A. Lange & Söhne

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Lange Uhren GmbH
Subsidiary
IndustryWatchmaking
GenreWatchmaker
FateNationalised 1948, reformed 1990
Founded1845; relaunched 1990
FounderFerdinand Adolph Lange
Headquarters,
Key people
Wilhelm Schmid (CEO)[1]
ProductsPocket and wrist watches
Number of employees
770
ParentRichemont
Websitewww.alange-soehne.com

A. Lange & Söhne is a German manufacturer of luxury and prestige watches. It was originally found by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845 in Glashütte, Saxony, Germany.[2][3] The original A. Lange & Söhne was nationalized and ceased to exist in 1948, following the possession of Soviet Union and East Germany after World War II.[2][3] The current A. Lange & Söhne trademark was re-registered in 1990 by Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange.[2][3]

A. Lange & Söhne is a highly regarded watch manufacturer in the world.[4][5][6][7] Its name is a trademark of German watchmaking company Lange Uhren GmbH ("Lange"), a subsidiary of Richemont SA since 2000.[3]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

Ferdinand Adolph Lange

Lange was founded in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in the town of Glashütte, near Dresden, in the state of Saxony.[3][8] In 1868, Ferdinand's son Richard joined him in the business, and the company changed its name to A. Lange & Söhne. Under Ferdinand and his sons Emil and Richard, A. Lange & Söhne produced high-quality pocket watches, with the company's very best products generally being given the "1A" designation.[9]

Under subsequent generations of the Lange family, the company continued to produce pocket watches and, like many German watchmakers, produced oversized wristwatches for use by German airmen in World War II.[10]

In 1948, the postwar Soviet administration nationalised the company's property, and the Lange brand ceased to exist.[2][3][11] Walter Lange, then the lead of the company and the great-grandson of the founder, had to flee the country in order to avoid forced labour in the uranium mines.[3]

Recent development[edit]

In December 1990, following German reunification, Walter Lange, together with watch industry executive Günter Blümlein, restored the company with the assistance of several Swiss watch manufacturers, including IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre.[1][12][13] The refounded A. Lange & Söhne, again operating from Glashütte, presented its first range of wristwatches in 1994.[3][14]

In 2000, A. Lange & Söhne became a member of the Richemont group.[3][8] In 2017, Walter Lange died at age 92.[7][15]

Pronunciation and spelling[edit]

A. Lange & Söhne is approximately pronounced [ah LAHNG-eh unt SURN-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).

Watch manufacturing[edit]

A. Lange & Söhne marine chronometer

All A. Lange & Söhne watches contain mechanical rather than quartz movements, and, with the exception of a very few special edition watches, Lange watch cases are made of yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, or platinum. Lange's movements are developed, produced, and assembled by Lange itself.[9]

Lange's movement design and decoration is distinctively Glashütte in appearance, eschewing typically Swiss features, such as multiple bridges and cocks, or pearlage, "Glashütte stripes", hand-engraved balance cocks and screwed gold chatons. The movements are made from a metal known as German silver, as opposed to the plated brass typically used for Swiss movements.[16]

Lange's 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.[17] 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, and perpetual calendars.

Notable models[edit]

A. Lange & Söhne pocket watch

1815 "Homage to Walter Lange"[edit]

A unique A. Lange & Söhne 1815 "Homage to Walter Lange", made in stainless steel, was sold for US$852,525 in Phillips' Geneva auction on May 12th, 2018.[18][19] As of November 2018, this is the highest price record for Lange timepieces sold at auction.[18]

Other notable models[edit]

At the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2012 show in Geneva, A.Lange & Sohne unveiled new watches including a take on the classic Lange 1.[20] 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.[21]

The company also issued a reworked Grand Lange 1.[22] In addition, there was a luminous Lange 1 Time Zone in white gold.[23]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Wilhelm Schmid: Petrolhead drives the Richemont treasure". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "The History of A. Lange and Sohne". Crown & Caliber Blog. 2018-04-12. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "History - Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie". www.hautehorlogerie.org. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  4. ^ "A. Lange & Söhne - Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie". www.hautehorlogerie.org. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  5. ^ "A. Lange & Söhne reaffirms its reputation for serious watchmaking with two insider releases". Lifestyle Asia. 2018-06-01. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  6. ^ October 24, Benjamin Clymer; 2012. "A Week On The Wrist: The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone Luminous". HODINKEE. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  7. ^ a b Doerr, Elizabeth. "Making History: Unique A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Homage To Walter Lange Gets Set To Hit Auction Block". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  8. ^ a b "At Home With A. Lange & Söhne". The New York Times. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b "When passion and precision meet in watchmaking". dna. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Vintage watches with real pedigree". Mail Online. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Brand Page". A. Lange & Söhne. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  12. ^ sz-online (24 May 2016). "SZ-Online: Verdienstorden für Walter Lange". SZ-Online. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  13. ^ Christoph Eisenring; Glashütte (3 October 2015). "25 Jahre deutsche Einheit: Kleines Wirtschaftswunder nach der Wende". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  14. ^ McGrane, Sally. "Saxon craftsmanship before its time". The Local. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  15. ^ The GQ Watch Guide 2018 GQ magazine, 15 August 2018
  16. ^ Forster, Jack (6 September 2008). "It's About Time". Forbes. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  17. ^ "History of the Lange 1".
  18. ^ a b "Stainless Steel A. Lange & Söhne 1815 'Homage To Walter Lange' Sells For $852,525". Phillips. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  19. ^ "Phillips To Offer Unique A. Lange & Söhne 1815 'Homage to Walter Lange' In Stainless Steel | PHILLIPS". www.phillipswatches.com. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  20. ^ SIHH 2012 show
  21. ^ Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar
  22. ^ Grand Lange 1
  23. ^ Lange 1 Time Zone in white gold

Further reading[edit]

  • Lange, Walter, Als die Zeit nach Hause kam, Erinnerungen, Econ/Ullstein, Berlin, Germany, 2004. ISBN 3-430-15976-8

External links[edit]