Three Incredible A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Replica Watches Hands-On

It’s rare enough to go hands-on with one of German watchmaking’s most interesting and iconic pieces, but three at the same time? It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. We recently pinned down a trio of A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk watches – each with their own distinct complication, designed to appeal to very specific types of collectors: the standard version in rose gold, the Striking Time in rose gold, and the Minute Repeater in platinum.

At first glance, the three examples all carry a very similar visual aesthetic, anchored in A. Lange & Söhne’s extremely cool mechanical jumping “digital” display – now a signature for the prestigious Glashütte-based watchmaker. However, the contrasts between each in feature set and price point couldn’t be more different, which is why it’s helpful to have them all in the same room at once. Before we dive too deep into the minutiae that define each Zeitwerk, it’s worth taking a moment to break down what makes their complications different.

For starters, the “standard” variant (somewhat of a misnomer, as even the base-level Zeitwerk is an extremely complex watch) is built around a 41.9mm case and powered by Lange’s calibre L043.1, which displays the time through a series of rotating discs at 3 and 9:00 that “jump” from minute to minute, and hour to hour. Coming in at 44.2mm, the Striking Time is a few hairs larger than the standard best A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk fake watches, a size increase which accommodates the added complications necessary for the larger L043.2 caliber which chimes the full and quarter hours as they arrive in two distinctly different tones only when the chime is engaged.

You can see each of the hammer-like gongs positioned at 4 and 7:00, where they strike a carefully tensioned wire driven into the caseband. The third in our trio is the most complex, and arguably the apex of traditional watchmaking expertise – which is likely why Lange opted to release it exclusively in platinum.

The A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater replica watches with self-winding movements accommodates the caliber L043.5 by sharing the same larger 44.2mm case as the Striking Time, but with an added degree of symphonic complexity when its chimes are activated – on demand, unlike the Striking Time – simply by depressing the pusher at 10:00. But rather than chime the hours and quarter-hours as they pass like the Striking Time, the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater chimes the current time, right down to the very minute, using a combination of unique notes: a low tone for each elapsed hour, a high/low tone combo for 10-minute intervals, and a crisp, high tone for each elapsed minute.

The entire sequence takes much longer than the exquisite A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Striking Time, but it’s a delight for the ears, and one that must simply be heard to be fully appreciated. The Zeitwerk Minute Repeater also carries the distinction of being the world’s first watch with both a mechanical jumping numeral display and a “decimal” minute repeater, making it something of a rare bird in already very rare company.

From a practical standpoint, each A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk brings its own unique functionality to the table, but on the wrist, those differences become much more subtle – especially given the dial similarity of each. The 44.2mm A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater with its 14.1mm height and platinum case (known to be a much more dense metal than gold) naturally carries the heaviest wrist presence, but not by much – as it compares to the other two, which differ by no more than 1.5mm in height and case size. Contemporary proportions, for sure, but the visual “lightness” of the dials enable each A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk to wear subtly smaller than its specs belie.

But back to the Minute Repeater’s L043.5 caliber, which houses a gobsmacking 771 parts (93 of which are jewels) and a healthy degree of added complexity, compared to just over four and five hundred parts for the standard and Striking Time variants, respectively. One other note on the relative practicality of the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk range is how the power reserve for each is a somewhat sub-standard 36 hours with a full wind. That said, bear in mind the amount of power it takes to “jump” the hour/minute discs and activate the chiming gongs (in some cases – simultaneously) results in considerable more drain than the demands of a traditional manually-wound mainspring – even at the 18,000bph.

Keeping this in mind, it makes perfect sense that each dial prominently exhibits a power reserve indicator at 12:00. The power reserve indicator on the A. Lange & Söhne fake watches with rose golden or steel cases differ ever so slightly in that it carries a red dot indicating the minimum amount of remaining power required to activate the sonnerie.

But besides the overall similarity in dial layout and case design, if there’s one common theme that unites these three copy watches with brown and black leather straps (and A. Lange & Söhne as a whole) is the absolutely heroic level of finishing that goes into each dial and movement. All the usual exemplary signatures of an A. Lange & Söhne are here; the precision-beveled, polished, and striped movement bridges and the hand-engraved balance cock.

But the dials – particularly those of the sonnerie variants – are extra unique. Here, the gongs are not just visible, but carry some equally impressive finishing; mirror-polished fronts, beveled edges, and grained sides. The end result is both subtle and spectacular as it contrasts the brushed gold that frames the hour and minute apertures.

Historically speaking, sonnerie watches like these Zeitwerk examples (with the exception of the standard, of course) have deep roots not only in fine watchmaking, but utility as well. Long before the complication was reserved for the annuls of haute horology (and long before the widespread advent of electricity), it was the only means available that could deliver the time in complete darkness.

It’s a particular thrill to see this unique complication juxtaposed against the classically sleek, avant-garde design language that’s long defined A. Lange & Söhne, but like any truly great watch, it comes at a price. Cased in two different precious metals, and powered by three distinctly different complications, the pricing for each A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk copy watches with white dials differs a fair bit. The standard A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Zeitwerk in rose gold starts around $70,000, whereas the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Striking Time in rose gold has a price of $117,500, and the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater cast in platinum goes for $467,700. lange-soehne.com

First Look – The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel & Date Replica Watches Ref. 79730 (Availability, Specs & Price)

As part of the newly presented 2017 Collection, Tudor introduced one big novelty, a chronograph with a new movement (and, as of now, you should be aware of the Breitling provenance) but it’s not the one we’ll talk about today. We’d like to take more time before going on this specific watch, as it deserves to be looked with a clear mind. Yet, the second big news for Tudor was the introduction of the Date on the Heritage Black Bay, a feature that will certainly please many end consumers, and that comes along a new design, with a brushed stainless steel bezel – and believe it or not, but it does change drastically the look of the watch. Here are our first impressions about the exquisite Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel & Date Ref. 79730 replica watches.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Date 79730

Let’s first draw the context. We are, Frank Geelen and I, proud owners of the 1st generation of the Tudor fake watches with black dials, both of us with a midnight blue bezel. While the burgundy edition was probably not for us, the blue version was love at first sight. Just saying this to explain that we perfectly know the watch, in all aspects, and that we love it. This might give a bit of partiality when talking about this model, in both directions. Changing a watch, adding a steel bezel, and mainly, adding a date to a model known for its pure look, could have well been dangerous. But yet, the combination of both features, and not just one of them, is relevant, clever and in a way, justified – the addition of the date on the burgundy, blue or black versions would certainly make less sense. More than just a visual update, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel & Date Ref. 79730 actually has a different taste. More practical, more modern, more toolish too.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Date 79730

One of the greatest features of the Heritage Black Bay has always been its contrast, between the colored bezel and the matte black dial. With the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel, we move to a much more Monochrome look (pun-intended). Still, this is what the steel  cases copy watches version is: a monochromatic and technical version. Say goodbye to the dramatic vintage flair of the “colored” versions, this steel Black Bay, with its cold, toolish style, plays on different levels. Basically, it is just a switch of bezel insert, as the anodized aluminum ring, flat and with printed numerals and track, is replaced by a steel, brushed and engraved version. Not only the look differs, but also the proportions on the wrist. The dial feels more opened and more present than before, as more contrasted in this light and metallic bezel/case set.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Date 79730

This also gives the self-winding movements Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel & Date Ref. 79730 replica watches, despite the use of the exact same case as before (41mm in diameter), a less compact feel on the wrist. The watch fees slightly more present, more opened than before, without being bulky either. When worn on the steel bracelet, which is showing the now traditional riveted style of the collection, the watch feels much more modern and technical. It is bright, but not shiny (almost all plan surfaces are brushed) and legibility is as good as with the rest of the collection. And this slight (on paper) but quite important visual update (on the wrist) feels really coherent with the addition of the date, an also modern feature.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Date 79730

While the Tudor Heritage Black Bay has been praised by “hardcore” collectors for its nude, no-date display, the lack of a quantième on the dial was certainly problematic for some end-customers (more normal people that don’t dream watches at night). We hear quite often complaints about the presence of a date on a dial, which sometimes makes sense (both for the balance of a design or for historical relevance), but allow me two comments: first of all, many of the young-timers Tudor Submariner, including the ref. 79190 from 1995 (in which I see the inspiration for this Black Bay Steel) had a date window. Then, not all (and actually many) potential buyers of this new Black Bay Steel are long-time collectors. Thus, a date could be an important factor here. Plus, the integration is classical, with a window at 3, with a white disc that echoes the white index at 9, and no cyclops has been applied on the crystal (to avoid a too-Rolex style).

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Date 79730

In the end, I have to say that the date created at first a strange feel on me, as an owner of the 1st-gen BB, but as a watch-journalist, I have to agree on the relevance of the combination date / steel bezel, which creates a more modern and more technical look to a watch that always played on the vintage trend.

