Tuesday, May 24, 2016

First Jumping Hours & Minutes - Now Jumping Seconds!

The famous 5 minute clock developed by Ferdinand A Lange was resurrected in the Zeitwerk featuring a mechanical timepiece with a digital display. Instead of the normal hands that tells time, the Zeitwerk displays time with a jumping numeral display.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Manufacture has introduced a new complication - the Jumping Seconds. Also known as the dead beat seconds, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is driven by a one-second constant-force escapement. Unlike other mechanical timepieces where the second hands sweep the dial, a dead beat seconds complication improves the reading of the second hands by displaying as jumping hands just like a quartz timepiece. So a mechanical timepiece mimicking a quartz watch?

Well, this is one of the few complications not many brands can muster. The few I know and have seen are Habring, Arnold and Sons, Jaeger LeCoultre, Rolex (yes, I managed to see a vintage Tru Beat in a shop in HKG) and Gronefeld. There are a few other brands with a similar complication but executed differently and the price range vastly different too. Enter the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds...

The folks at Lange & Sohne choose a different display style - preferring to put the jumping second complication into centre focus. Two other smaller dials display the minute (right) and the hour (left), very much like a regulateur layout except that is it slightly different (again).

Right in the centre where the three circles meet is the power reserve indicator. When it indicates red, it means the power reserve is down to 10 hours.

The movement is as impressive as one would expect from Manufacture Lange & Sohne. Built from ground up, the L094.1 movement delivers the same amount of energy to the constant-force escapement in one-second intervals. The constant force escapement is also another complication not many brands possess and it is this mechanism that provides a constant and uniform power to drive the movement.

The movement accords 42 hours power reserve for this manual winding mechanism. The movement also has a patented Zero-Reset mechanism which means the seconds hand returns to 60 when the crown is pulled. Another feat for the house of Lange.

The timepiece measures almost 40mm and the dial layout is consistent with the other Richard Lange family timepieces - the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar "Terraluna" and the Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite” where the two smaller dials display the minutes and hours. Except that in the Jumping Seconds, the minute and hour dials are displayed right and left respectively while the other two are displayed left (minute) and right (hour).

The Richard Lange Jumping Second was released together with the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar as well as the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon during SIHH 2016. Compared to both the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar and the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, the Jumping Seconds looks "simple" but with the special features like the constant force escapement, Zero-Reset and dead beat seconds, it is anything but. Trust Lange to make a complication sound simple.