Invest in magnificent timepieces

Investments can be unpredictable, but not so with these two winners, which we have handpicked to provide you with sound and secure appreciation — aesthetically, spiritually and financially.

 

Richard Lange Minute Repeater

The joy of A. Lange & Söhne is that production is so small (in the low thousands per year), they are still something of an insider’s choice. The build quality in the hand is obvious, and the finishing is unparalleled. Looking for the definition of Lange wrapped up in a single watch? You may well have found it here. The all-new Richard Lange Minute Repeater is everything one would expect from Lange, including that most slippery of concepts that might be summed up in the phrase ‘stealth wealth’.

On the dial side, it gives nothing away. Just the wildly elegant, restrained, elongated Roman numerals, three-part enamel finish, and running seconds at six o’clock. The giveaway? The minute repeater slide on the left flank of the 39mm platinum case. Let’s not forget that A. Lange & Söhne has a tradition that dates to the era of pocket-watches in the late 19th century. In 2013, the grand complication ushered in an exciting comeback for the minute repeater in combination with a multitude of fascinating functions, such as the rattrapante chronograph and the perpetual calendar. Later we saw the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater and Richard Lange Minute Repeater, which squarely put the focus on the chiming mechanism as a singular complication.

So how does it all work? Well, it’s quite simple (and hugely enjoyable): slide the action on the left-hand case, and the chiming mechanism will strike the hours, the quarter hours and the minutes. It follows a mechanical programme that with two differently tuned gongs can strike 720 different sequences — one for every minute in the 12-hour cycle. The hours sound at a lower pitch, the quarter hours with a double tone, and the minutes that have elapsed since the last quarter-hour with a higher-pitched tone.

Like all Lange watches, the real party starts only when you turn it over. In this case, the manually wound movement, L122.1, is visible through a sapphire-crystal caseback that reveals the entire scope of artisanal finissage, polished gold chatons, three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, Glashütte ribbing, and thermally blued screws — the full monty. It is obsessive, but that’s what you get at Lange.

This watch is for somebody who prefers to whisper, not shout. In a limited edition of 50 pieces, you have more chance of hearing one of these than ever seeing one in the wild.

Longines Spirit Zulu Time

Now, 2021 was the year of green dials. If this Longines Spirit Zulu Time is anything to go by, 2022 might be the year of the green bezel. It is fair to say nobody in the business does vintage-inspired like Longines. They really have nailed it. And this new submission is no different.

Historically speaking, Longines have made some incredibly important pocket-watches and wrist watches that have been used in the skies. This Spirit Zulu Time is a perfect balance of function and rugged charm. With a GMT function, it takes its design cues from the first Longines wristwatch to indicate a second time zone, the model Zulu Time of 1925, with its Z flag on the dial (Z stands for Zulu Time, the universal time format used in aviation). It is fitted with a new calibre that powers a triple timezone display, a date indication at six o’clock, and a bidirectional rotating bezel made of a ceramic insert bearing a 24-hour scale. The dial is black, with a matt finish. On closer inspection you will see the Arabic numerals are applied and the Super-LumiNova generously applied (you won’t have to worry about telling the time on your walk home after dinner — that is, as long as you can still walk). The hands are silver polished with more Super-LumiNova and the GMT hand is black and blue, with a touch of gilt polishing.

This new calibre is also COSC certified. Getting into the geeky stuff here, the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (or the official Swiss chronometer testing institute) is an independent organisation that tests Swiss-made watches. The organisation is very specific about the standard it will accept for testing, and even more particular about what it certifies. To meet the COSC standard, a watch needs to be accurate to -4 to +6 seconds a day. It also needs to be Swiss-made and built from the highest quality materials with the greatest levels of care.

The case is 42mm and 13.90mm thick (a sweet spot for a tool watch for most wrist sizes). The sapphire crystal is domed, with multilayered anti-reflective coating on both sides. It is also water resistant to 100 meters with the help of its screw-down crown. It really does cover all bases. The Longines Spirit Zulu Time is as reliable as it is good looking.

You can also read this article in Issue 81 of The Rake - on newsstands now.

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Contributor

Justin Hast

Published

May 2022

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