For the rest, the steel crowns Tudor copy watches remain the watch we praise for now 5 years: good proportions (41mm case), perfect execution of the case and bracelet, always that additional fabric strap in the box (here in khaki green, and really good looking), the oversized crown, unprotected, the sufficient 200m water resistance, the cool iconic elements (red text, red triangle, polished bevel on the lugs, snow flake hands, domed matte dial, domed sapphire crystal), plus a touch of modernity with the in-house MT5612 calibre (shared with the Pelagos), with comfortable 70h power reserve, silicon balance spring (a-magnetic) and COSC certification.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Date 79730

Overall, even if the shield doesn’t really move out of its comfort zone, as still playing on the success of the BB, this new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel Ref. 79730 is coherent and achieved. No doubt that with its date and more modern look, it will attract new collectors, maybe less sensitive to the vintage flair of the previous versions, but praising practicality. The watch will be available in stored in June 2017 and priced at EUR 3,260 / CHF 3,300 on leather and EUR 3,560 / CHF 3,600 on steel bracelet.

Speedy Tuesday – Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII 45th Anniversary in Gold Replica Watches

On January 16th of this year, Gene Cernan passed away. He was the Last Man on the Moon during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Before that, he flew on the Gemini 9A and Apollo 10 missions. This year, Omega introduced the 3rd Speedmaster Apollo XVII limited edition. In two flavors. In stainless steel (1972 pieces) and in gold (72 pieces). We have a closer look at the gold model.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII Reference 311.63.42.30.03.001

In all honesty, the rendered images that I came across before the official launch did not make me very excited about this watch. But as always, you need to see a watch in the flesh before you can judge it (best). The Omega Speedmaster replica watches with golden cases Apollo XVII 45th anniversary edition are such watches. 1972 pieces are made in stainless steel, only 72 pieces in gold. The blue on the rendered images had a hard tone, like IKEA blue, but in the flesh it is much darker and the gold gives an awesome contrast.

It was a pleasant surprise to see that these two Omega fake watches with black croocodile straps, tributes to Gene Cernan, were way better than the preview images I’ve seen. Especially the gold model is a watch that is simply stunning in the flesh. This Omega Speedmaster Professional, reference  311.63.42.30.03.001, comes on a beautiful brown leather strap and a gold folding clasp.

The case is based on the regular Speedmaster Pro 42mm model, but of course with a different caseback. The Apollo XVII mission patch is a large medallion, surrounded by engravings regarding the limited edition number and 45th anniversary. Just below the Apollo XVII medallion is the text “A tribute to Gene Cernan”.

The dial of the watch (as well as the bezel) is made of blue ceramic. The combination of blue ceramic and gold looks stunning. In the sub dial at 9 o’clock you’ll find the gold medallion of Apollo XVII and all sub dials have this double rim. The Omega logo and the numerals are all printed in gold. The chronograph seconds hand has a red tip as well as the ‘5:34 GMT’ writing on the blue dials copy watches.

5:34 GMT on the dial

Since Omega didn’t talk much about this piece yet during BaselWorld, some questions arose regarding the 5:34 GMT inscription on the dial. What does it mean? Well, I couldn’t figure it out myself, but a guy by the name of TLIGuy on OmegaForums had the following explanation:

Cernan makes this speech as he leaves the surface of the Moon at a Mission Elapsed Time of 168 hours and 1 minute after launch. The launch was at 5:33. So, if we add the mission elapsed time to the time of launch (168:01, which is 7 days +1 minute, you arrive at 05:34 GMT on December 14th).

That was the exact time when Gene Cernan held his speech on the surface of the Moon:

“Bob, this is Gene, and I’m on the surface; and, as I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just (say) what I believe history will record. That America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus- Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. “Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.””

Mind you that this is not the official explanation of 5:34 GMT on the dial, but it would be very coincidental if it weren’t. Let’s wait and see.

Previous Apollo XVII model presented by Gene Cernan. Photo (c) Larry

Caliber 1861

As (almost) always, the movement inside this Speedmaster Apollo XVII 45th anniversary is also a hand-wound caliber 1861 by Lemania. A movement with a solid track record and used since 1997. Between 1968 and 1997 Omega used the previous Lemania based movement, caliber 861. Before that, the caliber 321 (Lemania 2310 based). Some people had hoped – and still do – for a return of the caliber 321, but this movement (rights) seem to be at Breguet right now.

Apollo 17 Limited Edition

As written above, this exquiste Omega Speedmaster XVII 45th Anniversary limited edition is the 3rd commemorative edition for this particular mission. The first was in 2002, where the watch only had a different engraving in the caseback. If I am not mistaken, that watch came with a copy of the book ‘Last Man on the Moon’ by Gene Cernan. In 2012, there was the 40th anniversary edition of the Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII, with the silver medal as dial. Although that watch wasn’t received that well, it is quite nice on the wrist and due to the fact that it wasn’t ‘liked’ that much, this could be a sleeper watch.

This 3rd Apollo XVII watch is – in my opinion – the nicest of the trio. The beautiful dark blue ceramic dial in combination with the 18kt gold is simply awesome. The brown leather strap also matches nicely with the warm color of the gold case.