A. LANGE & SÖHNE WATCHES
A. Lange & Söhne watches are a testament to their history and the passion that lived within the heart of Ferdinand Adolph Lange. This same spirit is what inspires and motivates their team to continue their pursuit of excellence and perfection even today.
The watches gain their value from the execution and technology, but also from the rarity. While some watch companies will put our 100’s of thousands of watches every year – A. Lange & Söhne creates approximately 5,000 watches per year. This allows them to maintain the level of quality on which they pride themselves.
The History of A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne was founded in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange. He was given the opportunity at a technical education where he found a fondness and distinct aptitude for creating time pieces. He apprenticed under Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes, who is famous for creating the 5-minute clock for the Dresden Semperoper.
During his Journeyman years, Lange studied across Europe, being exposed to a wide range of techniques that were used at the time to create time pieces. After his journeyman years, he decided to return home. Lange had a desire to turn Glashütte, a poor town in Germany, into an economic powerhouse to rival the bustling swiss watchmaking industry. The company still operates in Germany out of one of the original buildings.
With a grant from the government, Lange hired 15 apprentices to work under him. He trained them to be experts in watchmaking – encouraging them to create their own watch supply companies once they had mastered a specialization. This established a cluster of businesses that helped the local economy thrive.
Over the next few decades the company rose in fame – even having pocket watches commissioned by royalty. In the early 1900’s other watch manufacturers popped up in the area offering machine made watches with parts imported from Switzerland. In contrast, A. Lange & Söhne were handmade (and at no small cost). This put the company in a tough economic position.
World War I and the Great Depression took a toll on the Glashütte watch industry. Most workers were laid off between the 1920s and 30s due to a stark decrease in the demand for precious watches. The rise of World War II saw an uptick in demand for A. Lange & Söhne watches. The company was one of 5 tasked with creating observation watches for the German military.
On the last day of the war, the A. Lange & Söhne facility was destroyed in an air raid. The turmoil of a post-war Germany meant the end of the A. Lange & Söhne company.
But that wasn’t the end of the A. Lange & Söhne story. The fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany also signaled the relaunch of the A. Lange & Söhne brand. Walter Lange, great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, teamed up with Günter Blümlein to rebuild the company that had once meant so much to his family and the town of Glashütte. The company officially re-launched exactly 145 years after the original founding and has become the brand we know today.
The Value of A. Lange & Söhne Watches
The Saxonia was one of the four watches that debuted when the company relaunched in 1994. It has maintained a permanent place in the A. Lange & Söhne collection. The Saxonia contains 7 models with different metals for the bezel, unique faces and bands.
The Saxonia Thin is the brand’s flattest timepiece so far. With no complications, this watch sticks to the most important parts of a watch – keeping time. This sleek, modern and thin watch contains 3 models to choose from.
Topping out the A. Lange & Söhne watches is the 2013 Grand Complication which retailed for $2.5 million. This watch was released in 2013 at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). Each watch takes 365 days to produce and only one was released every year between 2013 and 2016. In total, only 6 of these watches were ever produced.
At 50 mm, this rose gold watch is made from 867 hand wrought parts and contains 7 complications and 14 movements. This watch was inspired by a 1902 A. Lange & Söhne pocket watch that took 5,000 man hours to restore.
Rare A. Lange & Söhne Watches
Richard Lange Tourbillon "Pour le Mérite" Handwerkskunst
This watch was released in 2011 and only 15 of these watches were produced. The case, dial and hands are all crafted from honey gold. This gorgeous piece exposes part of the tourbillon through an aperture in the dial.
1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst
Released in 2015, this 30-piece exclusive collection is crafted from pink gold and blued steel. It was released to honor the founder’s 200th birthday. Its exceptional craftsmanship makes this piece a sight to see.
1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst
This watch was released in 2017 as a 20-watch limited edition. If there was ever a watch that was crafted among the stars – this would be it. This watch comes with a relief engraving of the Roman goddess Luna and the deep-blue dial features engraved stars and a moon-phase tracker.
Famous A. Lange & Söhne Watches
Perhaps the grandest in all of A. Lange & Söhne’s history is their 1902 Grand Complications No. 42500. This watch, though it was created over a century ago, is still recognized by the company as their most complex watch ever created. This piece was commissioned and is the only one of its kind that was built and sold. This exceptional piece of engineering is encased in a hand-engraved gold savonette case.
Historic owners of these watches include Alexander the II, Tsar of Russia and Adbul Hamid II, the 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Politicians including Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin have been known to flaunt an A. Lange & Söhne. Today celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Ed Sheeran have been owners of these watches.
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