddle as a bourgeoisie extra.
A “Technical Wonder” is just that: a watch that highlights the mechanism in some way, either by showcasing the entire mechanism on the dial side or opening the dial to show some aspect of the minute repeater. Often these watches are decorated with fine finishing, but the focus is on the mechanism and its function. Sometimes the only visible components are the hammers and gongs with more of the mechanism visible on the rear of the watch, but we can still admire the movement and engineering in some way.
That brings us to the “Secret Agent,” a minute repeater that looks like a simple, often very classic and understated watch that just happens to have a little button or slide on the side of the case. Anyone who isn’t really into mechanical watches would have absolutely no idea that it is the most complicated watch money can buy or that it makes a lovely sound when the slide is activated unless the wearer specifically chooses to divulge that information.
These types of watches are for personal appreciation, with some makers not even showcasing the repeater mechanism on the rear as it will be hidden beneath the dial. That is why the Secret Agent is the pinnacle of haute horlogerie: it exists for its own sake, not for that of others.
This is perfectly exemplified in the latest offering from A. Lange & Söhne. The new Richard Lange Minute Repeater that debuted at Watches and Wonders 2022 is the perfect Secret Agent minute repeater and the first repeater in the Richard Lange collection. It stands out not only as the most classic minute repeater made by the brand, but also as arguably perfect for preferred discretion in one’s own horological opulence.
A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater
A. Lange & Söhne has previously lived in my Technical Wonder category for its chiming watches, beginning with the rather mind-blowing Grand Complication in 2013 and settling in with the chiming Zeitwerk Decimal Strike and Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. This brand has never compromised its values to play in the Peacock category for any watch, much less a chiming piece, and this is the first entry to the Secret Agent category, coming out of the gate perfectly.
The dial is understandably classic since the Richard Lange collection is first and foremost an homage to historic Saxon and A. Lange & Söhne models and the work of Richard Lange, the son of founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange, who gave the company its current name when he partnered with his father and brother in 1868. The entire collection highlights legibility and precision, utilizing the classic slender Roman numerals of historic pieces. The trilevel enamel dial features a small railroad track chapter ring around the very edge, encapsulating the tall Roman numerals.
Inside the first recess we find the typical A. Lange & Söhne logo and Glashütte I/SA predicate counterbalancing the subdial for seconds at 6 o’clock. This dial sees another railroad track chapter ring with a mixture of long dash marks and Arabic numerals for the tens. The blued sword-style hands are the only other dominant aesthetic of the dial, complemented by a tiny dash of red at 12 o’clock. To the unsuspecting casual viewer, that is all there is to notice about this watch: a clean, classic-looking timepiece. But we know better.
Hidden within is Caliber L122.1, a brand-new movement designed solely around the minute repeater mechanism and maximizing usable space to keep the caliber to a trim 30 x 5.4 millimeters. This 69th unique caliber from A. Lange & Söhne since 1990 incorporates both large and small advances learned by the brand over the years. The minute repeater is based on the classic mechanism with twin gongs playing a low tone for hours, a high tone for minutes, and the dual tone for quarter hours. Nothing groundbreaking there.
Making complex even better
A. Lange & Söhne doesn’t like to just repeat the past; if the brand seeks to make a new caliber it always looks for ways it can functionally improve the engineering, design, and usability. Thus, the L122.1 has improvements that the brand has developed since it began with the Grand Complication in 2013.
The first is the classic “repeater pause” that can often heard in the first 14 minutes of an hour before the dual tone quarters chime, causing a slight pause between the chiming of the hours and minutes. It’s a well-known effect heard on many minute repeater mechanisms, especially historic pieces. A. Lange & Söhne reworked the mechanism to eliminate this pause and allow for a natural flow from low tones to high tones.
The next improvement comes from the interaction with the repeater mechanism, though. Historically, a common point of failure is when a user tries to pull out and manipulate the crown while the repeater mechanism is chiming or tries to activate the repeater while also setting the time. This is the best way to mangle the delicate racks, snails, and gearing of a repeater mechanism.
A. Lange & Söhne incorporates a safety mechanism that functions like an interlock switch: when the mechanism is chiming, the crown is blocked from being pulled out, and when the crown is pulled out the repeater is blocked from being engaged. This makes the Richard Lange Minute Repeater much less prone to accidental damage, especially if it is being shown off to a friend unfamiliar with such complex watches.
Finally, the brand wanted to ensure a crisp, clear sound for the chime and developed a patented hammer blocker that holds the hammers in a “home” position immediately after striking so that momentum can’t force the hammer to strike the gong again. This is a problem that can cause a muddled sound or what one might describe as sounding “dead” because the gong isn’t allowed to vibrate fully as the hammer effectively muffles it as it touches it again.
We have seen these improvements on A. Lange & Söhne’s previous chiming watches and they are now obvious additions to the most classic form of minute repeater in the brand’s arsenal.
Style is substance
So why hide all of this mechanical complexity to create a Secret Agent-style repeater in the Richard Lange Minute Repeater? For one, it is what the collection calls for. Unlike the Saxonia collection, which leans more into Bauhaus style yet contains epic pieces like the Double Split and Triple Split, or the Zeitwerk line, which is clearly the avant-garde branch of the brand, the Richard Lange collection is all about quiet luxury.
Anyone who knows A. Lange & Söhne understands that the Richard Lange collection is the brand’s stealth wealth collection. It contains pieces built to the same incredibly high standards of all the other, perhaps more visible timepieces, but seeks to fly under the radar and exist for their own appreciation.
Clearly, a Zeitwerk Decimal Repeater is going to turn some heads. But the Richard Lange Minute Repeater should at most get a glance and a passing “nice watch” from a casual observer.
A platinum case helps with this since most people can’t tell the difference between stainless steel and platinum, so it doesn’t even have the flashy appearance of a gold watch. Even though I love wild, crazy, and extra avant-garde pieces, I know many who prefer the tame opulence of a stealth luxury watch, and that is this piece.
If you are shown the watch without knowing much, you will still get a fantastic treat looking at the rear, seeing the hammers and gongs, the skeletonized bridge over the centrifugal governor (which spins at 2,000 rpm during chiming), the screw-mounted gold chatons, and the hand-engraved balance cock, all the way down to the sumptuous luster of the ribbed and chamfered German silver bridges and plates.
Keep it secret, keep it safe
The movement is a treat, but it still keeps most of the repeater mechanism secret underneath the dial so even the owner has to live with the knowledge it is there but hidden away.
You can hear the results of the incredibly complex mechanism, but you can’t ever see it in play, making the purpose of this watch a feast for the ears while going easy on the eyes. That is what makes it a Secret Agent repeater and a perfect encapsulation of the Richard Lange collection, which is very popular with discerning collectors.
And even more importantly for many of these types of collectors, the relatively svelte movement keeps the overall size of the watch right in the Goldilocks zone for classic wristwatches. Thirty-nine millimeters is often touted as the perfect diameter and keeping a watch under ten millimeters in thickness helps it feel very wearable in any situation and for most wrists. That’s why the Richard Lange Minute Repeater is quite possibly the perfect collector watch from the brand, featuring a grail-level movement in a perfectly sized case while failing to draw too much unwanted attention on the wrist.
This shouldn’t be overlooked in the world of high-end luxury watches, as a timepiece of this caliber on the wrist could lead to unsafe circumstances, so keeping it as low key as possible is considered a virtue to many. But staying low-key doesn’t have to mean sacrificing beauty, simplicity, and mechanical awesomeness, and the Richard Lange Minute Repeater checks all these boxes and then some.
Picking up one of the limited 50 pieces of this release could get you the stealthiest Secret Agent minute repeater that A. Lange & Söhne has ever made and an exemplary example of German watchmaking excellence. The only thing left for me is to hear it in real life as the video presentation by Anthony de Haas left my ears wanting more: it sounded so rich, even with the platinum case, but there is nothing like hearing a repeater in person.
Small unknown aside, the A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater is a work of near perfection as I’m sure you will agree. It shows once again how the brand sticks to its core principles in creating awesomazing watches that check as many boxes as possible while always staying true to the Lange aesthetic. This is a terrific example of the Richard Lange collection and sets the stage for chiming watches to make their way into other collections now that it has departed the Zeitwerk line. I’m hoping to see a Lange 1 repeater, which seems long overdue!
While it is music to our ears, let’s break it down!
- Wowza Factor * 9.4 It has a high score not from the appearance but from what you realize it contains!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 94.8 » 929.670m/s2 This watch will keep you up at night simply so you have another chance to listen to it chime at 12:59 am!
- M.G.R. * 69 As the 69th movement (nice) you have to give it the same geek rating because it lives up to A. Lange & Söhne excellence!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild These are the times when you have to be strong and remember that a minute repeater is technically only one added function even though it is incredibly complex. So while it is amazing, you still should only need children’s strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream since you’ll want to treat this watch with kid gloves anyway!
- Ouch Outline * 11.6 Slamming your finger in a sliding glass door! Yup, I even shook my head with bewilderment after it happened wondering how on earth did I just do that. It’s still throbbing and swollen 18 hours later so I know exactly how much it hurt. And with the pain fresh in my mind, I would gladly do it to another finger if I was able to get the Richard Lange Minute Repeater on my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * It’s how big?! Given how big the Grand Complication was and how big the Zeitwerk models are, it is probably the reaction of collectors everywhere when they find out this watch is the perfect size and they don’t have to wish it was smaller because it’s perfect!
- Awesome Total * 956 First take the platinum alloy (950) and subtract the price of the piece in hundreds of thousands (409). Then add back in the number of components in the L122.1 caliber (415) and the result is an awesome total that is music to your ears!
For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com/us-en/timepieces/richard-lange/richard-lange-minute-repeater.
Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater
Case: 39 x 9.7 mm, platinum
Movement: manual winding Caliber L122.1, 72-hour power reserve, 21,600 vph/3Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; minute repeater
Limitation: 50 pieces
* This article was first published 31 July 2022 at A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater: A Masterpiece Disguised As A Secret Agent
You may also enjoy: