Precision without compromise
Over a period of just 25 years, the German watchmanufacturer, A. Lange & Söhne, have succeeded at positioning themselves as one of the most exclusive watchbrands in the world. CEO Wilhelm Schmid has no doubt as to why their watches are so highly coveted by collectors throughout the world.
The history of A. Lange & Söhne has been adventurous. When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, there was a dramatic turn of fortune. A handful of insightful people in the watchmaking industry determinedly set about restoring one of the world’s finest watch manufacturers, A. Lange & Söhne, which had experienced an extended period of inactivity ever since the establishment of East Germany in 1949.
The manufactory was located in a town named Glashütte outside of Dresden, and getting the business up and running again required an incredible amount of political maneuvering. It was not written in the stars that the former communist republic DDR again would host something as exclusive as a manufactory for some of the world’s finest watches.
After the fall of the Wall, it took four full years before the staff of watchmakers, engineers, designers and engravers were trained extensively enough to carry out the quality craftsmanship that had made the watch manufacturer A. Lange & Söhne world-renowned in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Despite the over 40 years of inactivity, the extremely skilled staff were able to reposition A. Lange & Söhne among the best quality timepieces in the world. Watches from A. Lange & Söhne represent more than a reversion to the tradition that originated when watch manufacturing attracted specialists to Glashütte.
The current timepiece production that is being executed in the fine tradition of A. Lange & Söhne has restored the enthusiasm and proficiency that once made Glashütte the world renowned centre of German watch manufacturing. The ability of the manufactory to position itself so well is due to the company’s ideology as well as the respect for the inborn character of the brand that employees and craftspeople are working hard to carry forward.
“We do not accept easy solutions, and we never compromise with quality, technical presentation, craftsmanship, ingenuity or inventiveness related to engineering,” relates Wilhelm Schmid.
In just 25 years, A. Lange & Söhne has developed no fewer than 54 different calibers (movements) and has ensured itself a leading position among the finest watches in the world. The greatest successes of the brand include the innovative Lange 1 with the invention of the oversized date as well as Zeitwerk with its extremely easy-to-read jumping-numerals display. In the meantime, both models have obtained brand icon status, products of a manufacturer that is constantly attempting to outdo its own performance record. According to Wilhelm Schmid, the greatest milestone so far is the Grand Complication. This masterpiece contains 876 individual parts, and each one of them is produced and finished by hand. It is the tradition and ambition to “never stand still” that keeps A. Lange & Söhne committed to enriching the horological world with yet another milestone.
For four generations, A. Lange & Söhne has been pursuing one objective – to produce watches that represent the ultimate in the world of fine watches. As Walter Lange once expressed it, “There is something one should expect not only of a watch, but also of oneself: to never stand still.” His successor, Wilhelm Schmid, continues, “The search for perfection is evident everywhere with us. Our legacy stretches back to 1845 and precision and perfection have been our distinctive features ever since. Our philosophy has always been to produce the best service to our customers by always delivering sublime quality. That is what makes A. Lange & Söhne a comfortable long-term investment.”