A. Lange & Söhne
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|Founders||Ferdinand Adolph Lange|
|Key people||Wilhelm Schmid (CEO)|
|Products||Pocket and wrist watches|
Lange was founded in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in the town of Glashütte, near Dresden, in the eastern state of Saxony. Under Ferdinand, and then, following his death, his sons Emil and Richard, Lange produced quality pocket watches, the company's very best products generally being given the "1A" designation. Under subsequent generations of the Lange family the company continued to produce pocket watches and, like many German watch makers, produced over-sized wrist watches for use by German airmen in World War II.
In 1948, the post-war Soviet administration expropriated the company's property, and the Lange brand ceased to exist. However, in 1990, following the collapse of the East German government, the founder's great-grandson, Walter Lange, together with watch industry executive Günter Blümlein, restored the company with the assistance of several Swiss watch manufacturers, including IWC and Jaeger Le Coultre. The refounded Lange, again operating from Glashütte, presented its first range of wrist watches in 1994. Today, A. Lange & Söhne (litt. A. Lange & Sons) wrist watches are sold globally and Lange, like IWC, is a member of the Richemont group.
All Lange watches contain mechanical rather than quartz movements and, with the exception of a very few special edition watches, Lange watch cases are made of gold or platinum. Lange movements are developed, produced, and assembled by Lange itself. Lange's movement design and decoration is distinctively Glashütte in appearance, eschewing typically Swiss features, such as multiple bridges and cocks, or Geneva wave decoration, in favor of three-quarter plates, "Glashütte stripes", hand-engraved balance cocks and screwed gold chatons. Lange movements are made from a metal known as "German silver", an alloy of copper and nickel, as opposed to the plated brass typically used for Swiss movements, giving Lange movements an unusual color and sheen.
Lange watches tend to have a distinctive appearance. For example, the "Lange 1" model features an asymmetric layout with no overlap among its key indicators: a dial displaying the hours and minutes, a smaller subsidiary dial displaying seconds, an oversized double window date display, and a power reserve indicator. Lange's watches are often described as more "austere" or "Teutonic" in appearance than watches produced by comparable Swiss firms.
In addition to time-only watches, both manually wound and automatic, Lange is known for its complicated watches, including chronographs and split-seconds chronographs, perpetual calendars, world-timers, tourbillons and minute repeaters.
At the SIHH 2012 show A.Lange & Sohne unveiled new watches including a take on the classic Lange 1. The Lange 1 watch family is to be headed by the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, with two large complications and a new type of instantaneously jumping month ring.
Pronunciation and spelling
A. Lange & Söhne is approximately pronounced [ah LANG-eh unt ZURN-neh]. Where the Umlaut "ö" is not available, it is rendered as a digraph by German convention ("Soehne"), but often as "Sohne" internationally (even though that would imply a different pronunciation in German).
- Lange, Walter, Als die Zeit nach Hause kam, Erinnerungen, published ba Econ/Ullstein, Berlin/Germany, 2004. ISBN 3-430-15976-8
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