If somebody were to ask you, “What is time?” what is your answer? For something as universal and embedded in our lives, time seems self-explanatory. It’s just there. While Oxford technically defines it as a regarded whole of the indefinite progression to future from the present, as well as the past, time provides structure. It enables mostly everything to make sense.
The study of time has always relished a significant place in history and tradition. Because of its universality and functionality, it sparked the creation of the first watches in 16th century Europe. From then on, timepiece makers and innovators progressively thrive to this day. And one of the most prestigious luxury watchmakers in existence is A. Lange & Söhne.
Lange & Söhne has an exciting, roller coaster narrative that stood the test of time, thanks to its commitment to high quality and exceptional design. Before dissecting its story, here are some bite-size facts to consume when you’re running out of time.
- Origin: Germany
- Founded: 1845, relaunched 1990
- Founder: Ferdinand Adolph Lange
- Known for: Complicated mechanical watches with distinctive Glashütte appearance that eschews usual Swiss features
A. Lange & Söhne Special-Edition Lange 1 Time Zone in Honey Gold
Colorful history: triumphs over challenges
It all started in 1845 when Ferdinand Lange requested a grant from the Royal Saxon government to establish a watchmaking company in the small German town of Glashütte, in the state of Saxony. It initially produced pocket watches, pioneering the distinctive Systéme Glashütte process which is now a symbol of respected quality worldwide.
By World War II, the company were providing oversized wristwatches to German flight crew. However, after the war in 1948, the German government transformed all German brands into state ownership, signaling the end of the Lange brand. A testimony of passion and perseverance, it was Lange’s great-grandson, Walter Lange, who re-registered the company, after the German reunification, on 7 December 1990—an adventure, a dream came true for him.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual
Positive, exceptional reception
The first wristwatches after the reestablishment was introduced in 1994, together with the help of watch industry expert Günter Blümlein and Swiss watch manufacturers such as IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. On the day of the presentation to Glashütte dealers, Walter was filled with both excitement and questions. He asked and anticipated people’s reactions, seeking their approval.
It turned out to be a success. The exotic LANGE 1, with its different look and face, specifically captured the attention of the international trade press. With that, not only was A. Lange & Söhne back in people’s minds but also the honor of the small German town where the company traced its modest beginnings—Glashütte.
A. Lange & Sohne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen”
Defining and distinctive qualities
When Ferdinand Lange applied and combined his knowledge of Swiss watchmaking with German’s exclusive technique and tradition, the locals knew nothing about technical things, let alone precision watchmaking. It was through hard work and determination that Ferdinand was able to train and enable the locals to be precise watchmakers—which took 15 years.
This humble, inspiring, and passion-driven early stages of the company is what defines A. Lange & Söhne today, as Walter formulated, “There’s something one should expect not only of a watch but also of oneself: to never stand still.” With this philosophy, all Lange watches are evidences of heritage and constant progress, integrating new mechanisms. “Standstill is regression,” in Walter’s own words.
Continuing the pursuit of making only the extraordinary, all Lange timepieces, from the cheapest to the most expensive, have the tried and tested, high-quality Lange finishing movement. This gives everyone equal access to genuine and elegant watches manufactured by a brand that excellently values and marries tradition and innovation. Today, A. Lange & Söhne is a subsidiary of the Richemont group and sold worldwide. A tribute to Walter, who passed away last year, was marked with a special timepiece called the 1815 “Homage to Walter Lange.”
As universal as time is, watches play a key role in our everyday lives. Considering the level of ingenuity that watchmakers deliver, every luxury watch has a story tell. From the individual person with specialized skill that forms part of a whole production to the minute materials that are carefully manufactured and assembled, a watch is an inventive machine that we often take for granted. In fact, it encapsulates time’s indefiniteness, making everything easier and more convenient for us.
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A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Watch Hands. abtw
A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna.